San Antonio officers to be disciplined for wearing Trump hats

The San Antonio Police Chief says he will punish half a dozen of his officers for wearing Trump campaign hats.

The San Antonio police chief says he will punish a dozen of his officers for wearing Trump campaign hats.

On Tuesday the Trump campaign posted this video of San Antonio police officers with the presidential candidate donning his "make America great again" hats.

Officers can be seen taking photos as Donald Trump boarded his plane.

At the end of the clip it reads "we will make America great and safe again together."

Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas Executive Director Charley Wilkison says the officers violated protocol.

"They shouldn't have done it. A few seconds after they put on those caps they had to know,” said Wilkison. "When you raise your right hand and you put on that uniform it comes with the totality of what you've sworn to do is protect the community. Not being politicized is a part of that."

Within four hours of when the video appeared on Twitter, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus posted a statement in response. He said the officers would be disciplined and should've known better than to give the appearance of endorsing a candidate while on duty and in uniform.

Texas Municipal Police Association Executive Director Kevin Lawrence says what the officers did was innocent.

"I don't think it's a political statement by the officers. I think these officers were assigned to a security detail for a celebrity and they went and did their duties as they were assigned and in the process the celebrity gave them some paraphernalia, some hats,” said Lawrence. "I think if this had been Beyoncé or Russel Crowe or some other celebrity and they had given the officers something the officers would've done the exact same thing. They were caught up protecting a celebrity. They weren't protecting a republican or a democrat."

The Austin Police Department has a clear policy regarding political figures:

972.4.1 Unauthorized Endorsements and Advertisements

Unless specifically authorized by the Chief of Police, employees may not represent the Austin Police Department or identify themselves in any way as being affiliated with the Austin Police Department in order to do any of the following (Tex. Local Gov't Code § 556.004(c) and (d)):

(a) Endorse, support, oppose or contradict any political campaign or initiative.
(b) Endorse, support, oppose or contradict any social issue, cause or religion.
(c) Endorse, support or oppose any product, service, company or other commercial entity.
(d) Appear in any commercial, social or nonprofit publication or any motion picture, film, video, public broadcast or on any website.

Additionally, when it can reasonably be construed that an employee, acting in his individual capacity or through some unofficial group or organization (e.g. bargaining group), is affiliated with this department the employee shall give a specific disclaiming statement that any such speech or expression is not representative of the Austin Police Department.

Employees retain their right to vote as they choose, to support candidates of their choice and to express their opinions on political subjects and candidates at all times while off-duty. However, employees may not use their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election or a nomination for office. Employees are also prohibited from directly or indirectly using their official authority to coerce, command or advise another employee to pay, lend or contribute anything of value to a party, committee, organization, agency or person for political purposes (5 U.S.C. § 1502)).

Wilkison says while on-duty officers can take as many personal photos with politicians as they wish.

Altering the uniform is where the San Antonio officers crossed the line.

"Presidential campaigns are not for police officers in uniform,” said Wilkison.

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