SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) – The San Marcos Police Department will soon work under a new contract. Tuesday night, the San Marcos City Council voted to pass the new agreement.
This comes after three months of negotiations after the former agreement was repealed by local activist group Mano Amiga.
The group was pushing for the following to be included in the new agreement:
- End the 180-day rule: Expand timeline for investigating officers for alleged wrongdoing
- End delays for officers under investigation before formal interviewers
- Civil Service Commission instead of a third-party arbitration
- Make documented misconduct more transparent
- End vacation forfeiture as a substitute to suspension
Mano Amiga calls the demands the 5 Hartman Reforms, which refers to former San Marcos Police Sgt. Ryan Hartman.
In June 2020, Hartman was involved in a crash that killed a woman while he was off-duty, KXAN previously reported. He was later fired from the department related to that case in January 2022.
The new contract
At the city council meeting on May 2, Police Chief Stan Standridge presented the new agreement and addressed the reforms.
Reforms in the new agreement include:
- Doubling the timeframe to investigate and discipline an officer for wrongdoing to 360 days
- Taking documentation of misconduct into account during the promotion process
- Limiting the role of the arbitrator
“Letters of reprimands will now be added to suspensions and fully considered during all promotions for corporal, sergeant and commander promotional scoring and ranking processes,” Chief Standridge said.
Standridge said it would be the first time in the history of the city that a letter of reprimand would count in the promotion process.
Reforms not included:
- No change regarding 48-hour time frame an officer has to review evidence and prepare a statement while under investigation
- No change to officers able to forfeit vacation time as a substitute to suspension
“This agreement is offering crumbs, and we are going to demand more,” said Mano Amiga Communication Director Sam Benavides.
During public comment at Tuesday’s council meeting, some people did express their support of the updated agreement.
“We need to support our police officers and ensure that San Marcos is a safe place to live as well as a safe place to attend college,” one woman said.
Still, Benavides said it fell short of the wanted reforms.
Benavides said Mano Amiga is prepared to take action as a response.
“Advocates are gearing up to remove San Marcos police of their civil service status via ballot initiative,” Benavides said. “Mano Amiga Safety will collect signatures from 10% of registered voters to opt San Marcos out of Chapter 143.”
The new agreement takes into effect on June 8 and would last until September 2026.