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SAPD chief rescinds leave policy after captain seeks court intervention

Request for restraining order alleged policy violated police contract

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SAN ANTONIO – The day after a San Antonio police captain asked a judge to intervene in a department policy that capped time off, the chief has ended the policy.

"Effective immediately, the 60-day limit on use of accrued leave in a 12-month period is rescinded," Chief William McManus wrote in an email Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, Capt. Laura Andersen filed a request for a temporary restraining order to stop the city from enforcing the policy enacted in January. It caps the use of all earned leave, vacation, holiday or compensatory time to 60 work days per year. The request claims that violates the collective bargaining agreement between the city and the officers.

Andersen said because she had taken 12 weeks off under the Family and Medical Leave Act in March to care for an ailing family member, her request for additional time off was denied -- a move she said would have forced her to retire Friday.

The document claims the policy violates the contract between officers and the city. It also says the issue came up in 2014 -- before the current contract -- but that the city did not address it in the negotiations that lead to a new deal in 2016.

On Thursday, the department's public information office explained, "The 60-day limit wasn't a policy but a guideline for leave approval during a 12-month period. Ultimately, this is about the operational impact to the department. The issue remains, the SAPD cannot have personnel away from their duties for excessive periods of time."

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