AUSTIN (KXAN) - Policy changes, a record setting number of pedestrian fatalities, and the first officer lost in the line-of-duty since 2004.
The year 2012 will be a hard one to forget for the Austin Police Department, but Chief Art Acevedo is already setting some New Year's Resolutions for 2013.
"By and large, it has brought us all together and made us stronger," said Acevedo about the trials his department faced in 2012, none bigger than the death of Officer Jaime Padron in April.
The chief got into a police car and went out on patrol Wednesday. It is something he does periodically to get a closer look at what the community and his officers are facing.
"It is an opportunity for me to be in the community so they can give me input and my officers can give me feedback, as well," said Acevedo.
Among the biggest problems he sees is the amount of deaths on Austin roadways.
"We have a tremendous problem with people and the way they drive in this city causing the death of way too many Austinites."
2012 was the deadliest year on record for pedestrians in Austin and traffic citations fell, the chief believes, due to the loss of some funding the department used to receive through grants.
"This upcoming year we are focusing on making sure we have support staff we need and the sworn staff we need," said Acevedo about efforts to keep roads safer.
But the department is already lean.
A report last summer showed the department would need to add about 250 positions in order to reach the national average for officers per population.
Despite issues with pedestrian accidents and property crimes, Acevedo also pointed to violent crime numbers that suggest Austin is one of the safest cities of its size in the country.
Sub-freezing temperatures and an approaching upper level disturbance could combine to produce some patchy freezing drizzle or sleet Saturday and early Sunday morning.
Investigators are still trying to figure out who murdered an Austin teacher in Benghazi on Thursday.
Back in June, Governor Rick Perry signed a new law officially letting teachers and students use greetings such as "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hannukah" in school, all without getting in any trouble.
The Round Rock-based computer giant, Dell Inc., is offering some workers voluntary buyouts as it seeks to trim costs and boost productivity.
The Austin Humane Society reopened to the public Friday after closing its doors for six weeks.
Sub-freezing temperatures will continue across much of Central Texas all day Saturday. A second disturbance associated with the winter storm that slammed Texas Thursday and Friday could lead to more freezing precipitation Saturday and …