SAN ANTONIO – Earlier this week the San Antonio Police Department announced more than 130 sex crime cases were not properly investigated and that officers within the unit would face punishments, but on Friday San Antonio Police Officer's Association president Mike Helle said the findings were "greatly exaggerated."
Helle countered Chief William McManus' statements and said the actual number of cases not properly investigated was "closer to a handful."
READ THE INITIAL REPORT: SAPD lieutenant, two sergeants failed 'to properly supervise the unit,' chief says
"Although we do not condone the allegations, the situation reveals a larger failure by the City of San Antonio and exposes the root cause of the problem: the deficiencies caused by not having an automated Records Management System (RMS)/Case Management System (CMS)," Helle said.
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Helle said officers "having to rely on manual, outdated systems" created more room for mistakes within the department.
Helle blamed a workforce shortage for the improper investigation of cases and gave the following outline of the department:
45 detectives work within the SVU Sex Crimes/Family Violence department.
4 detectives work at sex offender registration.
16 detectives work in the sex crimes unit and handle about 2300-2500 investigations per year.
2 detectives are assigned to human trafficking division and manage 70-100 investigations per year.
"These are hard-working professionals who often work overtime and unpaid hours to solve very difficult and personally stressful cases," Helle said. "They work tirelessly every day on often times heinous crimes, but they care deeply about their work and the victims they serve. They deserve nothing but our respect and support, and we owe it to them to provide the human resources and tools they need to effectively do their job."
City Manager Sheryl Sculley said in the past decade, she and McManus have made policy changes within the department to help improve the investigating and prosecution of these types of crimes.
McManus said he does not believe the mishandling was “malicious” but rather that it was the result of “negligence.”
McManus said Thursday a lieutenant and two sergeants from SVU were transferred from the unit for "failing to properly supervise the unit" after an internal audit revealed the cases were not properly investigated.
"To further ensure that no other cases have been mishandled, I have requested a complete, outside review of all SVU cases by city attorneys with expert knowledge in this area," McManus said. "SAPD's responsibility to investigate reported crimes and assist victims is one of our core missions. This investigation will continue until we are certain that all cases have been properly investigated."