• ice director fox interview

    Acting ICE director speaks on human smuggling incident handled by San Antonio police

    by Yami Virgin, Fox San Antonio Wednesday, February 14th 2018

    The acronym ICE, which stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, brings fear to some and a sense of protection for others in this country.

    It was the summer of 2003 when Thomas Homan had been reassigned to Washington D.C. after four years in San Antonio. Then, a trailer with 70 people inside was found on a desolate patch of highway near Victoria. Nineteen of those inside had died, including a 5-year-old boy. Homan’s superiors at Homeland Security sent him back to Texas as the lead investigator.

    “I still get emotional when I talk about it. I had a 5-year-old little boy during that time. I walked amongst those bodies and it’s a terrible thing to see. That’s when people question me why I’m so passionate and emotional about this issue. About sanctuary cities and border crime and so forth. I’ve seen what I’ve seen,” Homan said.

    Now he’s the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and says he uses that memory to discuss the price of human smuggling – if not investigated and prosecuted. That’s why he was concerned when he heard about 12 undocumented immigrants, including a minor, found in a trailer in San Antonio on December 23, 2017.

    CLICK HERE to read the full story.

  • McManus in glasses

    Police Chief Violations: Update #4

    The last 5 of 20 SAPD General Manual policies violated by Police Chief William McManus on Dec. 23, 2017, when he released twelve undocumented immigrants into the City of San Antonio without properly and thoroughly identifying them. (Story here). The Chief and City Manager Sheryl Sculley say his actions were proper. ICE disagrees:

    “I would say it’s unfortunate. Homeland Security agents are experts in human trafficking and alien smuggling. We certainly would have taken that case and investigated it to the furthest levels to identify everybody who is involved in that conspiracy.” – Thomas Homan, Acting Director of ICE, Feb. 14, 2018

    Violations 16 – 20:

    401.03 INCIDENT REPORTS: C. SUPPLEMENTAL REPORTS: (1.) The Supplemental Report is completed within AFR by all officers who respond to a call…(2.) All officers assigned to a call shall provide detailed comments…

    410 BODY WORN CAMERAS: (.03 POLICY): A. It is the policy of the San Antonio Police Department to present for prosecution audio/video evidence of traffic and other law violations as outlined in Section .06 of this procedure. To this end, Officers with properly functioning BWC equipment shall record all events surrounding the contact, stop, detention, interview, and arrest of suspected violators and maintain this recorded evidence for consideration in criminal prosecution. (.06 RECORDING): D. Officers shall begin recording the following events and continue recording until the event is concluded…

    618 RACIAL/BIAS PROFILING/IMMIGRATION POLICY: (.11 IMMIGRATION POLICY): B. Officers will verify identification and perform a background check on people to whom they are issuing a citation, legally detaining, arresting, or processing for magistration.

    619 CONSULATE NOTIFICATION AND DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY: (.02 CONSULATE NOTIFICATION OF ARRESTED OR DETAINED FOREIGN NATIONALS): A. The United States is obligated under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, international treaties, and customary international law, to notify consular officials when foreign nationals are arrested or otherwise detained in the United States. The U.S. Department of State does not consider it necessary to follow consular notification procedures when a foreign national is detained only momentarily, e.g., during a traffic stop. B. After an officer arrests/detains a foreign national, the officer will determine the foreign national’s country of origin. Normally, this information is found on the passport or other travel documentation that the foreign national is carrying. C. Officers will inform the foreign national of his/her right to request that their consulate be notified under the following circumstances: (a.) After the foreign national is arrested; and (b.) Before a detention that may last more than four hours.

    713 HUMAN TRAFFICKING: (.09 Supervisory Officer’s Responsibilities in a Suspected Human Trafficking Case) A. Ensure that the applicable procedures are followed

    Chief McManus violated at least 20 SAPD policies on December 23, 2017. His actions are being investigated by the Texas Attorney General, and SAPOA believes that the City Manager – who’s the only local official who can investigate him – should also look into the matter instead of turning a blind eye to his blatant disregard of department policies and state and federal laws.

  • Police Chief McManus

    Police Chief Violations – Update #3

    Four more SAPD General Manual policies violated by Police Chief William McManus on Dec. 23, 2017 when he released twelve undocumented immigrants into the City of San Antonio without properly and thoroughly identifying them. (Story here). City Manager Sheryl Sculley – the only official with authority to investigate – has said his actions were proper, but she’s wrong. Here’s the proof. Violations 12 – 15:

    3.29 SOLICITING SPECIAL PRIVILEGES: (A). FOR PERSONAL GAIN: Members shall not use their official position to solicit special privileges for themselves or others.

