SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — “Citizens of San Angelo, please pay attention,” began the first of many letters from anonymous SAPD officers speaking out regarding pay and treatment from the city.
This isn’t the first time officers with SAPD have spoken out after former SAPD officer and PIO, Tracey Piatt-Fox warned the community of a potential mass departure of officers from the city, causing a significant threat to public safety.
The first letter to the community asked residents to pay attention and said officers within SAPD had asked the city multiple times to increase their pay to match neighboring cities only to be denied every time.
“Our requests have fallen on deaf ears,” said the first letter, “This will ultimately result in the rumored mass exodus of officers in San Angelo.”
The officer said that safety did not appear to be a priority to city leadership stating that while they had a “direct line to the Chief of Police” the average citizen did not and with the potential heavy loss of officers the citizens would be at an even higher risk than they already are.
“At this point in time, even before the mass exodus, we are understaffed,” said the letter.”I have personally experienced times where I was the only available officer to take calls for service for extended amounts of time.”
The second letter to the community asked residents to hear them, about how much they loved San Angelo and the community but also how they were made to feel like a ‘tool’ by leadership.
“I have always said San Angelo is one of the best places to be a cop in the nation, and that’s because of the community,” said the officer, “However, it is apparent that many people high above us view us as tools. A means to an end, if you will.”
The officer said they were not looking to be paid as much as Midland PD, or Dallas but wished they were respected ‘enough to not be reissued expired equipment,’ to be supported and to have more frequent training.
“…most startling is that some are willing to take pay cuts to get away. A toxic relationship with city management and false promises have secured several officers’ departures as, at the end of the day, we are human and have families too.”
The third letter is from an officer native to San Angelo, who discussed repeatedly failed attempts over the years of the city to meet their contracted raise requests. According to the letter the City and PD would meet to discuss contractual agreements outside of the constructs of Civil Service where each could make requests of the other until an agreement was made.
“In all actuality, or at least from my experience, a contract will be struck, everything approved with the City Leadership getting what they requested,” said the letter,” when the larger portion of the raise is due to be paid the following year, somehow, every time, City Leadership states that they are unable to continue the raise, and the contract falls apart.”
The officer stated that the department never asked for more than what the average is of the “Benchmark” Police Departments that have been selected by the City Council.
“The Police Association has agreed to being paid lower than average because they are aware that asking to be Average is an insurmountable goal to get from City Leadership.” said the letter.
In the fourth and final letter so far, another officer native to San Angelo who decided to leave reflected on the mental impacts on themselves and their comrades from their time with the department.
“After 4 years with SAPD, I began to look around and also look in the mirror,” said the letter. “All of my colleagues were burnt out due to the overtime, which was only mandatory if you were trying to make ends meet and feed your family.”
The officers stated that they left for a major Texas police agency and while the job was difficult it offered a staggering increase in training, opportunities, and compensation.
“It pains me to know that my former colleagues and the community as a whole are not treated with the dignity they deserve. The people of San Angelo deserve San Angelo’s Finest…at their finest,” said the letter.