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How San Antonio Played A Major Role In Developing A 'Playbook' For Police Negotiations Nationwide

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Dominic Anthony Walsh

The police killing of George Floyd last May sparked nationwide protests against police brutality. Since then, several states have adopted new police oversight and reform laws.

A recent New York Times piece focused on police bargaining tactics and the so-called “playbook” police unions have used to win power nationwide. The article spotlights San Antonio and dives deep into attorney and union negotiator Ron DeLord’s history and influence in developing police bargaining tactics now used by unions across the country.

Police contract talks are currently underway in San Antonio and city officials are trying to undo some previously agreed upon disciplinary protections. The union's current contract expires in September.

In a negotiating session on Friday, representatives from the San Antonio Police Officers Association pressed the City to agree to a new labor contract before the start of early voting for the May 1 election, in which voters will decide the fate of future negotiations. If approved by voters, "Prop B" would strip the union of its bargaining rights.

The police union hopes to reach a deal during resumed talks on March 23, but so far the two sides are holding fast to opposing positions regarding the appeals process for fired and suspended officers.


  • Kim Barker, enterprise reporter for The New York Times
  • Ron DeLord, attorney and special counsel for the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT)
  • Representative from Fix SAPD

"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, March 23.

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