Contact: Thea Setterbo, 210-207-7349
SAN ANTONIO (Oct. 26, 2017) — “I am appalled and outraged to learn that more than 130 cases assigned to the Special Victims Unit (SVU) of the San Antonio Police Department have not been properly investigated. I’m especially upset given the numerous policy changes that Chief McManus and I have implemented over the past decade to improve the investigation of these particularly heinous crimes.
It is absolutely imperative that victims who come forward to report sex crimes, domestic violence or human trafficking have the utmost confidence that their case will be investigated immediately and thoroughly and with the highest level of sensitivity and professionalism.
I have directed the City Attorney to do an independent review of the unit and all cases that have been assigned to it, and we will not rest until we are certain that we know the full extent of any problems and that they have been fully rectified.
While the Chief must – and will – follow the disciplinary process for the officers involved, I want to make very clear that police officers and their supervisors who neglect or interfere with the arrest and prosecution of sex offenders or those who commit family violence is unacceptable. It will not be tolerated. And, if the facts bear out, we will take swift action to correct it.
Sex crimes and family violence are something Chief McManus and I take very seriously. To put it in perspective, during our tenure over the past decade we have made a number of policy changes to the Special Victims Unit. For example:
- Officers who suspect domestic violence has occurred issue immediate warrants for the arrest of the alleged perpetrator;
- Victims who report sex crimes are given the option of using a pseudonym to protect their privacy throughout investigation and prosecution;
- Sex assaults cases are immediately assigned to an detective, and investigators are instructed to contact the victims within 24 hours;
- And finally, we provide a holistic approach to these cases. We work closely with the Rape Crisis Center, Child Safe, the Battered Women’s Shelter and other community partners to ensure that victims receive the medical, emotional, housing services, protection and financial support they need.
There is a lot more that I want to say about this, but federal law and provisions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the police union prevent me from doing so at this time. Bottom line, we are going to deal with this.”