‘BROKEN BLUE’ SERIES MISLEADS PUBLIC, MALIGNS OFFICERS
KSAT Series rehashes old cases to mislead the public and impugn integrity of all Police Officers.
San Antonio, TX – The KSAT-TV “Defender” series, Broken Blue, features misleading, sensationalistic, and old reporting about the officer appeals process that derives from both State Law (Local Government Code Chapter 143) and a Binding Agreement between the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA) and the City of San Antonio. SAPOA believes the series is misleading for several reasons:
First, the series includes several old cases that have been reported on extensively and resolved years ago. The fact that KSAT-TV had to go back several years to find material for this series is a testament to the fact that complaints about police misconduct are lower today than they have ever been.
Second, over the past ten years, there have been forty cases of “indefinite suspension” that have gone through the disciplinary and appeals process. These cases represent approximately four per year. There are 2,300 police officers on the force meaning that the cases discussed in the Broken Blue series represent .0017% of all police officers.
Third, the series compares the SAPOA’s contract with Police Union contracts in several other cities, implying the contract we maintain with the City of San Antonio has “problematic” protections. Unfortunately, none of the cities noted are in Texas, and since Texas and San Antonio have their own set of laws, the series is comparing apples to oranges.
Finally, the series implies that SAPOA overtly influences the process in favor of retaining “bad” officers. This is very misleading on the part of KSAT-TV. First, nothing in SAPOA’s contract with the City of San Antonio supports wrong doing by any officer. In addition, for serious allegations, SAPD is completely within their authority to take any action against an offending officer. Nothing in our contract or state law prohibits them from doing so.
“This series attacks SAPOA and our members by saying we’re too powerful and that we make it difficult to remove ‘problem’ officers,” said Michel Helle, President of the San Antonio Police Officers Association. “While I agree we’re a strong organization, when it comes to the discipline and appeals process, our role is simple and transparent: ensure that the rights of officers are observed and protected.”