Sierra Martin, Kevin Baxter, Christopher Green | Staff Reporters
SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos City Council voted to approve the appointment of attorney Julia Gannaway to represent the City of San Marcos in the appeal filed by Sergeant Ryan Hartman.
Hartman was suspended indefinitely in January by SMPD Chief Stan Standridge due to “sustained misconduct related to dereliction of duty and insubordination.”
According to the City Council agenda, Hartman filed an appeal requesting an arbitrator to set aside his indefinite suspension and reinstate him to employment in the San Marcos Police Department with back pay and benefits.
Hartman’s appeal comes after his termination for insubordination. Hartman failed to turn in incident reports under the required time limit for San Marcos Police Officers.
According to open records requests, on Oct. 8, 2021, Commander Tiffany Williams asked Chief Standridge to conduct a formal investigation into policy violations against Hartman.
“Coaching and mentoring have been ineffective to date,” said Williams. “Lesser forms of corrective action have not been successful. To the contrary, the quantity of outstanding tasks and assignments has increased.”
Hartman had six categories of missing reports and evaluations when the investigation began. His inability to adhere to the supervisor’s orders to complete the documents led to his termination for insubordination.
Hartman had failed to return a report for an Intoxicated Manslaughter case that occurred on Sept. 26, 2021, until October 11, 2021. “This is a serious felony offense that warrants greater responsiveness,” Hartman’s Notice and Order of Indefinite Suspension stated.
Hartman also failed to turn in a supplemental report for a murder investigation on time. The homicide occurred on March 12, 2021. When SMPD officers responded to the scene, they found the body of 36-year-old Cheryl Ritzer next to an infant. The infant was not seriously injured and received medical care at a local hospital.
On Aug. 16 and September 28, 2021, Hartman was asked to send in the supplemental report by the lead detective so he could file the case with the District Attorney. Hartman disregarded the communications and did not complete the assigned task until October 11, 2021, nearly seven months after the homicide.
An officer-involved shooting investigation took place on April 10, 2021. Hartman didn’t complete the report until October 29, 2021.
Officers are required to complete their reports, at minimum, by the end of the month for inclusion in the monthly report that SMPD records and submits.
On Oct. 4, 2021, Williams notified Hartman that he still had not completed his six-month employee evaluations. The evaluations were required to be submitted on Aug. 2, 2021.
“In addition to the six-month evaluations, you failed to complete probationary officer evaluations as ordered. You self-disclosed (13) evaluations that had not been done. No other acting supervisor had that many delinquent evaluations. As of January 9, 2022, you still have (9) missing or incomplete evaluations, which is still far greater than any other peer. The latest evaluation goes back to October 2021, which is the most delinquent in the Department,”
At the City Council meeting, councilmember Maxfield Baker mentioned removing specific statutes used to protect “bad” police officers.
“I want the community to know that if they have concerns about these types of issues, that is something where they need to reach out to us over the course of the meet and confirm process to make sure we have policies and ordinances that don’t protect bad police officers,” stated Baker.
San Marcos resident Rodrigo Amaya spoke during the citizen comment period saying the council has done poorly regarding SMPD.
“It’s a shame council that y’all have allowed this kind of saturation of dishonest, corruption, and cover-ups within the San Marcos Police Department. Very bad choice that Standridge was the chief that y’all chose,” said Amaya.
The council voted in agreement to approve the appointment of Attorney Gannaway.
This is a developing story, San Marcos Corridor News will provide updates as they become available.