Rude: ‘I was shocked’ by Philipp announcement

Published 7:06 am Monday, February 8, 2010

Former Austin police Cpt. Curt Rude said he was as “shocked” as anyone by the news of chief Paul Philipp’s retirement and that he did not file the complaint that ultimately led to the chief’s decision.

Rude, who was terminated as a city employee last month following his felony drug conviction in November, said he was most surprised by how quickly Philipp’s decision came about.

Philipp, who had been with the Austin Police Department for 31 years, announced Jan. 19 that he was retiring at the end of the month.

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The former chief said his decision was in large part influenced by a recently filed complaint against him. Philipp has not elaborated further on the nature of the complaint, and city officials have cited personnel privacy laws when declining to discuss details of the complaint. Philipp did say, however, that charges against him are largely “untrue and unfounded.”

Despite some lingering tension between Rude and the boss who requested an outside agency come in and investigate why Rude removed prescription painkillers from the department’s evidence room, the former captain said he was not a party in the complaint.

“I’ve been gone,” said Rude, who currently works as a cross-country truck driver and spoke for this story over the phone from Memphis.

Philipp has decided to stay relatively quiet regarding his retirement, but he did acknowledge that dealing with the Rude situation for the past two-plus years was trying on him personally and on the department as a whole.

Regarding the complaint against him, Philipp said it required investigation, which would “impair” his effectiveness as chief. Ultimately, he said he didn’t want to bring further conflict and controversy upon the department.

“For this reason, I think it is necessary to announce my retirement,” Philipp wrote in a statement released last month. “I think it is best to spare the Austin police force additional controversy that may be divisive, that may cast doubt on the integrity of law enforcement, and that can only be harmful to the department that I have endeavored to serve.”

In Philipp’s place, Lt. John Mueller and Det. Brian Krueger will split chief duties until someone new is found, which city officials expect to take two to four months.

Krueger said Philipp is greatly missed in the department, likening his departure to a loss in a family.

“Paul is highly respected in the community,” the detective said. “He’s been an outstanding leader for us.”