Saturday night, we did what many said could not be done. With your help, we beat back an anti-police proposition at the ballot box. Recent election history on this topic has shown that voters have overwhelmingly approved any “police reform” measure regardless of police association opposition. Across the country, this type of proposition has never failed, always passing by a minimum of 18%. In fact, last fall, we were told by experts that if a police reform initiative got on the ballot, that there was no evidence that any police association in the country had figured out how to defeat it. Thanks to you and the great people of San Antonio, your association did. SAPOA achieved a historic feat in being the first police association in the country to stop an anti-police ballot measure.
I want to first acknowledge your role. SAPOA members came out in force to vote and to volunteer to work the polls. I was out there and I saw your commitment, and I want to personally thank each and every one of you who came out to make a stand. This was the most important public safety election since collective bargaining was adopted in 1974 and the voters turned out in record numbers. They were very interested in Prop. B and what it would have meant for their safety and the quality of their police force. The Prop. B election was so important to the people of San Antonio, that it drew 1,318 more votes than the race for mayor. The wide gap in the mayor’s race shows that we were supported by a broad cross-section of voters, meaning that conservative, moderate, and liberal voters agreed with us that Prop. B was not good for San Antonio. This shows that our decision to stay focused on the ballot initiative and out of other races was the right one.
Of course it was a close race, but we always knew it would be — our internal polling showed that. We were also facing many political headwinds coming into this election: a well-funded, well-organized opposition, local media bias against police in general and on this topic in particular, big name local “celebrities” coming out against us (Beto O’Rourke, Julian and Joaquin Castro, and Gregg Popovich), and wall-to-wall news coverage during early voting of the Chauvin trial in Minneapolis and other officer-involved incidents around the country. Nevertheless, we prevailed, and while I am grateful for this victory, I know that our opponents are not done with us.
FIX SAPD has publicly declared their intentions to repeal local government code chapter 143 and almost all media outlets are supporting them. As you saw after the election, every news story and article on our victory talked not about SAPOA, but about FIX SAPD and how they had put our association “on notice,” and that “police reform” through the ballot box was inevitable. We have always known that the media is biased against police, but now we know that we can overcome that bias.
We’re ready to deal with a new fight when and if it comes, but for now I just want to thank you, thank the voters of this city, and get back to the bargaining table to ensure that we get a good Collective Bargaining Agreement that ensures your rights and protects your benefits.
San Antonio Police Officer’s Association