Q&A with the new Lakeway and Bee Cave Police Chiefs


Brian Jones, the beehive chief police officer

What is a particular challenge in monitoring medium-sized cities with smaller police forces and budgets?

Fortunately, the town of Bee Cave is a community that is very supportive of its police force. Although there is no “Defund” vibe in Bee Cave, we still have to work with a limited budget and resources. Unlike many larger divisions with specialized units, Bee Cave officers need to be familiar not only with patrol operations, but all other aspects of law enforcement as well.

Why did you care about law enforcement?

Unlike many police officers, I didn’t grow up wanting to work in law enforcement. After graduating from college, a friend of mine who was an officer in Houston convinced me to give it a try. I thought it might be fun to do a couple of years. 25 years later, I’m still a cop. That says something about how rewarding it was.

What role does technology play in law enforcement? Do certain software or computers make police forces more efficient?

Technology has grown exponentially since I became a cop. When I started, the officers wrote handwritten reports on carbonless forms and took photos with Polaroid cameras. Police agencies are now much more efficient thanks to modern technology. Information is so much more accessible, especially when it comes to crime analysis, data storage, [geographic information system], and computer software that helps with criminal investigations.

What is a common misconception about police work when dealing with the public?

I think a common misconception is that cops are not robots, they are humans like everyone else. We have our good days and bad. We are expected to remain professional and courteous at all times, even in the most adverse circumstances, and rightly so. Even if we come up short sometimes, we hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Is there a regional public safety issue that Bee Cave shares with surrounding communities?

A regionally shared public safety problem would be traffic, which has exploded in our area. A great school district and a high quality of life attract commercial and apartment expansions. Because of this growth, traffic has become a major problem, with collisions and incidents of “road rage” increasing. I ask people to be patient and look out for other drivers around you. The city of Bee Cave is currently collaborating [the Texas Department of Transportation] to find ways to alleviate this problem.

Lakeway Police Chief Glen Koen

What is a particular challenge in monitoring medium-sized cities with smaller police forces and budgets?

While there is certainly a nationwide discussion of police practices and funding, I have found that the most meaningful discussions are locally focused, addressing the things that are most important to the local community. The most unique challenge in terms of funding right now is grants. However, as is so often the case, national discussions can change the eligibility requirements for these grants.

Why did you care about law enforcement?

My upbringing has instilled in me the value of serving others. It also taught me the importance of standing up for what’s right. That foundation made me more likely to choose a career that focused on some form of public service. My career choices as a police officer were cemented by the positive influence of some of the police officers who were a part of my life as a teenager. It has been a very rewarding and meaningful career so far.

What role does technology play in law enforcement? Do certain software or computers make police forces more efficient?

Without a doubt, technology has made law enforcement more effective, efficient, and responsive. Technology has also increased the ability for civil servants to successfully de-escalate very problematic situations. Not every new technological advancement solves a problem, but I will always remain open to new technologies that improve the professionalism and service of the Lakeway Police Department.

What is a common misconception about police work when dealing with the public?

In my career I have found that many people expect civil servants to be able to solve their problem completely and easily. Unfortunately, reality often falls short of this expectation. While officials almost always make every reasonable effort to find a solution that is just and satisfactory to all concerned, for some problems there is no easily achievable solution. Please remember that officers are human too. While they try hard to do so, they may not meet all expectations.

Is there a regional public safety issue that Lakeway shares with the surrounding communities?

I am returning to central Texas after six years of experience in the Pacific Northwest, so I do not claim to fully understand all of the challenges. That means, emergency preparedness and traffic problems pop up immediately. Based on my conversations with the city guide, I would say that the city has taken up the lessons from the extreme weather conditions of the past year and that I imagine a good partnership between the PD and the emergency manager.

The responses for both police chiefs have been edited slightly for reasons of style.

About Stephanie McGehee

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