To help reduce overtime as the fiscal year nears an end, San Antonio police Chief William McManus said homicide detectives will no longer respond to all overnight murders.
McManus said Criminal Investigation Division detectives who work at night will handle some of those investigations initially, then turn them over to homicide detectives the next day.
McManus said they also may do other types of criminal investigations.
Sgt. Javier Salazar, SAPD spokesman, said night CID detectives will take on the cases that appear to be more cut-and-dry, while those that are more complex in nature will go to homicide detectives.
“Night CID detectives are among the most experienced and skilled detectives in the department and are quite capable of handling murder cases,” McManus said.
That assessment was shared by Mary Jane Peterson, local chapter leader for Parents of Murdered Children.
“I can’t take anything away from those night detectives working the night cases,” Peterson said. “I think they do the very best job they can.”
Peterson said a night CID detective led to the first of five suspects being tried and convicted in her son’s 1994 stabbing death.
“The CID detective thought he had blood on his pants, so they arrested him,” Peterson said.
She said homicide detectives later took up her son’s murder cases.
Peterson said it would be ideal if the same detective could follow a case from beginning to end.
“Some of us have three, four and five detectives, so, you know, it’s hard to tell,” Peterson said.
McManus said on-call homicide detectives will be an additional resource if needed.
He also said the change is not expected to adversely affect the clearance rates of pending cases.
Peterson said, “I’d like to see the statistics. I think it will tell everybody something.”
McManus said none of the changes can be called permanent.
He said, “Our strategy is to run with the changes at least through the end of the fiscal year and keep the most effective changes for a longer term.”