Frequently Asked Questions

How do I obtain a police report?

In most cases the public portion of police reports can be obtained from the APD Incident Report Database. Please read the Incident Report Database instructions on how to obtain the report. Make sure to enter the case number exactly how it is shown in the instructions.

For information about purchasing a copy of the public portion of a police report contact the Austin Police Department Report Sales Unit at (512) 974-5499. Reports can be purchased at the Main Police Headquarters, located at 715 E 8th Street. Reports are 10 cents a page and only the public portion is available for purchase from the report sales office. This is the same report that can be obtained from visiting the APD Incident Report Database. Report Sales new hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Access the Public Records Center to submit a public information request as well as retrieve documents regarding your public information request. See quick reference guide.

How do I start a neighborhood watch?

Participation in a neighborhood watch program can help reduce crime in your area.

To be eligible for a neighborhood watch sign, we ask that 50 percent of your neighborhood or block attend one to three meetings where helpful information is shared about personal and property crimes. Tips include how to reduce your chances of being attacked.

Contact your neighborhood association president or your area District Representative Unit (See citywide map of districts) for more information.

Is Austin a Hands-Free City?

Yes. Austin has been a "hands-free" city since 2015 when the Austin City Council adopted Ordinance No. 20140828-041 to prohibit the use of portable electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle or bicycle.

Distracted driving endangers drivers, passengers, and bystanders.

The hands-free initiative aims to increase safety by decreasing distracted driving in Austin. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.

No Texting, No Distractions

A motor vehicle driver may not use a phone, tablet, or other device to view, send, or compose an electronic message while moving, per existing City of Austin Ordinance No. 20091022-028 and Ordinance No.  20091217-090. This law is commonly known as the texting-while-driving ban. Drivers may use their devices to send messages while at a complete stop.

Phones, Tablets, or Other Devices While Driving

Using a handheld device and texting while driving are just two activities that can distract drivers and cyclists. Distracted driving poses a danger to drivers, their passengers, and bystanders. Nationwide, many organizations encourage drivers to focus solely on driving while operating a vehicle.

Distracted Driving Includes
  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone for any reason
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 Player
The Law – Vehicles and Bikes

Unless using a hands-free system such as Bluetooth or headphones, or a GPS system, use of portable devices while driving a car or operating a bike will be a citable offense beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

As defined in Ordinance No. 20140828-041, portable electronic device means a hand-held:

  • Mobile telephone
  • personal digital assistant
  • MP3 or other hand-held music player
  • electronic reading device
  • laptop computer
  • pager
  • broadband personal communication device
  • GPS or navigation system
  • electronic gaming device
  • portable computing device

Hand-held cell phone use is permitted in the event of an emergency such calling 9-1-1 or 3-1-1 to report a crime or an accident. Even in an emergency situation, it is best to pull over and come to a complete stop before using or operating any mobile or hand-held device.


What is the Open Carry Law?

In January 2016, carrying a handgun openly became legal in Texas. This law modified the previous handgun license law by eliminating the requirement that licensed handguns be carried in a concealed manner. This means that somebody with a handgun license may choose to conceal it under clothing or wear it in a holster visible to others. More...

Where do I get a criminal history check or “clearance letter?"

The Austin Police Department DOES NOT provide criminal history checks or “Clearance Letters” for persons requesting that service. Complete arrest records should be requested from the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Records

Where do I get my fingerprints done?

The Austin Police Department DOES NOT provide fingerprinting services at this time. If you require fingerprinting, please visit IdentoGO online at 

Does the Crime Scene Section offer opportunities to ride-out, volunteer, or with internship programs?

Yes. Observational ride-outs are available with Property Crime Technicians (only) and are approved by the shift supervisor after a perfunctory background check is performed. A strict dress code is enforced. Acceptance into the volunteer and internship programs is granted only through Bureau Management approval and only after specific requirements are met. Please see all forms and information regarding these programs at the Internships, Volunteers, Ride Outs.

Why don’t you compare latent prints with victims?

We do compare the prints of victims of certain violent offenses, and in certain other circumstances where it would make sense to do so.  In most cases, however, we do not have the resources to do so simply for elimination purposes, especially in crimes against property.  Our main goal is to identify latent prints with potential suspects to link them to the crime being investigated, or to exclude possible suspects as the depositors of those latent prints.

Will a detective call me back or who do I call to give additional information about my case?

Whether a detective is assigned to your case or whether you will be contacted is largely dependent on viable leads associated with the case. You will not be contacted by any civilian analyst. Additional information pertaining to your case may be given to 311 operators who will enter the information into the case record for any investigating detective to utilize.

APD Sex Crimes Unit

Can I be sexually assaulted by my husband / partner?

Yes, sexual assault is sexual assault regardless of who perpetrates the crime.

I'm not sure if I want to prosecute

You will not have to make a decision until further along in the investigative process. You will be given all of the information you need to make an informed decision about what is best for you.

