San Marcos - Buda - Kyle Edition | February 2023

an ambling process Here is an overview of the incident that occurred June 10, 2020, that has sparked the push to reform the meet and confer agreement between the city of San Marcos and police ocers’ association with additional standards of police conduct.

Ryan Hartman, Jennifer Miller and Pam Watts are involved in a car crash in Lockhart that results in the death of Miller. JUNE 10, 2020:

The Lockhart Police Department informed the San Marcos Police Department that a grand jury in Bastrop County “no-billed” the Hartman case—meaning they declined to pursue charges due to a lack of evidence. NOV. 17, 2020:

Hartman is suspended indenitely by Standridge as a result of “sustained misconduct, deciencies in duties and insubordination.” JAN. 18, 2022:

Hartman returned to duty after not being charged by a Bastrop County grand jury. DEC. 1, 2020:



Watts alleges that police Chief Stan Standridge told her the department would not investigate the incident from June 10 as the 180-day rule is in eect and the statute of limitations had passed. However, it had only been 141 days at that point. OCT. 2020:

The 180-day deadline passes after the June 2020 incident. DEC. 7, 2020:

This marked the rst anniversary of Miller’s death. JUNE 10, 2021:

San Marcos City Council hires attorney Julia Gannaway to represent the city in an appeal led by Hartman. Hartman demands to be reinstated with back pay and benets. FEB. 15, 2022:

Key dates leading to repeal process

confer agreement in the city’s history Sept. 6. However, the public is not involved in the negotiation process which can be worked around through the Texas Local Government Code, Golden added. “Under Chapter 142, specically section 142.066, voters have 60 days after the city council raties a meet and confer agreement to le a petition objecting to the agreement,” Golden said. “The petition must be signed by a number of registered voters residing in the municipality equal to at least 10% of the votes cast at the most recent gen- eral election held in the municipality.” Following the submission and

certication of the petition, the coun- cil can either vote to repeal the agree- ment or send it to the voters. The fatal catalyst The petition to repeal the existing contract stems from a fatal car acci- dent that happened June 10, 2020 between two civilians, Jennifer Miller and Pam Watts, and then-San Marcos Police Sergeant Ryan Hartman. Hartman was o-duty when he allegedly sped through a stop sign and collided with Miller and Watts in Lockhart, according to a Sept. 3, 2021 statement from the city of San Mar- cos. Watts sustained traumatic inju- ries; her life partner, Miller, died from injuries incurred in the accident. “I’ve got a traumatic brain injury that I’m still suering [from]. I don’t know that [I] will ever recover,” Watts said. “It’s altered my life on so many fronts for the rest of my life.” Responding Lockhart Police Ocers found an open, half-full 24-ounce can of beer in Hartman’s car, though he denied drinking and driving. Investi- gating ocers reported seeing no signs of intoxication when speaking to Hart- man at the scene of the crash, accord- ing to the statement from the city. “It took me a long time to recover, physically and emotionally. It took

me a while to process all of it myself,” Watts said. Eventually, Watts partnered with Mano Amiga to try and bring justice for Miller’s death and create a worthwhile change within the police department. “To me, this was very personal. I wanted to ght for Jen,” Watts said. On the two-year anniversary of Miller’s death, Watts and Mano Amiga held a press conference to announce their demands for the new police union contract, of which negotiations had just begun. “We are demanding that the ve Hartman Reforms are reected in the meet and confer agreement that the city will sign with the police union at the end of the summer,” Mano Amiga Communications Director Sam Bena- vides said. “At that point, we will have 60 days to collect signatures from 10% of the number of San Mar- cos voters who voted in the last gen- eral election.” This press conference came on the heels of Mano Amiga announcing they had collected enough signatures to secure the marijuana decrimi- nalization ballot initiative for the November election. “We now have a signicant contact list, volunteer base and knowledge of what strategies do and do not work


the terms of the agreement as it per- tains to employment, wages, pro- tected rights of ocers and more. “They reach an agreement through compromise and each side keeps giv- ing things up until its accepted,” Direc- tor of Advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law Mike Golden said. The city and police union held spe- cial meetings throughout the summer of 2022 to negotiate the terms of the new agreement that would be adopted and in eect through Sept. 30, 2025. The San Marcos City Coun- cil approved the fth meet and

honoring jennifer miller Jennifer Miller and Pam Watts were in the car former Sgt. Ryan Hartman drove into, according to a Sept. 3, 2021 statement from the city of San Marcos. Watts continues to ght for justice for her partner and has a memorial dedicated to her outside her home.



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