SAN ANGELO – The newly formed San Angelo City Charter Review Committee whose sole function is to recommend direction to the City Council on the issue of an electing vs. appointing the Police Chief asked for more time during the regular council meeting Tuesday morning.
Committee Chairman and former long time municipal Judge Allen Gilbert told the city council that their research showed San Angelo is now the only city in Texas to still elect a Chief of Police.
The elected vs. appointed Police Chief issue is a hot button issue for voters in San Angelo. Voters have been asked on several occasions whether they prefer to elect a Chief of Police or allow the City Manager and City Council to appoint one.
Voters have been clear in the past that they want to elect the Chief of Police. The last election seven years ago saw 73% of voters choose to elect the Police Chief.
At issue is qualifications. Gilbert told the council Tuesday morning that many people are surprised to learn that the only qualifications to be elected Police Chief in San Angelo is that a candidate must be 18 years old and have lived in San Angelo for the last two consecutive years. Candidates are not required to be certified peace officers in Texas and are not required to become certified. According to city staff Tuesday, the San Angelo Police Chief is only required to become a certified Chief Administrator within the first year of being elected and does not have to become a certified peace officer as it stands now.
At the end of the discussion, the City Council agreed to give the Charter Review Committee time to educate the public using social media, local media, and the city's tv channel and YouTube as well as hold a town hall meeting. The Charter Review Committee will then return to the City Council with updated information in time to put the issue on the ballot in May 2023.
Gilbert told the Council the committee would not make a recommendation to appoint or elect a Police Chief; rather they would only provide information to the council.