SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — The Charter Review for the Chief of Police position has been an ongoing discussion for several months and during the February 7, 2023, City Council meeting a change was made to the language used for the qualifications.

In the original language, the Chief of Police is required to have been a resident of the City of San Angelo for at least six months and a resident of Texas for at least one year prior to the filing deadline for their election.

Additional qualifications are listed as having been a sworn police officer for 10 years with a minimum of five years of demonstrated performance as a lieutenant or above in a similar-sized agency and a Master’s Peace Officer Certificate. A Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice or four years of military service are also acceptable.

Karen Hesse mentioned during the February 17 City Council Meeting that the pool of 60 qualified officers was dropped to just eight with the above qualifications. David Howard, Assistant Chief of the San Angelo Police Department confirmed this. A suggestion was made to change the language of Lieutenant to Sergeant.

Mayor Brenda Gunter said, “I think the whole idea with this city charter review on this issue was to raise the qualifications for any candidate who wanted to run for police Chief so I see it as, that would be accomplishing our goal and that was to raise what we expect out of the candidate pool.”

Tommy Hiebert said, “My preference would be to amend that lieutenant or above to sergeant,” citing the city has had previous police chiefs who were Sergeant.

There are currently 26 sergeants and 8 lieutenants in the San Angelo Police Department, according to Howard.

The motion to change the language from lieutenant to Sergeant passed 7-0

The term of office for the Chief of Police stayed the same. The individual who holds the position will serve for four years until their successor is elected and qualified unless sooner removed from office by death, resignation, or recall. If the individual ceases to be a resident of the city or is found to have violated state or federal law, they shall be deemed to have automatically resigned from office. The term for the election held May 4, 2024, will be a term of three years, with all following elections to be for a term of four years.

The Chief of Police shall manage and operate the department under local, state, and federal laws in addition to city policies.

This recommendation will be presented to voters in the May 6, 2023 election and the community will be able to vote yes – to leave the position as an elected position and add minimum qualifications or vote no – to leave the position as an elected position with no changes.