    4.09 DUTY TO REPORT CRIMESMembers receiving or possessing facts or information relative to a criminal offense shall not conceal, ignore, distort, or retain such facts or information, and will report such facts. Members will have a continuing duty to report facts and information relative to criminal offenses until the criminal offense has been reported through proper channels.

    4.12 OFFICIAL REPORTS: (A). COMPLETION OF REPORTS: Members shall complete reports promptly, accurately, and in conformance with the reporting procedures of the department. (B). SUBMISSION OF REPORTS: Members shall complete and submit all reports prior to going off-duty.

    4.17 COOPERATION WITH OTHER AGENCIESMembers shall cooperate with all agencies engaged in the administration of criminal justice and other public departments, giving to each all aid and information they might be entitled to receive.


  • McManus Scandal

    Police Chief Violations – Update #2

    Seven more SAPD General Manual policies violated by Police Chief William McManus on Dec. 23, 2017 when he released twelve undocumented immigrants into the City of San Antonio without properly and thoroughly identifying them. (Story here). City Manager Sheryl Sculley – the only city official with authority to investigate the chief – has said his actions were proper, but she’s wrong. Here’s the proof. Violations 5 – 11:

    3.01 ABIDE BY LAWS AND DEPARTMENTAL ORDERS: A. LAWS, ORDERS, RULES, REGULATIONS, AND PROCEDURES: Members shall abide by the laws of the United States and the State of Texas, ordinances of the City of San Antonio, and the departmental orders, rules, regulations, and procedures of the San Antonio Police Department.

    3.02 TRUTHFULNESS OF MEMBERS: Members shall speak the truth at all times. Reports and written communications from any member shall also reflect the truth.

    3.03 OBEY LAWFUL ORDERS: C. UNLAWFUL ORDERS PROHIBITED: No commanding or supervisory officer shall knowingly or willfully issue any order, which is a violation of any law, ordinance, or departmental rule.

    3.04 RESPONSIBILITY TO SERVE THE PUBLIC: Members shall serve the public through direction, counseling, assistance, and protection of life and property. Members shall also respect the rights of individuals and perform their services with honesty, sincerity, courage, and sound judgment.

    G. MAINTENANCE OF COMPETENCY: Members shall maintain sufficient competency to properly perform their duties and assume the responsibilities of their positions.

    3.07 CRITICISM OF THE DEPARTMENT: D. AFFECTS PUBLIC CONFIDENCE: Members shall not use speech, writings, or other forms of expression that tend to adversely affect the public’s confidence in the integrity of the Department and/or its officers and employees.

    F. DISREGARDS THE TRUTH: Members shall not use speech, writings, or other forms of expression that are made with negligent disregard for the truth.

    3.08 UNAUTHORIZED RELEASE OF INFORMATION: E. RELATIONSHIP WITH ATTORNEY, BONDSMAN, OR AGENT: It is forbidden to give information about any prisoner in confinement to any attorney, bondsman, the agent of either, or any other person not authorized to receive it.

    F. RECOMMENDATION OF ATTORNEY OR AGENT: No member shall recommend to any person the name or names of any attorney, counselor, bondsman, or other person.

    3.28 RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW LAWS AND PROCEDURES: A. LAWS AND ORDINANCES: Members shall learn and thoroughly understand the laws and ordinances, which they are charged with enforcing.

    B. WRITTEN DIRECTIVES: Members shall familiarize themselves with all written directives which are published by the department and which affect their assignment.

    C. PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS: Violation of any lawfully adopted departmental rule or regulation by any department employee who is subject to the same, shall be sufficient cause for suspension or termination in accordance with applicable law and Fire and Police Civil Service Commission procedure, whether the rule or regulation is part of the originally promulgated rules and regulations, or is contained in a subsequent general or special order, directive, or other amendment to the rules.

    D. LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: Lack of knowledge of such rules or regulations shall never be a defense to any disciplinary action, if said rules or regulations have been disseminated or posted as set forth in the regulations and if the employee has had a reasonable opportunity to become familiar with the rules and regulations.


