FAQs

Below are some of the frequently asked questions fielded by several SZPD officers. Feel free to browse through the questions. If there is still an unanswered question or maybe the FAQ didn’t answer it completely, please feel free to contact the Schertz Police Department at its non-emergency line 210.619.1200.

 

Traffic Stops

What should I do if I think I’m being stopped by the police?
Is it ok to pull over into the left-hand shoulder?
I believe that I am not guilty of an offense to which I have just received a citation. How can I contest this?

 

Community Policing

I will be out of town for a few weeks. Does SZPD offer a house check program?
I would like to know more about SZPD and Law Enforcement as a whole. Does SZPD offer a Citizen’s Police Academy?

 

General Questions

I believe I have witnessed or am a victim of a crime. How do I report the incident?
How does someone become a police officer?
How can I submit a complaint when I witness an officer perform an act of misconduct?
How can I recommend an officer for recognition when I witness an act of exemplary performance?
What does SZPD stand for?

 

What should I do if I think I’m being stopped by the police?

It is important to understand the inherent risk posed to both officer and citizen when an officer is performing a traffic stop. Factors such as location, traffic volume, and time of day all play a significant role. If you believe that you are being signaled to stop by the police, you should immediately pull the right shoulder or as far to the right as possible and stop. Texas Transportation Code 545.156 states:

 

“an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

  1. yield the right-of-way;
  2. immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection; and;
  3. stop and remain standing until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed.”

 

By adhering to this law, the overall safety of the stop can be significantly increased. SZPD recommends that you acknowledge the officer’s intent to stop. This can be done by simply reducing speed, signaling your intent to pull over, or activating your emergency flashers. Next, you should calmly and safely begin changing lanes to the right until you are able to stop in a safe location. Upon stopping, it is recommended that you turn on any interior lights if applicable and wait inside the vehicle for the officer to approach you. It is not recommended that you exit the vehicle and walk back to meet the officer. This may put you a significant risk to oncoming traffic, especially on the highway.

 

Is it ok to pull over into the left-hand shoulder?

Generally speaking, it is not recommended that you stop on the left-hand shoulder. Although it is understood that certain circumstances may leave a motorist no other option, such as an immediate break down of the vehicle to which it is unfeasible to safely pull over to the right or to avoid an imminent crash, motorist should be aware that responding emergency vehicles generally pass on the left and that during heavy traffic may use the left-hand shoulder to safely and quickly pass. As stated above, State law requires you to pull to the right and stop. Pulling over to the left is considered a violation of that statute. However more importantly, traffic stops are a leading cause of officer injuries and fatalities. When you are stopped by the police and you stop on the left, this places you and the officer at a tremendous risk should another motorist crash into either one of your vehicles. Especially for the officer who may be standing outside your vehicle with no protection offered from the mass of a police vehicle or safety belt.

 

I believe that I am not guilty of an offense to which I have just received a citation. How can I contest this?

If you are issued a citation and you feel that the officer was incorrect in his reasoning, you should discuss your disagreement with the Schertz Municipal Court. It is not recommended that motorists argue or attempt to dissuade the officer from issuing the citation. Officers do not issue citations if they believe there is any doubt that you have committed a violation. Also, all traffic stops by the Schertz Police Department are recorded using on-board police vehicle video camera systems and may be subpoenaed by either the defense or prosecution in Court.

 

I will be out of town for a few weeks. Does SZPD offer a house check program?

YES! The Schertz Police Department does offer a program in which every effort will be made to periodically check your residence in your absence. To request this service, download a House Check Request form. The form should be completed and submitted in person to the Schertz Police Department during normal business hours.

 

I would like to know more about SZPD and Law Enforcement as a whole. Does SZPD offer a Citizen’s Police Academy?

YES! Schertz CPA classes are offered periodically throughout the year. The CPA is a 12-week course offered to interested residents and/or business members in the Schertz community. The program is designed to give awareness and information about the role of Law Enforcement and to increase the rapport between citizens and Police Officers. The Citizen’s Police Academy does not give the students any Police Officer Certifications or Qualifications. The Citizen’s Police Academy is for educational purposes only. View more information about the CPA or to download a class application.

 

I believe I have witnessed or am a victim of a crime. How do I report the incident?

If you suspect you have been a victim of crime or have witnessed a crime or suspicious incident, you should contact the Schertz Police Department immediately. If the incident does not appear to be serious in nature, it is recommended that you call the Schertz Police Department non-emergency line at 210-619-1200. However, when in doubt or if the situation appears to be an issue where an immediate police, fire, or ems response is warranted, citizens should dial 911. Actual Schertz dispatchers will immediately answer and direct any necessary services to assist you.

 

When reporting incidents, you should obtain as much descriptive information as possible. Obviously, you should never put yourself in a position where your personal safety is in jeopardy. However any information you can obtain can be extremely helpful to law enforcement. The following information are a few items that can prove to be useful:

 

Personal Descriptors:

  • Sex
  • Approximate age
  • Race
  • Clothing descriptions (ie t-shirt v. long sleeve shirts, pants v. shorts, colors, shoes, headgear, or hairstyles)

 

Vehicle Descriptors:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Vehicle type (ie 4-door, 2-door, SUV, etc)
  • Color
  • Approximate year
  • Accessories (ie large tires, head-ache racks, oversized bumpers, exhaust tones, bumper stickers, etc)

Other Descriptors

  • Street with block numbers or incident location
  • Direction of travel (if suspect was seen departing)
  • Number of persons involved

 

How does someone become a police officer?

To obtain additional information on how to become a Texas Peace officer or obtain employment with the Schertz Police Department, visit the SZPD employment page.

 

How can I submit a complaint when I witness an officer perform an act of misconduct?

The Schertz Police Department is committed to providing professional services. If you feel that an officer or member of the Schertz Police Department has acted unprofessionally or has committed other acts of misconduct, you can do one of two things:

 

  1. You can call the Schertz Police Department at 210-619-1200 to report the incident. A Department supervisor will review the incident and forward any necessary information to the Office of Professional Standards for immediate disposition.
  2. You may appear in person to complete a formal complaint of the misconduct. Your complaint will be forwarded to the Office of Professional Standards for immediate inquiry and disposition.

 

Although not always necessary, it is requested that you leave your name and contact phone number so that a member of the Professional Standards Unit may be able to speak to you personally about the incident as well as pass along any facts regarding the incident.

 

How can I recommend an officer for recognition when I witness an act of exemplary performance?

If you believe that an officer has acted above and beyond the call of duty and believe the officer should be recognized for exemplary performance, the above methods are also excellent means to ensure that officers receives the recognition they deserve. All too often, the fact that officers are people too is forgotten. Like all people, officers also enjoy being recognized for the things they do right.

 

What does ‘SZPD’ stand for?

The acronym ‘SZPD’ is short for the SchertZ Police Department. For several years now, the Schertz Police Department has partnered with the San Antonio Police Department in the use and operation of mobile data terminals that offer law enforcement only access to needed criminal, license, or registration information. These terminals are the computers or laptops you frequently see inside police vehicles. In order to differentiate the Schertz Police Department from other departments within the system that begin with ‘S’, the Schertz Police Department was given the identifier of “SZPD”. The Schertz Police Department has come to accept this moniker and believes it signifies the pride and uniqueness of the Department and its personnel.