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Audit Of SAPD Special Victims Unit Finds Mismanaged Cases 'Not Systemic'

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley addresses the media at City Hall

San Antonio has released the results of an independent review examining the mismanagement of 130 cases by a San Antonio police detective in the special victims unit.

The city hired the Tatum Law Practice to review more than 12,000 SVU cases. While some changes in the unit were recommended, the review concluded mismanagement of SVU cases is "not systemic."

City Manager Sheryl Sculley said the team of attorneys independent of the city reviewed more than 10,500 felony cases and 1,500 misdemeanor cases and found mismanagement was limited to those handled by Detective Kenneth Valdez.

“The team found no discernible pattern or practice of detectives mishandling case,” she said.

The City Council approved two additional sergeant positions in the unit to create better supervision for sex crimes and family violence divisions, increasing the SVU unit to a staff of about 45 officers.

The report found that there are some problems with the unit's workflow and that it lacked an effective record management system.

“There is a need for a true record management system that facilitates the criminal investigation workflow process as well as the related administrative reporting responsibilities, enables sworn and civilian personnel to work more efficiently and effectively and reduces or eliminates some systemic process issues,” the report said.

In a memo to City Council, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said the police department is working with the city’s Information Technology Services Department in acquiring a new records management system. He said training on a new case management system should be completed by the end of 2018.

In October, the city reported that Valdez had mismanaged 139 cases — some dating back four years.

“Mistakes we can tolerate and we can fix. This was not a mistake. This was not an error. This simply would not have happened if there was case audit that was being done every month. That has been rectified,” McManus said Thursday.

Valdez was fired and is now appealing his firing — a process that could take more than a year.

“All the cases that were in question before have been resolved in one way or another appropriately and there’s one case that still remains under investigation,” McManus said

At least four cases are beyond the statute of limitations and can no longer be prosecuted.

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules