AUSTIN, Texas (April 8, 2020) – KXAN-TV announced today that its team of journalists were named finalists for the prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for the second straight year. The IRE Awards recognize outstanding investigative work and help identify the techniques and resources used to complete each story. KXAN’s investigative team was named a finalist for their report “Bargaining the Badge: How Hundreds of Accused Texas Officers Avoid Prison.”
KXAN’s journalists found that nearly 300 law enforcement officers had surrendered their licenses after being accused of or charged with serious crimes including sexual assault, abusing prisoners and taking bribes. And, in almost every case the officers used their license as a bargaining tool by agreeing to surrender it as part of a deal to avoid jail or prison. KXAN uncovered this system of deals by analyzing records obtained from more than 100 public information act requests filed at all levels of state and local governments agencies.
“This impressive investigation offered a rare look inside a practice largely unknown by the public,” said judges for IRE. “The reporters are to be commended for digging into this little-known topic.”
“This investigation proves that we truly hold the powerful accountable, it’s not just something we talk about,” said Chad Cross, News Director of KXAN. “We are grateful for the recognition from IRE that KXAN’s journalists are among the best investigators in the country.”
Eric Lassberg, VP and General Manager of KXAN added, “We believe investigative journalism is the bedrock of journalism and I am proud of our newsroom and the investigators who bring important discoveries like this to light.”