In late March 2016, the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association voted a 97% “no confidence” against Police Chief William McManus. On Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, San Antonio’s KABB Channel 29 news shed some light on the reasons for that lack of confidence when they reported the results of a recent survey of SAPD leaders.
KABB TV obtained a copy of a survey of senior SAPD leaders that shows what they think about the current management. Senior SAPD leaders responded to the study using 0 to 100, with zero being the lowest score. The survey also included Chief McManus’ responses.
In the category “Mindset,” which determines how police leaders handle situations, the score was a low 22 out of 100. SAPD sources feel “unclear communication” from the top command to officers makes them unsure of their actions.
“Identify Disruptions” scored a 9 of one 100. This score means senior staff cannot stay “present, focused, and effective.” In addition, this score means that it is difficult for SAPD leaders to maintain positive relationships with the community because of vague and sometimes conflicting guidance.
“Cultivate Self-awareness” scored the lowest at 1 out of 100. This score shows the lack of communication from the top has resulted in officers questioning if their actions make a difference in fighting crime. Also, the current “anti-police” political climate has created tremendous tension for the rank-and-file officers.
“Identity Development” scored 12 out of 100. This score shows senior officers do not have opportunities to express their needs, ideas, or perspectives. The lack of input and communication further contributes to low morale among officers who feel that command management is more interested in politics than fighting crime.
“Psychological Safety” received 8 out of 100. SAPD sources say the fear of punishment among command staff has trickled down to the officers at the street level. Punishment for the slightest real or perceived infraction has leaders and officers walking on eggshells.
Unfortunately, the SAPD faces several other issues beyond the leadership crisis, contributing to a hostile work environment. These issues also will impact public safety.
An example of poor police leadership was the handling of a human smuggling case in December 2017 when several illegal aliens were released without turning them over to ICE. This was a direct violation of the State of Texas’s anti-sanctuary law and left the officers frustrated and confused. The State’s lawsuit against the SAPD continues.
Another example of poor leadership was the apparent attempt to hide these negative survey results from the public. If not for SAPD employees providing KABB a copy of this report, the public may never have known about it. Additionally, it is unclear if the SA has seen the results. City Council.
The crisis in leadership confidence has complicated matters at the SAPD in other ways. Because of the anti-police climate in society, the recruitment classes are smaller because fewer people select law enforcement as a career. Also, younger officers have second thoughts about policing as a career and are leaving, while early retirements among veteran officers are higher than ever.
The lower numbers of officers will eventually affect public safety. For example, specialized units like Vice, Narcotics, Street Crimes, SWAT, and Traffic will need to be combined because of fewer officers.
Finally, the poor leadership at SAPD has also resulted in the City of SA losing some high-profile arbitration cases involving police misconduct. Instead of attacking the arbitration process, the local liberal Fake News and liberal/leftist politicians should criticize the incompetent SAPD leadership.
Being a police officer in San Antonio has become difficult because of poor SAPD leadership, City Hall’s liberal/leftist policies, and the local Fake News. In a time of increased crime and violence, San Antonio residents need to vote for City leadership to support police officers and punish criminals, not the reverse.