The Field Review - Local

Austin Police Officer Indefinitely Suspended After Last Chance Agreement

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Austin Police Officer Indefinitely Suspended After Last Chance Agreement

On April 4, 2023, Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon indefinitely suspended Police Corporal Richard Parslow. This type of indefinite suspension is not appealable.

The reason this indefinite suspension is not appealable is because Parslow agreed to a “last chance agreement,” in June of 2022. During the process of the last chance agreement, Chief Chacon could have indefinitely suspended Parslow at that time, but an agreement was reached to provide Parslow another opportunity.

This removed Parslow’s right to appeal the new indefinite suspension, as explained by Chief Chacon:

Normally, by copy of this memo, Cpl. Parslow would be advised of this indefinite suspension and that the suspension may be appealed to the Civil Service Commission by filing with the Director of Civil Service, within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of a copy of this memo, a proper notice of appeal in accordance with Section 143.010 of the Texas Local Government Code. Further, normally by copy of this memo and as required by Section 143.057 of the Texas Local Government Code, Cpl. Parslow would be advised that such section and the Agreement between the City of Austin and the Austin Police Association provide for an appeal to an independent third-party hearing examiner, in accordance with the provisions of such Agreement. If appeal is made to a hearing examiner, all rights of appeal to a District Court are waived, except as provided by Subsection U) of Section 143 .057 of the Texas Local Government Code. That section states that the State District Court may hear appeals of an award of a hearing examiner only on the grounds that the arbitration panel was without jurisdiction or exceeded its jurisdiction or that the order was procured by fraud, collusion or other unlawful means. In order to appeal to a hearing examiner, the original notice of appeal submitted to the Director of Civil Service must state that appeal is made to a hearing examiner.

However, the appellate rights set forth above do not apply to Cpl. Parslow’s indefinite suspension. As detailed above and in the attached memorandum, on June 6, 2022, in consideration of my foregoing my right to indefinitely suspend him, Cpl. Parslow-after having the opportunity to confer with is attorney and an Austin Police Association representative who were his representatives during his Dismissal Review Hearing-agreed to a sixty (60) day suspension and a probationary period of one (1) year with the additional requirement that if he committed the same or a similar act of misconduct during the probationary period, Cpl. Parslow agreed that he would be indefinitely suspended without the right to appeal.

Non-Appealable Indefinite Suspension of Police Corporal Richard Parslow #6478 Internal Affairs Control Number 2022-0980, Dated April 4, 2022, Signed by Chief Joseph Chacon

Parslow Fails to Respond to Two Call

Chief Chacon details one of two instances which lead to Parslow’s indefinite suspension:

On October 21, 2022, Cpl. Richard Parslow was on duty as a uniformed Austin Police Department (APO) officer performing the assigned tasks of an acting Sergeant. Cpl. Parslow completed his administrative duties for the evening, entered his patrol car, and proceeded to the area of Farrell Glen Drive and Zachery Drive. Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) records show that his vehicle remained in or around this location for about two hours and 50 minutes without moving. During this time, at approximately 19:00, a “Crash Hotshot” call came out. Two other police officers were dispatched to respond to the crash.

APO General Order 400.3.1 states: “A Crash Hotshot” call is an incident(s) involving physical harm or injury to a person or property and that is in progress and/or all involved parties are still on scene.” In this case, the specific call text advised that “there were multiple vehicles involved (up to five were reported), possibly an intoxicated driver, driver was unconscious. ” It was also reported in the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) “that the driver had hit the windsl,ield. “The location of the crash was at or near the intersection of Ed Bluestein and Loyola Lane. According to Google Maps, Cpl. Parslow’s vehicle was 1.4 miles away from this location and/or within four minutes of this scene.

The dispatched officers arrived at the crash scene seven minutes after being dispatched. This “Priority O call” ultimately required a response from eight marked patrol units with 11 officers. “Priority O calls” are defined in policy a~ “incidents involving physical harm or injwy to a person or property, and that is in progress and/or all involved parties are still on scene. Officers responding to Hot Shot calls should operate Code 3. ” Officers responding to “Priority O calls” may do so by activating their emergency lights and siren (Code 3) pursuant to APO General Order (GO) 400.2.1.

