Bexar County and San Antonio officials recently unveiled what they called a public safety action plan, an initiative designed to reduce violent crime by repeat offenders in response to a string of incidents between law enforcement and repeat offenders’ last fall.

The background

According to a Jan. 5 news release, the action plan identifies gaps in the local criminal justice system and implements immediate actions that county and city may collaborate on to decrease the number of repeat violent offenders on the streets. Actions include:
  • Apprehending violent criminals through cooperation between San Antonio Police Department’s Covert Unit and Bexar County Sheriff’s Office’s STOP Program
  • Increasing monitoring of violent offenders by sharing information following release of high-profile individuals to supervision
  • Preventing the release of felony offenders by improving information-sharing between the arresting officer, the district attorney’s office and the county magistrate

Digging deeper

The action plan also identifies short- and long-term actions that county agencies will spearhead in order to help cut the number of repeat violent offenders on the streets, the release stated:
  • Deny bail to certain violent offenders. Judge Ron Rangel of the 379th Criminal District Court will oversee the development of strategy to identify arrestees immediately following an arrest, and coordinate with the police department, sheriff’s office, and the district attorney’s office for consideration of denial of bail
  • Enhance interagency collaboration on high profile cases
  • Focus on indicting felony jail cases
  • Reassigning prosecutors from the court system’s trial division to review files for indictment to prevent the release of potentially dangerous arrestees
  • Enhance arresting officers’ information-sharing with the district attorney and magistrate through enhanced police reports, better communication on high-profile arrests, and police presence at magistration in exceptional circumstances as determined by the police department and the district attorney’s office
  • Improve case management and evidence intake systems

What they’re saying

City and county leaders said these action steps are the result of a review by Rangel and talks between city and county law enforcement agencies following a string of shootings of San Antonio police officers in 2023.

“Working together, city and county officials have identified opportunities and strategies for improving criminal justice system outcomes and making our community safer for residents and law enforcement officers,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a statement. “We must remain focused and continue our collaborative efforts.”

Bexar County Judge Peter Sakai echoed Nirenberg’s sentiments.

“This is just the start of a joint effort by stakeholders to continue to make our community safer,” Sakai said in a statement.