It’s easy to see what the San Antonio Police Department got out of a new deal that places the Park Police under the supervision of SAPD Chief William McMa-nus. The agreement allows the SAPD to control the actions of park officers without relinquishing any collective-bargaining leverage to them. It also allows SAPD to skirt a little-known Texas law that would require all of its peace officers (including park police) to be paid on the same scale when the city’s population officially reaches 1.5 million, as it’s expected to do with the 2010 census.
It’s a little less clear what park officers got out of the agreement, aside from a non-binding promise to preserve Park Police jobs.
Park Police negotiator Tommy Calvert grew so frustrated with the negotiation process, and an apparent lack of cooperation from the San Antonio Park Police Officers Association’s leadership, that he resigned his position. Calvert said he let an experienced labor lawyer eyeball the deal and the lawyer could only laugh at how bad the terms were for SAPPOA.
Law-enforcement consolidation is a growing national trend, but it’s aroused complaints in cities such as Houston and Phoenix over diminished services. In San Antonio, park officers now have to worry whether McManus will pull them out of parks and onto the streets, or fire them for not having SAPD-level training.