Sheriff Fires Over 100 Officers at Short-Staffed Jail



Sheriff Javier Salazar
Javier Salazar – photo from Bexar.org

Bexar County Jail Critically Understaffed

(TX) – The Bexar County Jail has been short-staffed for a long time, but under Sheriff Javier Salazar, it has become critically understaffed. To add to those problems, KSAT 12 just released an article letting us know that Sheriff Salazar has terminated 102 officers during his first term in office. There definitely were officers who needed to be fired. In fact, a deputy was just issued a Notice of Proposed Dismissal on Monday. The intent to terminate came after Deputy Victor Damon Collins was arrested for assault-bodily injury. Collins is accused of assaulting an inmate. If the accusation is found to be true, then Collins definitely should be terminated.

Are They All Just Terminations?

It’s unfortunate that KSAT chose to contradict the claim of back pay amount in the same article as the terminations. I understand the connection, but it also gives the impression that everything else said against Sheriff Salazar is also false. I don’t believe it is. What we know is that officers are written up for every minor infraction. Under Sheriff Salazar, people are being led by disciplinary action rather than through mentoring. The more dings you get on your record, the more you look like a problem employee.

That may help to justify comments like this by the Sheriff,

“I’ve made no secret of the fact that we’ve got people employed here that probably should never have been hired, some of them probably should have been fired years ago,” said Salazar during a recent interview.

But it’s not the reality of the situation. I don’t see this number as being a sign of Sheriff Salazar’s commitment to maintaining the best staff possible. I see it as bad leadership. Leadership that is so bad that it puts the lives of officers at risk due to being understaffed. We already saw what can happen when a jail is understaffed. We just posted an article about the St. Louis jail that was taken over by inmates.

The KSAT article ends with a quote by Salazar, “I’d rather work a man short than work with the wrong man.” First of all, it isn’t just one, it’s over a hundred that he has fired, keeping them short by approximately 250 positions, and secondly, Salazar isn’t the one in the trenches, his men and women are. It’s easy to talk tough when you are not the one doing the real work.

Problems are a Result of Poor Management

I have no doubt that Sheriff Salazar wants to blame problem employees on previous administrations, but there are very few, if any, know problem people left from prior administrations. And if they aren’t known then the prior administrations could not have addressed them. No one expects the sheriff to be able to read minds or see into the future.

His real problem is that his administration is made up of people with poor management skills. They were not selected for how well they manage, but rather on how good of a yes man they are. It’s easy to see that when you look at the command staff. As we noted in a prior article, Salazar has lost nine of his command staff picks. He can’t blame those on past administrations. They are people he selected for the positions. They are people he bragged about to the media. Then all of a sudden they were outcasts. So what happened there? Why can’t he keep chiefs? I haven’t seen that much turnover, in one term, out of any other administration. What he does to the chiefs is really not much different to what he does to the staff below the chief level.

Sheriff Salazar can blame the previous administrations as much as he wants, but it’s not going to fix the problem. Those administrations were never the problem. Poor management is the problem. And as long as he ignores it, it will continue to be a problem.

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