SAPD reduces turnaround time for filming videos to 30 days

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Police Department has cut its timeline for releasing videos of police shootings in half – from 60 days to 30.

However, it is still longer than some other major Texas police departments, or even the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.

The change to the ‘disclosure of critical incident information’ policy, which also includes the use of force by other officers resulting in serious injury or death, was quietly instituted on Monday and is reflected in the general manual. of the SAPD published online.

Department policy still allows Chief William McManus to delay the release of video or audio recordings, although he is supposed to explain his reasoning for doing so within the same time frame.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the timeline change. A SAPD spokeswoman said no one was available for interviews on Friday after KSAT made several email requests.

However, videos of several recent incidents have been released well within the previous 60-day period.

Video of the March 14 shooting of Kevin Johnson was released 18 days later on April 1. Members of the community, including Johnson’s family, had called for her release within days of her death.

SAPD then released videos of the May 27 shooting of Japeth Perea and the May 28 shooting of Roger Flores on June 28 on June 15, 18, and 19, respectively.

And while state law prohibits police from releasing video of the shooting involving minors, the family of 13-year-old Andre “AJ” Hernandez was able to privately view video of the June 3 shooting in the 11 days.

Yet other law enforcement agencies have policies to turn video faster than SAPD.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office had agreed to a stricter 10-day deadline in February at the insistence of county commissioners.

Research from Bexar County staff, shared in December, found that many other agencies had faster turnaround times than the SAPD’s 60-day policy.

While county staff reported at the time that Houston police had a 30-day deadline, they also found that the Austin Police Department had a 10-business-day policy and Dallas police had within 72 hours.

Bexar County research staff presented to commissioners in December 2021 during a campaign to institute a 10-day video release policy

Act 4 SA executive director Ananda Tomas, who helped urge the BCSO to enact its 10-day video release policy, said on Friday she thought the SAPD policy change was a good sign that the department listens to the public.

However, she thinks they can do more.

“I am optimistic that if we as a community keep pushing and the city council joins us, we can make this even shorter. Ten working days, in my opinion, is enough to get these images out of the body camera, because we’ve seen it happen time and time again,” Tomas said.

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