Auto Theft Unit

How do I retrieve personal property on behalf of someone who has been arrested in connection with an auto theft case?

If the property you are requesting is not evidence in the case, it may be released.

You can contact the Austin Police Evidence Division to determine the status of the property you are seeking. The number to the Evidence division is 512-974-5151. You will need to provide the case number. If the person was arrested by another police agency, you need to contact that agency.

Before you can retrieve the property, you need to ask the Evidence Division what documents are required. This will also involve contacting the jail where the person is incarcerated to follow their procedures for completing the required forms for, and with the incarcerated person.

County jails have websites that you can visit in order to determine the forms they require. These websites and often list their procedures and provide a phone number you can call.
The phone number to the Travis County Jail is 512-854-9770, or you can visit their website at WWW

How will I be notified of a recovered vehicle and about impound and storage fees?
Check AUTORETURN.COM daily utilizing the FIND VEHICLE in the top right corner.
  • Use both the VIN# and License Plate.
  • This will tell you if your vehicle is located by APD/ towed in the COA jurisdiction.


Please note if your vehicle is recovered in another jurisdiction, it will not show up on Auto Return.
Any Fees associated with the tow/storage of the vehicle/ trailer etc. will be the vehicles owner’s responsibility.
A detective will be assigned to your case, but a detective will only contact you if they need further information.


Charges will be filed if someone is apprehended and driving the vehicle.


If your vehicle is towed, the towing company is REQUIRED by law to send notification VIA CERTIFIED LETTER to the address that is on the vehicles REGISTRATION.


If there is video evidence/photos available to assist in the investigation ask the reporting Officer for a Axon Community link to upload any evidence.
The best way to contact the APD Auto Theft Unit/ ask a question:

Human Trafficking

Why Don't Victims Just Run Away?

In addition to the physical violence and threats of violence against themselves, victims also face the threat of having their family members harmed or murdered by the traffickers if they try to run away or tell anyone about their situation. This creates extreme fear and psychological bondage that keeps them enslaved.

Internal Affairs

How Do I Commend an Officer?

The Austin Police Department is committed to rewarding officers and employees for commendable actions and service. Anyone who feels that an employee has performed his or her duties in a particularly courteous, helpful or competent manner may:

Commend the employee by:

► Writing a letter directed to the employee, the employee's supervisor, or the Chief of Police at:

  • Austin Police Department
  • 715 E. 8th Street
  • Austin, Texas 78701

► E-mailing  the Austin Police Department

Be sure to obtain the employee's name, employee number, and the area command he or she is assigned to, if possible. Commendations become a part of the employee's personnel file.

How do I Make a Complaint?

The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) provides oversight of the Austin Police Department’s conduct and practices, addressing concerns and complaints of alleged violations of policy. Complaints against police officers can be filed in-person, over the phone, online, or by mail. Contact the Office of Police Oversight to file a complaint.

The process for giving feedback about Austin Police officers has been redesigned. Complaints can now be filed on the OPO website,, using the new online form, which is available in both English and Spanish. The online version of the form also allows community members to submit complaints anonymously.

Office of Police Oversight

1520 Rutherford Lane, Bldg. 1
Austin, TX 78754

Contact Information:
Phone: 512-972-2676
Fax: 512-974-6306

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1088
Austin, TX 78767

We also want to hear about the good experiences that community members have with the Police Department. Along with the complaint form there is also a Thank You form that can be used to show appreciation for police officers. The Thank You form is also available at

Vehicle Abatement

I’d like to know about your police auctions.
Why is my car tagged even though it’s completely on my property?

The laws affect any junk car if it is visible from any PUBLIC area, I.E. street/sidewalk/alley/etc.  Covering it with a cover does NOT prevent it from being seen.

Vehicular Homicide

I’ve been involved in a crash. What should I do?

If your vehicle can be driven safely you should move off the highway to minimize interference freeway traffic. Call 911 to report the crash, an officer will be dispatched when available to determine if an investigation will be done. You can exchange information (name, address, registration, liability insurer and driver’s license) with the other party and complete a Driver’s Crash Report (CR2). This report is available at

Wrecker Enforcement

How do I know where my car was towed to?

If your car was towed from a parking lot, red & white signs should be posted at the entrance/exit with the name and phone number of the wrecker company who tows from that lot. Please call that number for more information about your vehicle or you may visit For vehicles towed from a public road, please call 3-1-1 with your vehicle information, or you can visit

What do I do if I think my car was towed illegally?

Call 3-1-1 and file a police report for “wrecker ordinance violation.”  Pay to get your car out of impound and request a hearing with the local Justice of the Peace to potentially recoup your money.  Please see the City of Austin Towing Customer Bill of Rights in English and in Spanish. You can also contact the state agency that regulates towing, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (“TDLR”) at 1-800-803-9202. After you have made a police report, the case will be assigned to a Detective and they will be in contact with you.