Leading SA: SAPD Chief McManus discusses string of high-profile violent crimes, causes, and response

McManus explained next steps for departments growth as recent study data shows need for more patrol officers

SAN ANTONIO – There have been a number of high-profile violent crimes over the last few weeks.

San Antonio Chief of Police William McManus joined Leading SA to discuss why it is happening and the department’s response.

It certainly gives the impression that you know, crime is out of control. But barring those four events, our violent crime is actually down 14%. So and those shootings... were not random. They were targeted,” Chief McManus said.

As crime levels are reported to be down, McManus explained his speculations behind the string of recent violent gun crimes.

“My answer is going to be purely speculative and my opinion on what’s happening. But I, I think that there are some folks out there today who are running in gangs, and they have no concern or care about who they injure or why they’re injuring. And unfortunately, the recklessness which with they go about these drive-by shootings and when they’re going after somebody for whatever reason, they could care less if anybody else gets hurt. And it’s unfortunate reality of what’s going on out there with when you have these gang retaliation hit,” Chief McManus said.

Last week in a press conference, Chief McManus said there are different elements that create the criminal justice system.

He said what happens after an arrest is out of the department’s control and how in many cases, they are arresting people already out on bond.

If someone’s arrested, they’re taken to the magistrate’s office, they’re processed, and then they go before the magistrate for a bond hearing... And most people are making bond, and they’re back out in the streets, and many times they’re out there committing crimes again. And we arrest people quite often who are already out on bond or who are out on probation, and they’re receiving another bond. So it’s frustrating from that sense,” Chief McManus said.

McManus shared details from a study as he emphasized the need for accountability.

If people who commit crimes understand that there’s no real accountability for or consequence for what they do there, they’re likely, and this is a study they’re likely to commit crime again. There has to be accountability. They have to understand that for sure something’s going to happen to them as a result of the crime that they commit. And I’m speaking not only about violent crime, but I’m speaking about property crimes as well,” said McManus.

The chief said arrests are up year over year, and a preliminary study showed the need for more officers in the community as the population continues to grow.

McManus then went into the specific benefits of hiring more officers to grow with the community.

Got one half of the study done, which says that we need 360 new officers in patrol. And I’m talking just patrol. That extra 360 officers on patrol would give us more time, more discretionary time to spend with the community, to spend on problem-solving, to spend with community groups as opposed to what we have right now. Right now, we have a 40%, 60% ratio, 40% off call time, discretionary time, 60% on-call time. We want to reverse that so officers aren’t rushing from call to call and not spending as much time as they should or could with the individual who has got an issue in their neighborhoods,” Chief McManus said.

As far as recruitment goes, SAPD is in a great position as they are able to fill 4 to 5 classes a year to capacity.

However, McManus explained how the next steps to add at least 360 officers to the force will come down to our elected officials.

That still has to be approved by council. So we’ll see what happens in this budget season,” Chief McManus said.

For more Leading SA stories, CLICK HERE.

About the Author

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

Recommended Videos