  • McManus Immigration Scandal

    Police Chief Violations – Update #1

    Over the next several days, SAPOA will be listing every policy in the SAPD General Manual violated by Police Chief William McManus on December 23, 2017 when he released twelve undocumented immigrants into the City of San Antonio without properly and thoroughly identifying them. (Story here). City Manager Sheryl Sculley – the only city official with authority to investigate the chief – has said his actions were proper, but she’s wrong, and here’s the proof:

    Violations 1 – 4: To begin with, here’s what the General Manual says about who the rules and regulations apply to:

    1.01 PURPOSE: “These rules are designed to promote efficiency, discipline, and good public relations by setting forth policies governing the conduct and demeanor of every member of the police department, both on- and off-duty.”

    1.03 SCOPE: “These rules and regulations govern the conduct, responsibilities, duties, assignments of, and the use of equipment by all members of the department.”

    1.04 ACKNOWLEDGMENT: “The Rules and Regulations of the San Antonio Police Department, which are incorporated in the General Manual, apply to all employees, both sworn and non-sworn, and have the effect of an order.

    2.01 COMMAND/SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES: “B. ENFORCE RULES: Supervisory officers shall be uniform and impartial in the enforcement of these rules and procedures; the insurance of conformity on the part of command officers to all orders, directives, and other instructions issued to the members of the department.

    To be continued…

  • Chief McManus Smuggling Scandal

    Chief McManus Still Under Investigation

    The actions of Police Chief William McManus on December 23, 2017 are still under investigation by the Texas Attorney General. On that night, in possible violation of established procedures and State and Federal law pertaining to suspected human smuggling and trafficking cases, the Chief released twelve undocumented immigrants into the City of San Antonio without properly and thoroughly identifying them.

    For several years now, San Antonio Police Officers have been well trained on how to handle and process human smuggling and trafficking cases. SAPD also works with Homeland Security through the Federal Joint Task Force to specifically target and arrest individuals involved in these crimes. On December 23rd, when twelve people were stopped and detained under suspicion of smuggling and being in the country illegally, the Officers on scene began following the law and established procedures. Then, Chief McManus arrived.

    When Chief McManus arrived unexpectedly on scene, in civilian clothing and with a lawyer from a non-profit organization, Officers briefed the Chief on the situation and their actions, which included notifying Homeland Security. The Chief immediately changed their orders: they were not to identify the individuals or check their immigration status (as Texas law allows local law enforcement to do) and they were not to involve Homeland Security (as per Joint Task Force procedures).

    When an agent from Homeland Security did arrive, the Chief informed him that his assistance was not needed. After transporting the individuals to police headquarters, the Chief allowed the non-profit attorney complete access to them before ever allowing even one of the Special Victims Unit (SVU) detectives to speak to them. The Chief then stated that none of the detainees were to be processed through SAPD databases and ordered them released. At this point, SVU Supervisors were so shocked they requested the order be put in writing.

    The twelve detainees were then escorted out of the back of police headquarters and released into the city. Afterwards, the Chief told the media that the case was based on a “fluid situation,” and that “it’s not necessarily how every case will be handled going forward.” SAPOA believes that the Chief’s actions were political, not in line with established State and Federal laws and procedures, and may have risked the safety of the community.

    We have called upon Mayor Ron Nirenberg, City Manager Sheryl Sculley, and the City Council to investigate or at least have the Chief answer for his actions that night. Up to now, they have done nothing. Fortunately, the Texas Attorney General launched an investigation in January and has ordered the entire City government to preserve all evidence and present any and all documents, videos, and cellular phone data, regarding the December 23rd incident.

    SAPOA will soon be listing all the Department violations that the city manager has stated publicly were not violated. Research for yourself HERE and see how many you can find and share with the public. Here’s a hint: start with Section 200 – Rules and Regulations, 1.01 PURPOSE: The Rules and Regulations officially adopted and set forth in this manual are for the guidance, regulation, and control of the conduct of all members of the Police Department of the City of San Antonio, Texas. These rules are designed to promote efficiency, discipline, and good public relations by setting forth policies governing the conduct and demeanor of every member of the police department, both on- and off-duty.

    It’s imperative, for the safety of our Officers and the general public, that everyone, no matter what their rank or political leanings, follow the law.

    Stay tuned.

  • Chief McManus



    Getting answers about Police Chief’s actions are vital legal and public safety concerns.


    San Antonio, TX – Michael Helle, the president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA) thanked both Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton for their quick and decisive calls for investigation of Police Chief William McManus’ decision on Dec. 23, 2017 to release twelve (12) undocumented immigrants in a case of human trafficking or human smuggling without proper investigation.

