San Marcos Police Department working to keep up with growing city

City Council set to vote on police officer salary increases

SAN MARCOS, Texas – San Marcos continues to be a fast-growing city, and its police department is working to keep up.

The San Marcos City Council is set to vote on providing more money for police officer salaries in late August.

San Marcos Police Chief Chase Stapps said the increase is to keep up with surrounding communities and stay competitive to attract more officers.

Officer Amy Greenwood joined the San Marcos Police Department in January. She had the choice to work for police forces in larger surrounding cities, such as San Antonio or Austin.

“Since I was a teenager, I've always wanted to be a police officer,” Greenwood said. “(San Marcos is) not small and it's not large. It's, you know, right there in the middle. It's a place where you have close ties with a bunch of police officers, as well as the community.”

Greenwood is still in training and working to fill one of the dozen open spots within SMPD.

Stapps said the police department will need to fill those vacancies as the city continues to grow.

“The speed of growth is really challenging because sometimes the growth happens faster than I can get the cops hired, trained and out on the street,” Stapps said.

Currently, the department has 108 spots allocated to it by city budget. Ideally, Stapp said, he would like to have 120 to 130 officers to have more community outreach programs.

This year, Stapps said San Marcos has had a relatively high amount of crime. As of June, there have been five homicides this year, along with a string of assaults and sexual assaults at apartment complexes in May.

“We do anticipate increasing call volume, an increase in certain types of crimes with growth,” Stapps said. “It's just natural. It's hard to fend that off.”

In late August, the San Marcos City Council is expected to vote on increasing police salaries.

Cadet pay currently starts at $48,593 a year and is proposed to be raised to $50,253.

Starting base salary is currently $53,828 and is proposed to be raised to $57,163.

Stapps said while the increases are part of staying competitive, working with the San Marcos police force is more than just the benefits offered.

“We offer competitive pay, good benefits but more important than that, I think it’s a really healthy, positive culture,” he said.

SMPD is taking applicants until Sept. 1.

To compare salaries with other law enforcement agencies, San Antonio Police Department cadets get paid $45,002 and one-year officers get paid $55,884. After five years’ experience, their pay increases to $73,236.

About the Authors: