San Antonio Police Department has higher approval rating than it did 4 years ago, survey finds

SAPD had the second-highest approval rate among other big Texas cities, according to the report.

San Antonio's perception of the service they receive from SAPD went up in a recent survey. - Facebook / San Antonio Police Department
Facebook / San Antonio Police Department
San Antonio's perception of the service they receive from SAPD went up in a recent survey.
Despite national criticism faced by the San Antonio Police Department over a pair of officer-involved shootings this year, San Antonians are more satisfied with the department than they were four years ago, a new survey shows.

According to the City of San Antonio 2022 Community Survey, 72% of Alamo City residents are satisfied with SAPD's service, up 4% from 2018, the last time the poll was conducted.

SAPD's heightened rating may come as a surprise based on recent headlines. AJ Hernandez, an unarmed 13-year-old was shot and killed by Officer Stephen Ramos in June, and Erik Cantu, also unarmed, remains in critical condition after being shot multiple times by since fired SAPD officer James Brennand.

The cases drew backlash and national media attention, and the families of both youths have retained high-profile attorneys since the shootings. It's worth noting the city's survey was conducted in June and July, prior to the Cantu shooting.

Despite the negative press, SAPD has reined in use of controversial tactics in recent years, enacting a ban on no-knock warrants and chokeholds.

The city's new contract with its powerful police union, approved in May, also limits the organization's ability to shield problem officers from being fired. However, accountability advocates said it should have included more civilian oversight.

San Antonio's performance in the survey — conducted by the Kansas-based ETC Institute — means its police department has the second-highest approval among big Texas cities. El Paso's police department had the highest rating at 74%. Meanwhile, Austin's has the lowest at 43%.

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