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SAPD Introduces New Protocol For Mental Health Calls, Ends Use Of No-Knock Warrants

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San Antonio Police Chief William McManus
Joey Palacios
/
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus

The San Antonio Police Department has announced a new mental health crisis call protocol, as well as the permanent end of the use of no-knock warrants. The announcement comes weeks after several people were shot and killed by law enforcement officers this summer, as well as weeks of protests against police brutality.

The changes follow months of protests over police brutality and racial injustice across the country, including in San Antonio where several people were shot and killed by the police this summer.

"In order to reduce the chances that we may have to use force, deadly force or non deadly force on the individual, we have modified our calls to make it safer for that individual and safer for the police officers," Police Chief William McManus said on Tuesday's "The Source."

The new protocol also prohibits officers from entering the premises when serving high-risk warrants. Instead, it requires officers to use alternative strategies to de-escalate the situation and encourage surrender.

How will new training impact interactions between individuals experiencing mental health crises and the responding law enforcement officers?

Why did Chief McManus decide to implement these changes? How does he respond to concerns about policing equity and accountability, and calls from community advocates for additional reforms?

A San Antonio policing expert and reform activist respond to Chief of Police William McManus' interview with "The Source."

As people call for more police accountability, there is also talk about trying to repeal the Texas Local Government Code chapters 174 and 143. The codes are related to collective bargaining and police protections, respectively.

McManus told TPR’s “The Source” that he’s not opposed to collective bargaining.

"I am opposed to articles 28 and 29 in the current collective bargaining agreement that deal with discipline. I think they give an unfair advantage to officers and I think they need to be repealed or renegotiated in the upcoming collective bargaining agreement," he said.

Oji Martin, founder of the police reform activist gruop Fix SAPD, said she also opposes articles 28 and 29.

"That is, in essence what 143 one of the local government codes that we are trying to repeal that is in essence, what it is about. It is about giving officers an unfair advantage," she said.

Martin has launched signature campaigns to repeal Chapters 143 and 174.

Guests:

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call  833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Tuesday, October 6.

Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon