Sheriff Salazar’s ‘Burn the House Down’ Strategy



Sheriff Javier Salazar
Javier Salazar – photo from Bexar.org

Everyone is Expendable

It seems that Javier Salazar has found what he feels will be a winning talking point for him over the next 3 months, trash his employees. On Monday, he gave an interview in which he said he will be auditing all employees at the Bexar County Jail. He told the KSAT reporter that he wants to make sure all background checks are accurate.

What does that even mean? It’s not like the background checks were wrong. The difference is that previous sheriffs believed in innocent until proven guilty. They believed in the concept of being allowed to move on with your life once you had paid your dues (for civilians) as long as the crime was not a violent one. Deputies lose their certification for convictions so they do not fall into the second category. They can’t do the work without being certified.

What’s the Game Plan?

Javier Salazar is the sheriff and he does have the right to make changes in what he will accept in an applicant but I’ve read the article and listened to the video, several times, and still have not figured out what he’s actually going to do in regards to people who are already employed. Those are the people he wants to ‘audit’. If they are on probation, he can fire them but what about the rest? Salazar has made comments like, “he should never have been hired,” and “people that should have never been allowed to set foot in this building.” Does that mean he intends to fire them? People who are protected by a union or Civil Service? Does he really think it will be that easy?

Firing Union Employees

Let’s say he does try to fire officers who have charges, that were cleared, on their records. Naturally, the union will fight back and rightly so. Now that Salazar has announced to all of Bexar County that he is going after those people how can he back down? If he does back down, he knows he will look weak so instead he will have to say something like, he tried to get rid of them but the union stopped him from being able to act. Now he will have made the union the bad guys.

Does he not see the problem with that? It’s hard enough for unions to get any kind of acceptance, especially in a state like Texas. The last thing they need is for the Sheriff to be tearing them down. This is the organization that protects his officers. The same type of organization that protected him when he was at SAPD. I bet he didn’t have a problem with unions when he was being protected by one.

Firing Civil Service Employees

And what about civilian employees who are not on probation? They are a much easier target to go after. They don’t have the support of a union. They don’t get an attorney that has already been paid for out of their dues. All they have is Civil Service, not that it gives much protection, after all Civil Service is a political animal. Still, Civil Service does have rules that are supposed to be followed. Not a single one of those rules says the sheriff can fire you because he doesn’t like that a previous sheriff allowed you to be hired.

A wrongful termination means those employees can sue the County. How much more money is Salazar going to cost the taxpayers of Bexar County? He’s already had to go back over and over again for more money to pay for overtime and now he is willing to carelessly risk lawsuits that will cost us even more? When is he going to show some fiscal responsibility instead of treating the citizens of Bexar County as if they are his personal piggy bank?

Unscrupulous Behavior

We have mentioned before that Salazar seems to think he was made a king instead of a sheriff. By the statements he made in his interview and through previous actions, he is indicating that he is willing to ignore judge’s rulings, contracts, rules, policies, norms, and anything else, to get what he wants. Is that really the kind of person who should be in charge of a law enforcement agency? LAW enforcement. You know, the kind of place whose specific duty is enforcing rules.

The hypocrisy and entitlement are astounding. We can do better than this.

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