Law keeps public in dark on police hiring practices
Guillermo Contreras and Todd Bensman
They found friendly legislators to push a bill that appeared to address only a mundane administrative matter about personnel record-keeping. It quickly passed in 1987 with little public notice.
But buried inside were provisions that ever since have kept taxpayers in the dark about some of the most important management practices of public institutions in Texas.
The law forever closed to the public whole sections of city personnel files.
Emblematic of the problem is the case of former Police Officer Joseph Anthony Evans who, the San Antonio Express-News has learned, was hired in 1994 despite a checkered past that disqualified him from being a cop. After 12 years on the force, Evans faces sentencing Wednesday for allowing his live-in girlfriend to peddle methamphetamines.
"Where people are invested with a fair amount of power, then you better be doggone careful about how you are selecting people," Davis said. "I think there is a very clear link between a transparent process and hiring good people. If these people's records cannot withstand public scrutiny then why are we hiring them in the first place?"