New Class Of Police Cadets Begins As City Curbs Officer Shortage
A new class of cadets is beginning at the San Antonio Police Training Academy. The city hopes this training class along with two more will decrease the shortage of officers on the streets.
Fifty-one cadets are in this new class. The city of San Antonio has had a shortage of police officers for two years.
City Manager Sheryl Sculley says the shortage was intentional with city council approval due to unforeseeable costs with not having a signed union contract. “So the council decided to keep positions vacant rather than laying anybody off and the council did not want to make further cuts to streets, park maintenance, or library hours or senior centers,” Sculley says.
With the 51 new cadets, that takes the number of vacancies down to 126. With the shortage, SAPD Chief William McManus says there has been no lack of street patrol.
“There’s an overtime fund to back fill for those officers that are not there,” the chief says. “So we have not been short on the street we have been filling those vacancies with overtime.”
A class of 17 recently graduated and 38 others started in January. Sculley says with two more classes, the shortage should be over by year’s end with 50 vacancies which she says is the yearly average. Police Union President Mike Helle says the city should not count chickens before they are hatched. “You cannot count them as resources until they graduate and put a badge on them. Cadets do not make 911 calls they do not respond to people in distress or are in trouble,” Helle adds.
It takes 33 weeks, or about 8 months to finish the training. The city counts a vacancy filled once a cadet begins the training academy.