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San Antonio inviting community to participate in police services review process

A scientific survey to better understand residents’ expectations with police was completed. Here's how some San Antonians voted.
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SAN ANTONIO — The City of San Antonio sent out a press release stating they are seeking input on the community’s expectations of the role of police in the community.

They are also wanting response alternatives for responding to potential calls for service. 

This comes after City Manager Erik Walsh laid out a multi-faceted review process of the San Antonio Police Department in 2020 as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 Adopted Budget. This review process centers around things like community interactions with police.

“Through this process we will better understand what our residents expect when interacting with police, how certain calls for service should be addressed and mitigate hazards for officers responding to certain calls for service,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. 

The City contracted national research firm ETC Institute to conduct a scientific survey of the community to better understand residents’ expectations with police. The Institute mailed 5,650 survey packets to a random sample of households in the City of San Antonio. 

Each survey packet reportedly contained a cover letter, signed by the City Manager, and a copy of the survey in both English and Spanish. 

The complete survey findings and an interactive dashboard can be found here.

Survey findings, according to the press release:

  • 71.6% of the residents surveyed were very satisfied or satisfied with the work of SAPD; 8.2% were dissatisfied. 
  • Among the largest cities in Texas, San Antonio tied with Fort Worth for having the highest percentage of residents who were satisfied with their city's police department. 
  • 79.3% of San Antonio residents feel very safe or safe in their neighborhoods during the day
  • Among the largest cities in Texas, San Antonio had the highest percentage of residents who reported feeling very safe or safe during the day.
  • Fewer than half of the residents in Districts 3 and 4 reported feeling very safe or safe in their neighborhood at night.
  • 56.5% of the residents surveyed thought the visibility of police in neighborhoods should be increased. 
  • More than 50% of those surveyed thought SAPD should have a "shared" or "back-up" role for 13 of the 16 types of 911 calls that were assessed on the survey.
  • The 911 calls for which residents were least likely to think SAPD should have "primary" responsibility were:

o   animal-related issues

o   mental health/substance abuse issues not involving a weapon

o   enforcement of public health orders

o   graffiti

o   parking violations 

o   fireworks

The City also says they will host virtual district specific input meetings throughout April and May in collaboration with each of the City’s ten council districts to gather more feedback on the community’s expectations.

Credit: The City of San Antonio

More information about services review process can be found here.

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