Sheriff Salazar Making a Mess Out of COVID-19 Response



Sheriff Javier Salazar
Javier Salazar – photo from Bexar.org

What’s Really Happening at the Bexar County Jail

KSAT 12 posted an article about Sheriff Salazar’s experience with COVID-19. As usual, Salazar speaks as if he’s been on top of the problem from the beginning. Unfortunately, that’s nothing but spin. It has no basis in reality. Sheriff Salazar is the main reason the numbers are as bad as they are at the jail. Let’s take a look at some of what has happened. Everyone had started hearing about the coronavirus that was devastating China. Then we heard about Italy having problems. Then other countries. This was all in 2019. We all knew it was going to come to the United States and all it took to figure out how bad it would be was to look at the countries that were dealing with it first. Trump handled the virus incompetently for the nation and Sheriff Salazar handled it incompetently for the Sheriff’s Office.

The first reported case of the virus in the United States happened on January 19, 2020. The media was already filling the airwaves with information about how very contagious this new virus was. Yet Salazar, like Trump, did nothing. Sheriff Salazar didn’t look into ways he could protect his staff or the inmates. We knew in January that it was in the United States but when did Salazar start doing anything to protect people?

Sequence of Events

On March 15, Sheriff Salazar put out his emergency plan on dealing with the virus. Remember, the first case in the United States was January 19. He did nothing to prepare the jail until March 15. That’s a lot of wasted time. One of the things his emergency plan included was keeping non-violent offenders out of the jail which was a good move but I have no doubt that it was a collaboration with Judge Wolff and D.A. Gonzales.

On March 20 we wrote about 11 deputies who had come into contact with an infected doctor. They may have been exposed but no one knew if they actually became infected. Still, it was a sign of things to come.

On March 22 we wrote about the jail starting to require people coming into the jail to have their temperature taken before entering and also that the Sheriff had closed down Video Visitation. That sounds like a positive move and it sounds somewhat proactive until you realize that the Video Visitation employee came back from his cruise on March 15. He went to work on March 16. He started feeling sick at work on March 18 and was placed on leave on March 19. In other words, Salazar acted only after something had happened. The employee did test positive for the virus.

On April 2 the first deputy tested positive for the coronavirus. There is no way now to pretend this virus is not hitting employees yet Sheriff Salazar does nothing to protect them.

On April 6 we wrote about the whole graduating cadet class being exposed to an infected person. And we discovered that Sheriff Salazar has been using untrained cadets to work the jail. Those cadets will have to continue working the jail while the class that graduated is on quarantine. Crisis situation, untrained personnel. What could possibly go wrong.

On April 9 we wrote about the Salazar administration supposedly disinfecting the whole jail. We have heard from others that, that did not happen. Not the whole jail. But again, if you’ll look at our article you will see that it was in response to more positive tests.

On April 10 we wrote about the first inmate to test positive. This is only a day after they disinfected the jail. We know the tests are not coming back that fast so they had to have suspected the man (or woman) was infected. More proof that the cleaning was in response to an incident, not a proactive measure.

On April 11 we wrote about positive test results on 11 more cadets from the training class. Sheriff Salazar had placed the whole class on administrative leave but when the news hit about the positives he had the gall to say they were placed on leave out of an “abundance of caution”. If he had given a damn, he would have worked on safety measures long before they were needed.

On April 12 we wrote about a second inmate testing positive. Salazar says the two inmates were never in contact with each other. Uh, duh, that means someone else is spreading the virus. What are you going to do? The answer is nothing. He did nothing.

On April 15 the number of infected inmates jumped to 6. Along with 14 infected deputies and 3 infected civilians. Salazar does nothing.

On April 16, six more deputies test positive and four more inmates. Salazar does nothing.

On April 17, five more inmates test positive for the virus. Total is now at 15. Salazar says inmates to wear masks.

On April 19, five more inmates test positive. Total is now at 20. Salazar does nothing.

On April 20, inmates accuse the Sheriff’s Office of negligence and say their lives are being endangered. The say they are being denied cleaning supplies, they are not getting all their meals, they have been given uncooked food. and that when they ask for a new mask they are being denied.

On April 21 the total of infected people at the jail hits 60. Sheriff Salazar says he is working on getting more masks. Maybe if he had started working on that back in January, he’d have them by now.

On April 24 the number of people at the jail infected with the coronavirus increases to 73.

On April 25 finally, FINALLY, Sheriff Salazar decides to start testing the deputies. This would be great news if we hadn’t learned on the same day that the Deputy Sheriffs Association of Bexar County (DSABC) had asked for investigators to be allowed to work remotely and that Salazar had denied their request, resulting in an infected investigator possibly infecting others in his unit. This indicates that the testing was for show so he could pretend he was doing something when the truth is that he couldn’t care less about the risk he unnecessarily placed his employees in.

I’m going to skip the added numbers of people testing positive and jump to April 30. A deputy who was positive for the corona virus died. The deputy did have underlying conditions but the Medical Examiner lists it as a COVID-19 related death. If Salazar had been serious in his efforts to protect people, instead of just playing to the cameras, would this man have died?

May 4. The first inmate has died. Mr. Clifford Childs was in the jail since March 15. He tested positive on April 17. That’s more than a month later. That means he got the virus in the jail. Who did he get it from? Was it another inmate? Or was it one of the deputies? Again, if Salazar had been serious in his efforts to protect people, instead of just playing to the cameras, would this man have died?

Back to the KSAT Article

When interviewed,  Salazar said “the numbers are scary”. Then he acts like he’s giving some great prophecy by saying he doesn’t think the numbers in the jail have reached their peak. Of course the numbers are going to go up. Only 830 inmates have been tested. I don’t know the current number of inmates but it’s over 3,000. That means that less than a third of inmates have been tested and just with that 1/3 the number of infected inmates now sits at 294. Yes, they would have tested the most vulnerable first but there will still be infected individuals in the rest of the jail population.

And we can’t even get an exact number regarding how many deputies have been tested. The article lists it as a range of 500-600, with 60 deputies being positive for the coronavirus. No testing numbers are given on civilians. Sheriff Salazar doesn’t even pretend to care about his civilian employees. You only hear him mention them if it’s negative.

Sheriff Salazar doesn’t have the ability to run an agency as large as the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. His inability is resulting in actual harm. As tax payers, we will be the ones to foot the bill for all the lawsuits that eventually result from his Trumpian ego.

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