“Wandering officers are a serious problem across the nation, but especially here in Bexar County. It will be hard now for our local law enforcement agencies to say they did not have the resources to know they were hiring SAPD officers previously fired for misconduct now,”
SAN ANTONIO, TX – ACT 4 SA has launched a public dashboard highlighting San Antonio Police Department (SAPD) suspensions from 2012-2022. Users can search this dashboard by officer name, incident type, disciplinary outcomes, and even read short summaries of every offense that suspended officers have committed in this timeline. This is the first public facing dashboard of its type for Bexar County and across Texas. This dashboard was a project funded by the Catalyst Grant offered by the Urban Institute and Microsoft Justice Reform Initiative.
“Wandering officers are a serious problem across the nation, but especially here in Bexar County. It will be hard now for our local law enforcement agencies in Bexar County to say they did not have the resources to know they were hiring SAPD officers previously fired for misconduct now,” said Ananda Tomas, Executive Director of ACT 4 SA. “Further, we intend to update the dashboard regularly with suspension data from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, Bexar County Constables, and other local police and sheriff departments across the state, such as Austin Police Department, in the coming months and years.”
Officers of note in this dashboard include Lee Rakun, who was fired and rehired multiple times by SAPD due to arbitration. A settlement agreement was reached in his last firing to retire with over $477,000 in backpay that made him the highest paid city employee in 2020. He later was involved in a shootout with deputies in Tennessee responding to a domestic violence incident, injuring an officer. Matthew Luckhurst can also be found in the dashboard, who gave a feces sandwich to a homeless man and was allowed to keep his job. He was later fired for an incident where he destroyed a women’s park police restroom as a prank. Luckhurst recently was hired by Floresville Police Department, right next door to the city of San Antonio. After community outrage he was released from employment there.
Besides serving as a “watchdog” for officers that violate laws and departmental policies, the dashboard can be used as a tool to hold officers accountable and be a deterrent for bad behavior. ACT 4 SA also hopes that this dashboard will help highlight disciplinary loopholes in current police contracts that allow for the rehiring of fired officers.
“Calls for databases to track officer misconduct and brutality have been made since before the uprisings of 2020, but have increased in recent years. While legislators are slow to act, we at ACT 4 SA have answered our community’s call. And we hope to inspire more organizations, cities, and states to do the same,” said Tomas. The dashboard can be found at copthedata.com.
ACT 4 SA empowers the San Antonio community through year-round base building, actions of solidarity, public education, policy, and advocacy. We are dedicated to pushing for accountable, compassionate, and transparent measures to create public safety that preserves and centers the health and well-being of our entire community.