San Antonio City Council approves new police collective bargaining agreement

San Antonio City Council approved another five-year, $ 92.7 million collective bargaining agreement for police Thursday. The approval came despite criticism from council members and local activist groups that the contract still failed to address accountability issues and community policing efforts.

The city council approved the contract by an 8-3 majority vote, with council members Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, Teri Castillo and Mario Bravo voting against. The council members that voted in favor did so voicing their satisfaction with negotiations, seeing any repeat efforts to renegotiate as potential for losing any ground that was gained.

Those against the contract felt the negotiations still lacked community input, instead leaving it up solely to the union, city council and city staff.

McKee-Rodriguez said the community should be engaged because of lived experiences with police, calling out the names of those shot by police including Marquise Jones, Antronie Scott, Charles Roundtree, and Gilbert Flores.

The District 2 councilman also named Jesse Aguirre, who died after being flipped head-first onto the cement by police, and Norman Cooper, who died after being tased twice by officers.

Anthony Scott Jr. center, cries during a memorial for his late father while his friend Camille Wright, right, supports him during an event put on to honor the families of victims of police violence in San Antonio.

Matthew Busch, Contributor / For The San Antonio Express-News

Below are some of the major changes on the new police contract.

Pay and benefits


  • City providing a total 17% increase to wages. That’s an accumulative cost of $ 92.7 million.
  • Officers will also receive a 2% lump sum when the contract is approved.
  • Police pay will increase by 3.5% in 2023 and 2024, and then by 4% in 2025 and 2026.

Discipline

  • Arbitrators can only overturn indefinite suspensions if the chief fails to identify whether the officer’s employment is detrimental to the police department.
  • The chief can consider past disciplinary actions when handing out new discipline to officers.
  • The police chief can discipline officers within 180 days of receiving misconduct allegations, instead of after 180 days of the incident.
  • The chief must discipline officer within two years of an incident.
  • Officers must be notified within 24 hours of being investigated by internal affairs instead of 48 hours.
  • Officers can not look at statements from another officer under investigation.
  • Employee must answer questions at internal affairs, they can no longer take questions home.
  • Internal affairs can now ask officers for eight hours per day instead of six.

Operational

  • Training hours are now increased to up to 120 hours per year instead of 80.
  • Officers now have 160 hours of family leave.
  • Chief can approve or deny leave.
  • A minimum of three officers or a maximum of five officers can be employed off duty.
  • Police vehicles can be replaced beyond 85,000 miles per year.

Ananda Tomas, right, executive director of ACT 4 SA, listens to public comments in the City Council Chambers.

Ananda Tomas, right, executive director of ACT 4 SA, listens to public comments in the City Council Chambers.

Sam Owens, Staff Photographer / San Antonio Express News

‘We will fight to keep hope alive’

Activists also took issue with the lack of independent civilian review in the new contract, as well as officers being allowed to use vacation days during unpaid suspension.

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