Public opinion of the San Antonio Police Officers Association has weakened since it first won its tariffs in 1975. San Antonio Police Chief William McManus also sees problems with the collective agreement and some of the state`s laws that are in effect. In both cases, he says, “they do protect the wrong officers.” (Watch the full clip at the bottom of the article.) I will advocate for substantial changes in the next collective agreement that will allow the Chief of Police and municipal staff to permanently eliminate all the bad actors who undermine the integrity of our police service and endanger the safety of our citizens. Whether the misconduct occurred yesterday or last year, it is still misconduct that degrades the reputation of the force, the union and the community. The collective agreement does not distinguish between the types of errors – for lack of paperwork or excessive use of force. As you have written, by nature, the arrangement tolerates any wrongdoing committed outside the 180-day limit, regardless of the seriousness. It`s got to change. The current collective agreement with SAPOA hinders SAPD`s ability to remove bad actors from power, including through the binding arbitration clause. This tends that officers, rightly suspended, engage in arbitration and be returned to force by an overwhelming majority.
The best thing SAPD can do to keep them off the road when they are reinstated is to assign them to an administrative office job. I think we need to revisit this issue in the next police contract, but perhaps also extend conciliation to three member bodies, as is the case with firefighters. The current trial with an arbitrator has caused a crisis of confidence. There are fundamental changes to be made in the new agreement. In particular, maintaining an officer`s disciplinary history, citizens review the committee with enforcement powers, improved instructors and the training program that really deals with de-escalation and negotiation techniques. Another controversial feature of the San Antonio police agreement is that if an officer is suspended, he or she may use vacation, vacation or bonus days during this period as compensation as long as he does not exceed 45 days. The San Antonio Collective Agreement contains many safeguards that some scholars have found problematic.