    “Police Chief McManus may very well have put our City at risk by releasing, without properly and thoroughly identifying these twelve unknown, undocumented people into the community. I’m grateful that the Lt. Governor and the Attorney General have stepped in to investigate this case,” said Michael Helle.

    On January 10, 2018, Lt. Governor Patrick asked Attorney General Paxton to “ensure San Antonio Police Department is in compliance with the law,” noting the Chief’s actions could be in direct violation of Senate Bill 4 and thereby constitute a threat to the safety of citizens and law enforcement. Senate Bill 4 gives local law enforcement the right to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest and penalizes local government officials who do not cooperate with federal immigration officials.

    On the same day, Attorney General Paxton sent a letter to Mayor Nirenberg, Police Chief McManus, City Manager Sculley, and the entire City Council in which he indicated that he would be investigating complaints his office has received regarding possible violations of Senate Bill 4. In the letter, the Attorney General directs City officials to “affirmatively preserve all relevant materials.” The Attorney general’s letter warned City officials of an “imminent, statutorily-mandated investigation.”

    “We look forward to the Attorney General’s investigation and offer the support of our organization,” said Helle. “Nothing is more important in ensuring the safety of police officers and the community than seeing that our local officials observe and follow the law and all law enforcement procedures and protocols.”


    [ABs_button size=”large” style=”normal” url=”http://sapoa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Untitled-attachment-00442.pdf” target=”_self”]View Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s Letter[/ABs_button]

    [ABs_button size=”large” style=”normal” url=”http://sapoa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Paxton-Letter.pdf” target=”_self”]View Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton’s Letter[/ABs_button]

  • Statement From Mike Helle, January 19, 2018


    City Manager has failed police officers and the people of San Antonio.


    San Antonio, TX – Michael Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association (SAPOA) said today that the police shortage facing San Antonio was caused by and is being made worse by the negligence and mismanagement of City Manager Sheryl Sculley.

    “Sheryl Sculley has failed police officers and the people of San Antonio by helping create a police shortage that threatens public safety,” said Michael Helle. “Her only answer is to authorize 40 new positions, but what good does it do to add more authorized strength if we can’t hire? The City Manager has conceded there’s a shortage saying, ‘I know we need more [officers],[1]’ but she’s done nothing to help. Instead she’s relied on bureaucratic double speak and accounting gimmicks to give the impression that progress is being made.”


    Here are the facts:


    • The number of officers is not keeping pace with the City’s growth.[2]
    • There are currently 236 police officer vacancies (authorized strength: 2,443; actual officers [of all ranks] on entire SAPD: 2,207).
    • Between 2014 and 2016, the City Manager cancelled SAPD academy cadet classes while knowing well in advance that an unusually large wave of retirements were going to hit SAPD, which resulted in a net loss of more than 100 officers.
    • The officer-resident ratio has decreased in recent years: there are now approximately just over 15 officers for every 10,000 residents, the 6th worst year for the department in 15 years.*
    • It could take up to 6 years or more to reach just the current number of allocated positions.


    The City Manager’s failure to address the root causes of the shortage has significant implications, especially with regard to response times.

    “Instead of putting more resources into strategies to fill the gap, like improving our recruitment efforts and adding cadet academy classes, she’s cancelled cadet classes and wasted valuable tax dollars on things like a frivolous lawsuit against First Responders,” said Helle. “It’s amazing to think that in light of this crisis, City Council is thinking about giving her a raise and a bonus.”


    City Manager Offers No Viable Solutions

    The City Manager authorized 40 new positions, but this does nothing to fill the gap if SAPD cannot find quality recruits who can get through the academy. The City Manager also claims that community policing is one big way to fill the void, even going so far as saying, ‘…when the officers are called, it’s too late. We should be doing things before a crime is committed.’ [3] While it is important that citizens be vigilant, they should not be expected to fight crime. That is the job of law enforcement, and the City Manager should not impose that responsibility on citizens simply because she has failed to give SAPD the officers it needs to keep San Antonio safe.

    The City manager and City Council need to start by being honest with the citizens of San Antonio and then make basic needs such as infrastructure and public safety their number one priority in all future budgeting, just as the majority of the citizens have been demanding.


