SAN ANTONIO – Detective Mike Helle, the longtime president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association, confirmed to KSAT Thursday that he will step down at the end of his current term.
Helle played a pivotal role in the association’s last two Collective Bargaining Agreements, the most recent of which was signed in 2016 and expires in 2021.
Helle told KSAT by phone Thursday that he will step down when his current term ends next February and he will also retire from the San Antonio Police Department with the rank of detective. Helle said he made the decision months ago to not seek another term.
The current police contract and several protections it affords to officers accused of misconduct have been the focus of reformers who want to add more accountability and discipline within the department, particularly in the last week as international protests against police brutality have put a spotlight on police conduct.
In San Antonio, police officers who were fired ultimately were granted reinstatement in 67.5% of cases in the last decade, according to data obtained by KSAT under public information law.
On Thursday, activists called on City Council to defund the police department.
SAPD rank and file officers are scheduled to vote on Helle’s successor in December, he said.
Helle was first elected president in 2008 and is the first president in the association’s history to be elected then re-elected five times.
His eventual successor likely faces a steep learning curve as SAPOA and the city are scheduled to begin collective bargaining agreement talks for a new police contract in January.
Helle said he may take part in the initial meetings, but not beyond that.
A request for comment from the San Antonino Police Department was not immediately returned.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg declined to comment.
This is a developing story. Stay with KSAT12 and KSAT.com for more information as it becomes available.
For viewers who want more information on San Antonio’s police contract and discipline within the department, watch KSAT12′s recent investigative special, “Broken Blue" and find all the coverage here.