SAPD shuffles to fill job vacancies

SAN ANTONIO – About 30 cadets will enter the San Antonio Police Academy this month, but even if they all graduate, they won't fill one-quarter of the department's vacancies, department officials said Wednesday.

Despite its 112 vacant sworn positions, the department has maintained its patrol levels, but doing so means pulling officers from non-patrol units and putting them on the streets, officials said.

Some city leaders are concerned that the practice could eventually affect public safety.

"I know that they do a great job, but if they're being stretched to a certain limit, at what point does that limit become unsustainable? And I think that's a discussion we have to have," Councilman Cris of Medina District 6 said.

"I think my concern becomes when we're making so much progress maybe on certain issues right now, for example for our vice unit or our pop unit. I wouldn't want to hinder any of that forward progress," public safety community chair Rebecca Viagran said.

The cadets who graduate from the academy won't be ready for patrol duty until 2016, meaning that the police department will continue to shift officers into patrol duties.