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BCSO to add four violent crime investigators to deal with 'unsustainable' caseload

Bexar County Commissioners approved the sheriff's request for more staff to handle cases, which law enforcement says are on the rise.

SAN ANTONIO — Law enforcement says violent crime is increasing in Bexar County.

Bexar County Commissioners granted the sheriff’s office's request to hire four new investigators to handle the growing caseload.

The thousands of cases handled are not just numbers.

“That stack of cases, each one of those, that’s the worst day in somebody’s life. They lost a child, they were sexually assaulted, they were each scammed out of their life savings. Each one of those cases is a victim or a victim’s family that deserves justice,” Sheriff Javier Salazar said. 

But the numbers do tell part of the story.

According to BCSO, violent crimes have increased at an average rate of 14.6% per year over the last three years.

During the meeting, Deputy Chief Nancy Sanford explained that the case loads in her Major Crimes division are unsustainable.

"These types of cases are extremely sensitive and require attention to detail," Deputy Chief Sanford told county commissioners.

Commissioner Marialyn Barnard asked for the item to be put on the agenda Tuesday.

Steve Huerta is with the group All of Us or None Texas, which tries to intervene before crime happens in communities.

“It’s really about creating a better environment around the community where the violence is happening,” Huerta said. 

He's OK with additional investigators, but says policing is one part of the problem.

“They’re needed, but that is not going to solve anything in terms of public safety. That’s going to solve a crime, but it’s not going to address public safety,” Huerta told KENS 5.

Last year more than 4,800 violent crime cases were reported—but the number of investigators (50, according to county documents) has remained the same. The county had a hiring freeze during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to county documents, each of the 50 investigators will be assigned 350 crimes to investigate this year.

Sheriff Salazar claims the positions that are filled will also have a high caseload.

“We’re ecstatic with that outcome and we’re going to do what we can, but that’s not to say during the next budget cycle, we’re going to be asking for twice that many [investigators],” Sheriff Salazar told reporters after the meeting.

Salazar hopes the four investigators will be assigned to the Special Victims Unit by the end of the year.

County documents state the additional investigators will cost an extra $530,000.

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