"Good officers don't need these protections"
-Police Chief McManus
in an Express News Interview
LET COUNCIL KNOW POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY IS TOP PRIORITY
While we continue to work hard to repeal Chapters 143 and 174 from our community, we must also make sure that police accountability is a top priority during contract negotiations between the city and the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA).
Every Wednesday, City Council hosts Citizens To Be Heard, where community members can call-in or type written messages to be heard by the Council and Mayor as a whole.
Take part in Citizens To Be Heard Now! Under Meetings, simply click on Public Comment and sign up to speak or leave a public comment.
WHAT TO SAY
WHEN YOU CALL-IN OR LEAVE A TYPED COMMENT YOU CAN USE ANY OF THESE TALKING POINTS BELOW
"I CALL ON THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL TO CLEARLY OUTLINE THE CITY COUNCIL’S TOP PRIORITIES RELATED TO DISCIPLINARY PROVISIONS IN THE SAN ANTONIO POLICE OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT. DO NOT BACK DOWN ON THESE."
Eliminate the provision that permits a reversal of disciplinary actions through arbitration (CBA Art. 28.1, 28.5-11,15,18 ; Chapter 143.1016, 143.129). Currently, officers may appeal disciplinary action up to an arbitrator, who is allowed to overthrow the police chief’s disciplinary decisions, regardless of the facts of the case. This leads to situations in which officers are returned to the force simply because the arbitrator decided that the officer was just having a bad day. This undermines the rule of law.
Eliminate the provisions that provide the accused officer access to evidence before speaking to investigators (CBA Art. 29.2 (C) ; Chapter 143.312 (g)). During the 48-hour window before they speak to investigators, officers are allowed to review every piece of evidence, including audio, video, and written testimony, that’s been presented against them. As Chief McManus has so succinctly stated,” Where does that ever happen?”
Eliminate time limitations on when investigators can conduct investigations into wrongdoing (CBA Art. 28.19, 28.22 ; Chapter 143.117 (d)). Police administrators have six months to administer discipline against an accused officer. In criminal cases, the clock starts when authorities become aware of the wrongdoing. In civil matters, administrators can only act within 180 days of when the incident took place.
Eliminate the statute of limitations that prevents the inclusion of officer’s disciplinary records during investigations (CBA Art. 28.19 (A-E)). When presenting their case to arbitrators, police administrators are not allowed to introduce any evidence of acts that have occurred before the 180-day window.
Eliminate the provisions that permit delayed interviews of accused officers (CBA Art. 29.2(C) ; 143.312 (g)). Today, whenever an officer is accused of misconduct, Internal Affairs must give the accused officer 48-hour notice before any interview or interrogation takes place. No one else reading this would be given advance notice of two days to prepare for an interview with local law enforcement. These extra measures subvert efforts toward accountability.
Eliminate the provisions that reveal the names of the accusers to the police officers charged with wrongdoing (CBA Art. 29.2 (C)) ; 143.312 (f)). This endangers fellow officers and citizens who are subject to retaliation by accused officers.
Prevent officers from using the discretionary time (holiday, vacation, or bonus days) to pay themselves while on unpaid suspension. (CBA Art. 28.18). Officers should not be rewarded for misconduct. It gives discipline no impact on officers who commit misconduct and costs the city hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Eliminate the restrictive personnel file and disciplinary records release provisions that limits civilian oversight. (CBA Art. 29.3 (F-G) ; Chapter 143.1214, 143.089 (g)). Currently, the Complaint & Administrative Review Board is made up of civilians and officers selected from a list of names provided by the city manager. The committee purportedly oversees citizens’ complaints against police, but its disciplinary recommendations are “advisory only” and non-binding and their access to officer personnel files is limited.
Eliminate the provisions that permit the city to be charged for certain costs following an officer’s misconduct. (CBA Art. 28.18, 36). Costs can include paid leave while under investigation, legal fees, and settlements.
Reduce the “Evergreen Clause” to 1 year (CBA Art.1). Currently, this clause allows for the previous contract to be enacted for up to 8 years if SAPOA doesn’t want to negotiate with the terms the city is presenting. This allows them to hold out for more favorable city leaders to be elected or appointed so they don’t have to address city concerns.