Friday, Bexar County Commissioners approved a request from the Bexar County Sheriff for an additional $965,409 to cover 26,400 hours of overtime from the middle of October 2018 through the end of December 2018.
"Commissioners and Judge Wolff are giving me everything I need and I'm confident we're going to overcome this," Sheriff Javier Salazar said.
Inmates can't be left by themselves, and to maintain the state-mandated guard-to-inmate ratio, the Sheriff says overtime is necessary.
"I'd rather have a fresh officer that's there doing their eight hours but sometimes it necessitates overtime and so we need to make sure we're paying folks adequately for their time," Sheriff Salazar said.
The Sheriff's office was originally budgeted for $250,000 in overtime based on a collective bargaining agreement, but the agency has asked multiple times for additional money to cover costs. The Sheriff says his longterm solution is recruiting, but in the meantime, he plans to continue working with commissioners.
"They're making sure we're making best use of that overtime, they have to come back and report to commissioners periodically to get it piece-mealed," Sheriff Salazar said. "We could budget for a bigger amount but at this point we're seeing what we can do by way of recruitment to bring that number down."
Sheriff Salazar also blamed changes in the size of the jail.
"Most of what's driving this is that our current staffing levels were decided years ago- about 2014," Sheriff Salazar said. "When our average jail population was about 3700. Now our jail population is about 4300 so it's become obvious to everybody that our current staffing levels are not adequate to suit our present needs and our future needs."
Sheriff Salazar says the office is aggressively recruiting with a number of methods, and starting a new cadet class that will add to the ranks of deputies.