Managing Stress during the Holidays

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Comforting citizen

For many people, working during the holidays can mean office parties, a little more relaxed atmosphere, or even taking some time off. For law enforcement, however, it’s just the opposite. Working around the holidays for police officers can bring additional stress to an already stress-filled job.

While the holiday season means plenty of homes filled with new gifts and lots of socializing, eating, and drinking at family get-togethers and parties, it also means more chances of domestic disputes, public altercations, drunk driving, and theft. As a result, many police officers take measures to effectively manage the additional stress that comes during the holidays.

This is something we can all benefit from. After all, high levels of stress can have many negative health and behavioral consequences, including contributing to cardiovascular disease, headaches and fatigue, anxiety, irritability or anger, sadness or depression, eating disorders, social withdrawal, and drug or alcohol abuse. Fortunately, you can reduce stress and minimize its consequences with simple activities like exercising and eating healthier, reducing your workload and, if possible, taking time off work, seeing your doctor regularly, and having a good social support system made up of family and friends.

The effects of increased stress or chronic, long-term stress can go unrecognized, even by the person experiencing it. People tend to avoid acknowledging that they are feeling impacted by stress, either because they do not want to admit it to themselves or because they do not want to be seen as being unable to cope with a situation. So remember, even if you’re not in a high-pressure, high-stress job like a first responder, if you are feeling the impacts of stress, especially during this time of year, reach out to someone for help. And if you know someone who may be dealing with high levels of stress, talk to them and ask how you can help.

Have a happy holiday season and a Merry Christmas from the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association.

2017 Executive Board Elections

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Message from Mike Helle,

President, San Antonio Police Officers Association

On behalf of the entire Executive Board, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support in Wednesday’s deadline for nominations for the SAPOA board elections. While there is still one Executive Board position for you to vote for – Parliamentarian – we are all very grateful for your vote of confidence in our leadership as illustrated by the remaining positions being uncontested. I am proud to note that vice president Dean Fischer and I have now been elected 5 terms in a row, which is a first for a SAPOA president and vice president team. Together, we have all been through a lot over the last few years, but it has been a great privilege to serve you, your family, and our community.

As I begin my next term as your president, rest assured that my commitment to you and SAPOA remains steadfast. I will continue to fight for your rights, protect your benefits, and promote your interests. We will also work with City leaders and reach out to the community to ensure that you get the respect you deserve as you carry out your important mission to protect and serve the people of San Antonio.

Thank you.

Holiday Season Travel? Make Safety Part of Your Plan.

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Airplane in the sky

Fall is upon us, and following closely behind are millions of Americans hitting the road or flying the friendly skies. For San Antonians with intentions to travel for the upcoming holidays, here’s  a bit of food for thought: In 2016, AAA Texas predicted that nearly 4 million Texans would be traveling for the holidays. Whether by car, train, or plane, traveling requires planning.

To keep you, your family, and your property safe during this time, we have compiled a list of the seven most important safety preparations for travel:

1) Check before leaving: Be sure that before you set off on a long drive, you check the weather for unexpected rainfall or snow on your route. Also be sure your vehicle is in proper working order to avoid getting stranded.

2) Keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full for road trips, and maintain an emergency supply kit in your vehicle for when the unexpected occurs.

3) Be sure to fully charge your cell phone and keep a backup charger with you during travel.

4) If you are traveling alone, let someone (such as a roommate, neighbor, or friend) know where you are going. Give them information on the route you will travel, and the phone number of where you’ll be. In case you don’t make it to your destination at a specified time, people will know where to start looking.

5) Thieves can guess that no one is home when there is mail piling up at the door. Coordinate with your post office about receiving mail during your travel time.

6) Never leave doors and windows unlocked while you’re away traveling. This is especially important with garage doors. Many times, burglars enter through doors that someone forgot to secure. Pick up and put away spare keys hidden outside of the home.

7) Never make your plans for travel known on social media. Ask someone you trust to check on your home a few times.

Have a fun and safe holiday season!

STATEMENT FROM MIKE HELLE, OCTOBER 27, 2017

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         Contact: Michael Helle

October 27, 2017                                                                   210-822-4428 | pres@sapoa.org

 

STATEMENT FROM MICHAEL HELLE,

PRESIDENT OF THE SAN ANTONIO POLICE OFFICER’S ASSOCIATION (SAPOA)

 

 

The recently disclosed failure by a Special Victims Unit (SVU) detective to properly investigate sexual assault or family violence cases was misrepresented by Chief McManus and City Manager Sculley. The number of impacted cases was greatly exaggerated with the total number previously provided exceeding 100 but the actual total was closer to a handful. Although we do not condone the allegations, the situation reveals a larger failure by the City of San Antonio and exposes the root cause of the problem: the deficiencies caused by not having an automated Records Management System (RMS)/Case Management System (CMS). San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) personnel having to rely on manual, outdated systems makes mistakes and neglect more probable. It also highlights another problem facing the entire SAPD – a shortage of police officers.

 

The SVU, like the rest of SAPD is facing a workforce shortage. For example, here is the current staffing breakdown for the SVU:

 

  • 45 detectives work within the SVU Sex Crimes/Family Violence department.
  • 4 detectives work at sex offender registration.
  • 16 detectives work in the sex crimes unit and handle about 2300-2500 investigations per year.
  • 2 detectives are assigned to human trafficking division and manage 70-100 investigations per year.

 

These are hard-working professionals who often work overtime and unpaid hours to solve very difficult and personally stressful cases. They work tirelessly every day on often times heinous crimes, but they care deeply about their work and the victims they serve. They deserve nothing but our respect and support, and we owe it to them to provide the human resources and tools they need to effectively do their job.

 

I will do everything in my power to ensure that it does not happen again – by working to get Police Officers the support they need, both in technology and personnel, so that they can effectively fulfill their mission of service to the people of San Antonio.

2017 SAPOA Picnic is Another Success

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The 2017 SAPOA picnic took place on Friday, September 29th, at Comanche Park #2 from 11 AM – 11 PM. As usual, food, drinks, games, and music were provided for all San Antonio police officers and their families.

Current members of city council arrived to show their support for the men and women in blue. Our Blue Cares outreach team was onsite selling SAPD and SAPOA merchandise. Families lined up for barbeque, roasted corn, and ice cream that was served by SAPOA and Blue Cares volunteers and members of the SAPD Explorers. Children were able to rock climb, play video games, and participate in other activities throughout the park.

The family-friendly event occurs every year to show appreciation for the law enforcement officers of San Antonio and retirees. It was a big success and we can’t wait to do it again next year. The San Antonio Police Officers’ Association would like to thank all the sponsors of the 2017 SAPOA picnic.