New Braunfels – The New Braunfels Police Association said crime is up as the population grows and the city’s police force needs more money for training, hiring and crime prevention programs.
Police officers are walking the streets collecting signatures for a petition that would force the council to put the creation of a Crime Control and Prevention District on the ballot in the spring. This comes after the council voted against the move in December 2022.
President of the NB Police Association Joe Tovar said they need more than 3,200 signatures by next Friday. There are many other needs among them as well, including adding more school resource officers.
Currently, Tovar said there are three SROs for 16 schools in the city.
“We don’t have the opportunity to do proactive policing. We do have a traffic unit, but right now we only have two traffic officers,” he explained.
The creation of the seven-member board by the city council would be the first step toward putting the CCPD on the ballot, and the voters would then decide if they want it or not, he said.
“If the need is not there, then [the city] can dissolve the [CCPD]. The initial election for it is only good for two years. You have to do it again after that,” Tovar said.
The creation of the CCPD would not raise taxes. Tovar said about $3.5 million would be reallocated from the $9 million that’s allocated to the NB Economic Development Corporation.
“New Braunfels already collects the max amount of sales tax that it can collect. And right now, the economic development does receive 3/8 of a cent,” he said.
Those against the creation of the district included Jonathan Packer, the president and CEO of the New Braunfels Greater Chamber of Commerce.
“I do not believe the city needs a new tax, new board or new rules or to change the way budget works in order to fund public safety,” he said in the December meeting.
Councilman Harry Bowers also said he believed the general budget and annual request serve the public safety needs.
There are more than 60 cities that have CCPDs. Bexar County Leon Valley, Balcones Heights, Kirby, Windcrest, and Shavano Park are among those cities.
Tovar said the union is committed to seeing the CCPD on the ballot for voters to have a say.