An assistant Austin police chief was recently stopped for driving 92 mph on MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) in a city-owned car while off-duty — and drove away with just a warning.
Assistant Chief Chris McIlvain, who oversees the department’s professional standards division, was traveling to Waco to watch a Baylor basketball game with his young son when officer David Montalvo stopped him near Braker Lane.
A Feb. 18 patrol car video shows Montalvo confirming that the car belonged to the city, and he and McIlvain had a less than 30-second interaction before he released the assistant chief with a written warning.
“How fast was I going?” McIlvain asked.
“The first reading was 92, and I clocked you in at 88,” Montalvo responded.
“Holy mackerel,” McIlvain said.
On Tuesday, McIlvain told the American-Statesman, “At the time of the traffic stop, I believed I was in the area of MoPac where the speed limit was 75. I was mistaken, and have received a citation for the violation.”
Interim Police Chief Brian Manley wasn’t aware of the incident until the Statesman inquired about it last week. He then ordered that McIlvain, who was driving in a 65-mph speed zone, be issued a ticket. The ticket is for $195.
Manley also opened an internal affairs investigation into McIlvain’s actions to ensure he broke no departmental policy. He said that inquiry is complete, but that state civil service law prohibited him from discussing the outcome because it didn’t result in a suspension.
“I expect officers of this department to comply with the law, whether it be criminal or traffic laws, just like we expect the citizens to,” Manley said Tuesday.
Because McIlvain and other departmental officials are subject to being called to duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the city furnishes them a take-home car so that they may quickly respond to an emergency.
McIlvain’s use of the car was within departmental policy, Manley said.
Over the years, the department has reacted swiftly to police officers who gave so-called “courtesy rides” to fellow officers stopped for drunken driving. That practice has been banned for two decades.
However, Manley said that officers must also be mindful of their treatment of colleagues who speed, but that departmental policy gives officers latitude about when to write warnings or tickets to any citizen.
“I think that we’ve got a culture and a history now of holding officers accountable,” he said. “We regularly arrest officers when they commit violations as we would a citizen under similar circumstances.
“We also regularly issue citizens warning citations,” Manley said. “But our officers have discretion, and I think our community wants officers to have discretion.”
Montalvo’s dashboard camera video shows that he was stationed near the northbound lanes of MoPac when McIlvain sped past him.
Montalvo began chasing McIlvain in the left northbound lane, at one point saying to himself, “Still flying.”
McIlvain pulled over on the right shoulder, and after the brief exchange about his speed, he said, “We’re going up to Waco for the KU game.”
As the interaction concluded, McIlvain said, “I apologize.”
“Take care, buddy,” Montalvo said.