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New Austin police team combats crime by talking to the community

The RISE team may be new, but it already helped the APD during a drug operation that led to the arrest of nearly a dozen people.

AUSTIN, Texas — There's a new team at Austin Police Department (APD) that's focused on community policing. 

It's the Region 3 Innovation Safety and Engagement (RISE) team. 

"The purpose of the RISE team is to engage the community and address long-term standing problems within the community in Region 3," said APD Sergeant Hector Campos, one of the RISE team's supervisors. 

The new team has already had some success. On Wednesday and Thursday, APD said multiple units, including the RISE team, conducted an operation in the Riverside area. 

Officers said, over the two days, they made 11 arrests for narcotic-related charges and weapon charges. 

On Friday, officers with the RISE team went out to the community to let them know what went on.

"They reach out to the community, they get feedback from the community to ensure that we’re on the right track," said Campos. 

Campos and APD Corporal Taber White, another supervisor of the RISE team, said there are six officers on the team. 

White said it's based on building relationships. 

"It’s not just a one-and-done type of thing. We’re going to places over and over and over again," said White. "And the importance of that is you have to be able to meet with people multiple times in order to be able to forge those relationships. You can’t just come and meet somebody one time, shake his hand, and say 'we’re done here.' A relationship takes more than that."

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Business owners in the area, like Raul Palacios, said he's thankful the police have started this team. 

"It means a great deal," said Palacios. "It means a lot to me that they are doing something about all the crime going around."

Palacios shared his concerns about drug use in the area. He said he appreciated APD's proactive approach with the RISE team. 

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