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San Antonio police chief bans ‘no knock’ warrants, lateral vascular neck restraints

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, City Council "B" Session June 10, 2020/Screenshot-COSA Video.

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) –  San Antonio Police Chief William McManus has issued new orders updating San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) policies relating to how SAPD responds to mental health calls and prohibiting the use of “no knock” warrants.

“The decision to revise these policies was made to better protect our officers and the public,” said Police Chief William McManus. “The newly established Escalated Mental Health Crisis Protocol’s objective provides officers with a way to help an individual who is need of mental health assistance. This new protocol aims to de-escalate situations and equip officers with the tools needed in the field to protect lives.”

San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh said he supports the policy revision announced Friday by McManus.

“These encounters can unnecessarily put officers and the public in harm’s way,” said City Manager Erik Walsh. “Over the course of the next few months, we’ll continue to work with the community and evaluate SAPD’s programs, policies and call response to align with best practices.”

Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan had been pushing for a total ban on no-knock warrants.

“I’d like to thank Chief McManus, City staff and my council colleagues for working to keep our community safer,” said Sullivan.  “By discontinuing “no knock” warrants we are saving lives of both the public and our officers.”

The chief also announced a total ban on lateral vascular neck restraints.

“The use of lateral vascular neck restraint is prohibited and there are no exceptions to that,” McManus told the city council’s Public Safety Committee Friday afternoon. “We pulled the exception off  and just left it barebones to the use of lateral vascular neck restraints as prohibited.”

Updates to the policies were shared at Friday’s meeting of the City Council Public Safety Committee Meeting, which is chaired by District 6 Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda. Councilmembers Sullivan, Ana Sandoval, Clayton Perry and Rebecca Viagran also are members of the committee.

“Today we made tangible steps towards making our city a safer place for the public, police officers, and our community as a whole,” said Havrda. “I remain committed to fostering meaningful dialogue, thoughtful questioning and a genuine desire to foster progress rather than division. Today is a win for our city,” said District 6 Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda.

The updated procedures are detailed below:

Procedures 503, entitled Obtaining and Executing Arrest Warrants and Procedures 504, entitled Execution of Search Warrants have been revised as follows:

  • Prohibits officers from applying for or participating in the service of “no knock” search warrant entries
  • Prohibits officers from applying for or participating in the service of “no knock” arrest warrants.
  • Prohibits entry into premises when serving high-risk warrants and requires the use of alternative strategies to include setting up a perimeter and encouraging the individual being sought to surrender.

The Escalated Mental Health Crisis Call Protocol will be used for mental health crisis calls involving violent acts or the presence of weapons. The protocol includes the following provisions:

  • The Communications Unit will try to determine if a service call is a mental health crisis involving weapons or violence. If an Escalated Mental Health Crisis Call exists, the dispatcher will dispatch a supervisor to the scene.
  • The responding officer will coordinate with the assigned supervisor and will try to contact the complainant to gather as much information as possible prior to the supervisor’s arrival. If an Escalated Mental Health Crisis Call exists, then the SAPD Mental Health Unit Supervisor will dispatch the SAPD Mental Health team to respond to the location.
  • Responding officers will not approach the person in crisis, unless the person initiates contact or there is a life-threatening situation. Officers are instructed to evaluate the situation and to be prepared to take appropriate measures to protect themselves and others. Officers are also instructed to conduct interviews of relatives, friends, neighbors or others that can provide useful information.

For more information about the San Antonio Police Department’s policies and procedures visit SanAntonio.gov/SAPD.


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