SAPD chief addresses East Side crime, problems facing city

Chief McManus sits down with Steve Spriester to discuss issues facing city

SAN ANTONIO – Walking passed monitors and computer terminals, and at every desk, he arrives at an officer stands up to shake his hand. It’s a visit from San Antonio Police Chief William McManus to a center he helped create. A tour of a state of the art communications area, the San Antonio Regional Intelligence Center.

"We have the detectives that work up here in the Fusion Center, what they do is basically mine data. They push that information that they receive that is actionable back into the field," says Chief McManus.

The center is one of the innovations McManus pushed for, but he realizes cutting edge communications, will never replace face to face.

Gang and drug related shootings, vagrants and run down houses, those are some of the complaints that have put the city's East Side on the chief’s radar. He said what’s happening in those neighborhoods, could be a lesson that extends to every part of the city.

"We have officers that handle calls for service and we want to have a community policing component that works chronic neighborhood quality of life crime issues," said McManus.

The East Side of the city, one of the areas where the chief's community policing plan is being put into practice, a plan that involves the obvious and not so obvious parts of policing.

"I think the mistake that many folks make is that we have these issues, we need more police. You don't necessarily need more police. We need more strategic thinking in how to address it in its root," McManus said.

It is an effort that's about more than just the East Side.

"People need to believe and feel confident that we're going to deliver. And the only way they're going to feel that is if we continue to follow up with them, we continue to involve them in the process," said McManus.

The chief wants the public to feel part of the process -- whether it's officers on the street or behind a communications desk at SARIC -- the goal is a police-public partnership.

"We may not be able to get buy in across the city on this, it's not really a new, this new way, but we'll just keep doing it more and more and more in different neighborhoods," McManus said.

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