APD continues Run/Walk with a Cop program amidst search for suspects in jogger attacks

It's been about three months since a string of attacks on female joggers began on or near the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. While there's been an arrest in one case, Austin police are still looking for a suspect or suspects in two others. Meanwh

It's been about three months since the start of a string of attacks on female joggers on or near the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. 

While there's been an arrest in one case, Austin police are still looking for a suspect or suspects in two others. Meanwhile, the Austin Police Department is continuing its "Run/Walk with a Cop" program. It started after the attacks on the trail earlier this year. 

"That's when we started trying to figure out innovative ways to have a presence on Town Lake," officer Erica Danielle said. 

Wednesday afternoon she met up with people on the far east end of the trail, saying the goal of these meetups is to give people a safe way to get out and exercise. 

Officers are emphasizing safety while trying to keep the unsolved cases in the spotlight. 

"We do a 4-mile loop," Danielle said.  

Rebecca Silliman came ready work.

"As often as I can I'll come out here and run and walk," Silliman said. 

She said it's important to her to stay safe while she exercises and is aware of the attacks.

"I definitely don't come out here after the sun comes down," Silliman said.

Austin police have arrested Richard McEachern, saying he sexually assaulted a female jogger on the trail near Rainey Street. While McEachern has been charged, police said they're still looking for suspects in two other cases where female joggers were attacked. One happening in late August near the Austin High School track, the other in late September along Lakeshore Blvd. Both incidents were before 7 a.m. 

"It's really important and critical to be aware of your surroundings," Danielle added.  

Danielle said if you come out to the trail, knowing the route you'll be taking on the trail is crucial. She also recommends wearing bright clothing and keeping a cell phone handy. 

"If they come in contact with someone suspicious and they have a gut instinct that's telling them that something's up, they should call 9-1-1," Danielle said.  

Danielle recommends never coming to the trail alone and said that having someone nearby can make a predator think twice. If you need a group to run or walk with, the invitation to be a part of "Run/Walk with a Cop" is always open. 

"We want people to know we're here for them and we want to handle this problem so they can feel safe of the trail," Danielle said.  

The Austin Police Department has not set a date for their next "Run/Walk with a Cop."

Officers said they will put future meetups on their Facebook page. 

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