    Focus On Recruitment

    To get out of this hole, the City needs to put more resources towards recruitment efforts and incentive packages. Retirements happen every year and many cadets are not able to pass the stringent police academy requirements. The academy currently has a 30% attrition rate for cadets. This means that “despite the new positions, there might not be any more boots on the ground.”[4]

    This is why recruitment of quality candidates is essential. It’s important that new recruits have clean records, so we should invest in serious mentoring and recruitment as early as high school. We also need to ensure that SAPD is viewed favorably as a career path in terms of pay, benefits, incentives, and job satisfaction. It is important that the City invest more resources into these efforts because that is the most important way that we will find the new recruits that can graduate from the police academy and begin their public safety career.

    * To put this in better perspective, as per 2015 UCR (Government Data) at the same time that SAPD sits at 15 officers per 10,000 residents (“Per Capita”) the average per capita of the top 33 departments servicing populations of 500,000 or more was 23.7. What this means is that just for SAPD to be average size, the SAPD should be staffed at over 3,400 filled positions. While there is no concrete rule nationally dictating “per-capita” levels, two of the main factors that are commonly considered are, “do you have a growing population?” San Antonio is growing at over 20,000 residents per year, and “do you have a noticeable ongoing growth rate in CRIME,” which we all know has been the case in San Antonio for a few years now. The “allocated” positions that are recommended City Council by Sheryl Sculley from year to year are just politically expedient numbers that she pulls out of thin air. What this shows is over a DECADE of Sheryl Sculley being negligent as a City Manager in properly growing the SAPD.

    [ABs_button size=”large” style=”normal” url=”http://sapoa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SAPOA-PR-Officer-Shortage_Recruitment-with-Lemon.pdf” target=”_self”]View PDF[/ABs_button]

    # # #

    [1] Express-News, “Police staffing shortage a self-created problem,” 11/25/17

    [2] Express-News, “SAPD staffing improves, but barely keeps pace with city,” 08/17/17

    [3] Express-News, “SAPD staffing improves, but barely keeps pace with city,” 08/17/17

    [4] Spectrum News, “Shortage of Police Officers Plagues San Antonio,” 08/15/17


  • SAPOA Letter To Mayor Ron Nirenberg & City Council

    [ABs_button size=”large” style=”normal” url=”http://sapoa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/ALHuman-SmugglingMH12232017.pdf” target=”_self”]View Full PDF[/ABs_button]

    [ABs_button size=”large” style=”normal” url=”http://sapoa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/ALHuman-SmugglingMH12232017.pdf” target=”_self”]View Full PDF[/ABs_button]


  • Statement From Mike Helle, January 5, 2018

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               Contact: Mike Helle

    January 5, 2018                                                                      Email: pres@sapoa.org


    Statement From Mike Helle,

    President, San Antonio Police Officers’ Association


    San Antonio, TX – Mike Helle made the following statement regarding Police Chief William McManus’ decision to release twelve (12) undocumented immigrants who were found in the back of a semi truck on December 23, 2017:

    “Police Officers deal with tough cases every day, and human smuggling is among the most difficult. Their jobs are made even more challenging when the Police Chief fails to enact or enforce any standard procedure for dealing with situations like the one that occurred on December 23rd, which unfortunately, are not rare and very likely to occur again. Chief McManus’ decision to abandon years of cooperation between Federal and Municipal agencies in dealing with human smuggling cases, released the undocumented immigrants without checking their immigration status or even running a standard background and/or ID check is completely contrary to the proper way SAPD handles such situations, including an almost identical situation in July 2017.

    “This arbitrary decision by the Chief, which he himself admits is ‘…not necessarily how every case will be handled going forward,’ makes police officers jobs more difficult because they have no way of knowing how to handle or process cases like these.

    “I also have serious concerns what impact the Chief’s decisions might have for the safety of our community. The Chief may very well have put this community at risk and possibly even violated federal or State laws. His failure to identify and run a routine background check on these individuals, who were in police custody for several hours, makes it possible that he could have very well let someone, or several people, with a criminal record loose in San Antonio.

    “The job of the SAPOA is to protect the men and women of the SAPD just as they protect the people of San Antonio. It’s not the job of either organization to make law, but enforce it. This debate isn’t about immigration policy, but a debate about enforcement, and we deserve answers from the Chief.”

    “The Chief owes the community and the men and women of the San Antonio Police Department some answers about his conduct and actions including how will our federal grant money for law enforcement be affected?”

    “My concern is for the safety of the community and for the men and women of law enforcement first, and unfortunately on the eve of our City’s 300th anniversary, the Chief has thrust San Antonio into the national news in a negative light.”


    # # #

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