Despite being closer than the dispatched officers, Cpl. Parslow made no attempt to respond. Accordingly, he made no effort to render first aid or life-saving measures to those injured in the crash or to apprehend or detain any suspected violators of the law. Additionally, Cpl. Parslow did not attempt to assist the other officers with potential crime scene management or traffic control, which is or can be an officer safety concern. Instead, as other officers responded from further away, Cpl. Parslow remained in his patrol car, stationary in the area of Farrell Glen Drive and Zachery Drive. Ultimately, his failure to immediately respond to this call and a subsequent, below mentioned “Shots Fired” call from the same evening were referred to Internal Affairs (IA) by his Chain-of-Command (COC) for investigation.

Non-Appealable Indefinite Suspension of Police Corporal Richard Parslow #6478 Internal Affairs Control Number 2022-0980, Dated April 4, 2022, Signed by Chief Joseph Chacon

Parslow was investigated by the Internal Affairs (IA) unit over the incident. The investigation indicated Parslow did not provide reasonable justification for his actions or he tried to defend his lack of response by monitoring radio transmissions to not warrant his assistance. The IA investigation found that neither of the reasons Parslow provided were justifiable and his assistance was needed on the call.

The second call was similar to the first, as explained by Chief Chacon:

Thereafter, that same evening, approximately 30 minutes after the “Crash Hotshot” call, at about 19:31, a caller to emergency communications reported, “Shots Fired” incident at or near 6600 Ed Bluestein Blvd. in Austin, Texas. At this time, Cpl. Parslow was still in his parked vehicle at Farrell Glen Drive and Zackery Drive. By 19:31, he had been stationary, and in-service, for approximately three hours and four minutes. Google Maps indicated that he was 1.9 miles from this “Shots Fired” call, with an estimated travel time of seven minutes.

A night officer was the first officer on-scene with a response time of 58 seconds. Other Charlie ( central east) sector officers responded and eventually arrived on-scene, while Cpl. Parslow was closer, stationary, and in-service, as the call text continued to update to include a more exact location of the shots fired incident, number of shots heard, a possible white sedan suspect vehicle, and a description of a male walking around while wearing a black mask.

The initial officer on scene found a blood trail and cash on the ground at l 9:44. While APO officers were following a blood trail, Cpl. Parslow still remained in-service and stationary despite being approximately 1.9 miles and/or seven minutes from this incident. At 19:45 emergency communications learned that a white sedan was dropping off a victim with a gunshot wound to Dell Children’s Hospital with life threatening injuries. By this point, Cpl. Parslow had been stationary, and in-service at Farrell Glenn Drive and Zackery Drive for three hours and 20 minutes. At about this time, Lieutenant Maria Calagna #6104 sent him an MDC message telling him to respond to the call. According to CAD, it took Cpl. Parslow an additional five minutes and 54 seconds to respond to the scene of the shooting, finally arriving on-scene at 19:54. The Homicide Unit was eventually paged to the scene after the shooting victim was pronounced deceased at 20:27. This incident turned into a murder investigation with a very large crime scene at the apartment complex, a second crime scene at the hospital, and numerous witnesses.

This “Priority 3” call came out as a “Shots Fired,” but was upgraded to a “Gun Hotshot Priority 0” due to the suspect being seen. This call ultimately required a response from 12 marked patrol units with 16 officers, two Homicide Investigators, one Public Information Officer, three Crime Scene Specialists and one Crime Scene Supervisor.

Non-Appealable Indefinite Suspension of Police Corporal Richard Parslow #6478 Internal Affairs Control Number 2022-0980, Dated April 4, 2022, Signed by Chief Joseph Chacon

The IA investigation concluded with similar findings. Parslow did not respond to calls he should have responded and he did not provide a justifiable reason related to the failure to respond.

Parslow Had Prior Instances of Failing to Respond to Calls

A previous disciplinary action resulted in an agreed suspension for Parslow. This action was dated June 6, 2022. The document indicates Parslow was promoted on March 14, 2021 to Corporal and he was assigned to the South Patrol Bureau nightshirt on March 28, 2021.

On December 12, 2021, Parslow did not respond to a priority one, “Check Welfare Urgent” call. He was one mile from the call location and someone else responded when he was available to respond.

A Couple of Our Other Reads

You may be interested in an “opinion,” related to the ‘meet and confer’ process of the San Marcos Police Department which has discussed the scope of public disciplinary actions on civil service protected officers.

Or you may be interested in reading about a lawsuit in the process of being settled by the City of San Marcos related to their police department.

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