SAN ANGELO, Texas — During San Angelo’s City Council meeting on December 13, 2022, the Charter Review Committee presented their recommendations regarding the discussion of the position of police chief moving from an elected to an appointed position.
When the discussion first began, the committee presented three options – no changes, leave it as an elected position, leave it as an elected position and add minimum qualifications or change from elected to an appointed position.
The committee recommended that the chief’s position remain an elected one with additional minimum qualifications, but suggested moving the date of that election up one year — from May 2024 to May 2023. They included the proposed change in election dates in order for the chief’s election to happen at the same time as other city elections, lowering some costs associated with holding special elections in separate years.
To ensure San Angelo’s current Chief of Police, Frank Carter, may serve his full term, the committee suggested delaying the date that voter-approved amendments go into effect until May 2024.
In order to align with Single-Member Districts, the term for the election held May 4, 2024, will be a term for three years with all following elections a term of four years.
During the presentation, spearheaded by former Municipal Judge Allen Gilbert, the committee recommended the council change the required qualifications, the term of office and the level of authority for the police chief.
“We don’t believe that recommending something to you that we don’t believe would pass is good common sense,” said Judge Gilbert, adding he believed the city should consider changing the position to an appointed position at an appropriate time however feels that because of public opinion the citizens do not currently want that.
The current qualifications include being a resident of the City of San Angelo for a minimum of two years and having been elected by city voters. The committee has proposed changing the qualifications to include:
- Being a resident of the City of San Angelo for a minimum of six months and a resident of Texas for a minimum of a year
- Ten years as a sworn officer with a minimum of five years in a supervisory capacity (Lieutenant or above) in a similar-sized agency
- Masters Peace Officer Certificate from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, or a bachelor in Criminal Justice, or four years of military service.
Candidate experience under these recommended qualifications would probably require a minimum age of 28. There are currently 63 officers with the San Angelo Police Department who meet these qualifications, according to Gilbert.
The present term of office for the Chief of Police is four years and unless sooner removed by death, resignation, or recall, the term should remain four years. However, if a police chief ceases to be a resident of the city, or they violate the law, they will automatically be resigned from their position.
Concerns brought up by the public include possible increased government in the police station and increased allowance of outsiders taking office.
No actions have been taken at this time. 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.
To watch the full City Council meeting, it can be accessed below: