‘No one’s life should be punished for safety': San Marcos police ask for community feedback on use of force policies

The department will create a citizen advisory committee that will study their current policies

The San Marcos Police Department is seeking public input as the agency will review its use-of-force policies

SAN MARCOS, TexasLee esto en español.

The San Marcos Police Department is asking for the community’s input on its current use of force policy.

SMPD officials announced the formation of a new committee that will be responsible for reviewing practices.

Some residents of the city say they are on board with policy changes. Tiffany Marcaurele feels it’s a step in the right direction.

“I mean there’s always a flaw in the law. There’s always going to be something that can be changed,” she said.

Jason Lewis believes the police department should be willing to make improvements if the community recognizes a problem.

“The police need to make adjustments. No one’s life should be punished for safety,” he said.

The new citizen’s advisory committee will be made up of residents from San Marcos who will be tasked with providing feedback to SMPD.

Long time resident Matthew Sustatia has already applied to be a part of the committee.

“I think addressing these things on a local level is a great first step, which is why I’m interested in this task force,” he said.

Sustaita is not familiar with the current policies, but he does have questions.

“Are they being pushed to more de-escalation as opposed to brute force?” he questioned

According to the city’s website, some of the department’s policies include the following:

  • An officer is required to identify themselves as a police officer and their intent to shoot when possible.
  • No-knock warrants, which allow police officers to enter a building without announcing their presence, are allowed.

Interim Police Chief Bob Klett said chokeholds are banned. He said each community is different and has different expectations for the men and women who protect.

“This ad-hoc committee is just a more formalized way of doing that, looking at our use of force policies and providing some feedback,” Klett said.

The move comes after a call for change and police reform grew louder across the country. Klett encourages residents to research more of the department’s policies.

“With everything going on after George Floyd, that communication is so important with our communities, so they understand and have that trust with us,” he said.

Klett believes the committee formation is an important step in creating solutions.

“It’s how we work with our citizens to make San Marcos a better place to live and work,” he said

The deadline to apply for the committee is Sept. 30. San Marcos City Council will choose the members in early October. To learn how to apply, click here.

About the Author:

Steven Cavazos is a traffic anchor and general assignments reporter in the weekday mornings at KSAT 12.