We wish to commend Sergeant Michael Cowden of the Austin Police Department for the exemplary performance of his job.
On the night of February 14, 2020, my wheelchair-bound husband and I attended a show at the State Theater at 719 Congress Avenue. We arrived about 7:20 and saw that the handicapped parking places we normally use on Congress had been posted as no parking, in preparation for the 2020 Austin Marathon. We were relieved to find one small block of parking spots northwest of the theater that were not posted so we parked there and placed our placard on the rearview mirror. We were a bit uneasy about it so we stopped to talk with an APD officer who was parked nearby. He assured us that we would be fine as long as our car was not there all night so we left and went to the show.
When we came out of the theater, our car was gone. We spoke with another officer who determined that our car had been towed and then contacted his supervisor Sergeant Michael Cowden. Sergeant Cowden listened to us and immediate used his discretionary power to help. He loaded the wheelchair in the trunk of his car and give us a ride to the towing site. He checked that the car was registered to us and that the handicap placard was properly displayed. He then voided the parking ticket and towing charges and delivered us to our car.
It would have been far less complicated for Sergeant Cowden to simply tell us that he could help and we would have to fend for ourselves in which case we would have been writing a complaint rather than a commendation. Instead, he chose to work with us and exemplified that APD is able and willing to serve the citizens of Austin. This is an example of how the APD works to establish a bond between the department and its citizenry.
We would like to thank Sergeant Cowden for his professionalism, and the friendly manner in which he dealt with our problem.
-MM & CM