BEXAR COUNTY, Texas — Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar is requesting additional deputies and criminal investigators after what he calls an increase in violent crime.
In a letter to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Commissioners, Salazar said he believes his deputies are at a higher risk of being attacked.
He cited recent events such as an April 5 incident where Deputy Miguel Gonzalez was shot when deputies were serving a warrant. He also mentioned an incident on April 11 where six vehicles were broken into in the Alamo Ranch area by suspects openly carrying guns. He said there have been other cases where suspects fired on deputies and fled in stolen vehicles.
Sheriff Salazar is asking for an additional 12 patrol deputies and an additional five criminal investigators for the Criminal Investigations Division. He said he hopes to get "ahead of the curve" and request it during a mid-year budget adjustment.
See the full letter below:
"Dear Judge Wolff and Commissioners,
Over the last several months, Bexar County has seen an increase in violent crime. Shootings, Domestic Assaults, Human Trafficking, and other crimes against persons are daily occurrences. This increase in crime has created a strain on the already taxed resources of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office. These violent events are impacting our patrol deputies as they continuously encounter suspects with stolen and altered weapons. Additionally, this has caused a trickle-down effect that is impacting our criminal investigators’ ability to effectively handle an increasing caseload. We are projecting that these violent events will continue to rise throughout the summer months.
A huge factor in these violent crimes is the presence of more guns in the hands of convicted felons, documented gang members, and even juvenile suspects. For instance, these suspects have used both altered and stolen weapons to shoot at our deputies on multiple occasions—as we most recently saw on April 5, 2022, when a violent criminal shot Bexar County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Miguel Gonzalez. Another incident highlighting this increase occurred on the night of April 11, 2022, in which my deputies responded to 6 vehicle burglaries in one neighborhood within the Alamo Ranch area of West Bexar County. The video footage captured shows the suspects openly carrying firearms during the course of committing the vehicle burglaries. Unfortunately, apprehensions still have not been made in these cases, but the search continues. This same scenario has been observed in other cases where deputies have actually been shot at with said weapons as suspects fled in stolen vehicles.
Currently, our recruiters are proactively working to fill vacancies within the Sheriff’s Office. However, at a recent Texas Urban County Sheriff’s Committee meeting, we learned that law enforcement agencies throughout the state and nation are experiencing the same retention and recruiting issues. Despite these issues, we currently have 28 patrol cadets nearing graduation from the patrol academy who will soon be on the streets. We are anticipating starting another patrol class in coming weeks, which will most likely eliminate our Law Enforcement vacancies. We are hosting frequent testing for detention deputies, patrol deputies, and public safety dispatchers to increase our pipeline as we combat the levels of attrition that affect the agency and this profession as a whole.
While the crime data is unfortunate, we are certainly not without a possible resolution. We must increase the number of deputies on the streets actively fighting crime so we can keep Bexar County safe. With that goal in mind, I am requesting the Commissioners Court approve the addition of 12 patrol deputies and increase our Criminal Investigations Division by at least 5 criminal investigators. We currently have 41 budgeted civilian support positions that have been “frozen” as employees have left the agency through normal attrition. I would also ask that those vital civilian support positions be “unfrozen” and we be allowed to resume filling them. I feel the need to point out, that although someone leaves the employment of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, the function performed is still necessary to help fulfill our mission.
As Sheriff, I am committed to doing my part to recruit and retain employees, both sworn and civilian, so we can keep our community safe. However, in order to do so, I need the support of the Commissioners Court to help in building and rebuilding our workforce. These additional positions will help us to keep up with current demands for response, as well as, continue to build on our proactive effort to prevent crime through vigilance and public engagement/education. As Bexar County continues to grow, so does the workload and the complexity of addressing crime in a major metropolitan area of operations.
I am confident we can work together to find a solution to our situation. Should you have any questions or like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact my office directly.
Sheriff, Bexar County, Texas"