Sheriff Salazar’s Arbitrary Approach to Discipline

Sheriff Javier Salazar
Javier Salazar – photo from

When You Don’t Know How to Lead

We’ve been doing our best to follow everything that is printed in the news about Salazar and what is going on at the jail. You would think that doing that would give you an understanding of an individual, what they put up with, what they will not tolerate, where their lines are. In most leaders it would but when you have someone who has no idea how to lead, the waters get pretty murky.

Our Recent Article

We just recently published an article on the discipline that four different officers got. See Salazar’s Pretend Outrage is All for Show.  In that article we talk about the combined total of discipline recommended for those four people being 55 days but that none of them served more than 2 days with the combined total of disciplinary time served being 6 days.

Comparison of Offenses

The four officers from our previous article were all disciplined for erroneous releases. To be clear, they let people leave the jail who should not have been allowed to leave. Two officers got a 2-day suspension and two of the officers got a 1-day suspension.

We have recently found out that Deputy Synnamon Carabajal served a 5-day suspension in December for giving jail keys to an inmate to open a cell door. Yes, that was an ignorant thing to do but it was a cell door. It was not the keys to the whole unit. No inmates left their area much less were they let out of the jail completely. Yet she served more time than the officers who did release inmates from the jail. See KSAT article here.

And a KENS article informed us of a situation with a SERT officer. Deputy Leroy Martinez, who is obviously in a relationship with a female deputy, was seen kissing her on several occasions and holding her hand. He too ended up with a 5-day suspension for this unprofessional behavior.

Who Decides on Discipline

We agree that all the officers listed should have received some form of discipline but we have to question the apparent arbitrariness of it. Are there guidelines that are followed? How can giving a kiss to a co-worker who is in a relationship with you or letting an inmate open a cell door but never having the ability to leave the area be greater offenses than officers allowing people to leave the jail when they shouldn’t?

Who makes the call? What are those calls based upon? Is there any standardized criteria? Or do they write numbers on pieces of paper, fold them, dump them in a jar and then pick a number? Are there different jars for different sections? Booking, the rest of Detention, Law Enforcement, Civilians? Maybe there are different jars by rank? Do the people Salazar favors more get jars with lower numbers than the ones he has a lower opinion of?

Good and Bad Leadership

Good leaders are clear in what they expect, but they are also clear in the consequences of failing to meet the expectations. They don’t demand a one size fits all approach but they also don’t have the consequences being all over the place. The more serious the infraction, the more serious the consequence. This is simple and readily understood by everyone.

Some of the signs of a bad leader are someone who makes knee-jerk decisions, makes decisions based on favoritism, has a mental ranking of his people with those ranked higher being treated more leniently. When Salazar is speaking to the media he puts on his Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts persona and figuratively proclaims ‘off with their heads’. The reality of what is done to the officers is much different but I wouldn’t describe it as being better. It’s just another form of bad.

Employees need a leader who will consider the level of offense and have guidelines as to the appropriate level of punishment, It fosters an atmosphere of fairness and is one of the supports to good morale. Unfortunately for the employees at the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, ‘good leader’ is not a label that can honestly be applied to Javier Salazar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *