Deputy Charged with Interference with Emergency Call

Andrew Phillip Winston
Andrew Phillip Winston

Something Really Off About This Story

KSAT just released a story about a Bexar County Jail deputy, Andrew Phillip Winston, who resigned so that he wouldn’t be fired. According to KSAT’s article, “Winston’s criminal charge, interference with an emergency telephone call, stemmed from an off-duty incident on Sept. 25, 2018.” Note that they say his “criminal charge.” We could not find any booking information on Deputy Winston on that date or on any of the surrounding dates.

The article mentions that the San Antonio Police Department was the arresting agency. SAPD brings arrested people to the Bexar County Jail. Why isn’t this officer showing as having been arrested? Under Texas law, Interfering with an Emergency Call is a Class A Misdemeanor. That is a jailable offense. Again, we are not able to find a booking for him. Did he receive special treatment? Doesn’t Sheriff Salazar keep saying he is so tough on crime and will not put up with misconduct by his deputies?

An Audit Caught the Issue?

Here’s another thing that is really strange. According to the article, the criminal charge against Deputy Winston was found during an audit. But the article also says,

“Winston was placed on administrative leave shortly after the incident before he was reassigned to work in fleet maintenance, where he had no contact with inmates or the public, according to the news release.”

So, in other words, the Sheriff’s Office knew all about the crime and reassigned Deputy Winston to fleet maintenance since he had charges pending against him. That’s a common place to send officers who are in trouble. Then they forgot about him. It happened at the end of 2018! That’s the only thing I can see as having happened. They forgot about him. Remember, we’re talking about oh-so-tough-on-crime Salazar, the man who constantly brags about how he will not put up with his deputies acting in a criminal manner. That’s the man whose administration just hid away this problem.

A More Likely Story

I’m guessing here but let me tell you what this sounds like to me. I suspect that officers ‘took care’ of Deputy Winston so he wouldn’t have to go through the booking process. I suspect that, since it’s obvious that the Sheriff’s staff knew Deputy Winston had this charge against him, that they also knew he was never booked on the charge. We know that rather than being the tough sheriff he likes to portray himself as, he allowed this deputy to stay on duty.

As far as the audit, they don’t say it but their statement makes it sound as if they periodically check criminal histories on officers. From what I know about the Sheriff’s Office, I seriously doubt that’s the case. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that what they may have been doing is checking on every officer to see where he or she was stationed and whether the officer was really needed there and that’s how they discovered him. The jail is extremely short-staffed due to the pandemic. They need every available officer helping instead of loafing around in a do nothing job.

But if that is how they were reminded about Deputy Winston, then it brings up the question of why did they wait so long to check on where officers were assigned? They’ve been short-staffed for a long time. Of course, there’s always the other option that does not give them the benefit of the doubt. They could have been sitting about gossiping about officers with charges against them and Deputy Winston just happened to get mentioned.

Con Job

Maybe I’m wrong about Deputy Winston not being arrested. Maybe I’m wrong and they really did run background checks on their officers. And maybe I’m wrong about them forgetting about him. What I am not wrong about is Deputy Winston being accused of interfering with a telephone call. I’m not wrong about the Sheriff’s Office knowing about the accusation. I’m not wrong about it happening almost 2 years ago. I’m not wrong about them allowing him to continue working. All of that is noted in the article or is a logical conclusion from what is said. And that information, they note, is from the Sheriff’s Office press release.

Sheriff Salazar wants us to believe he won’t put up with any infraction, but the situation with Deputy Winston shows that as a lie. Salazar wants us to believe he’s competent at his job. He has two sections, IA and PIO investigate officer misconduct (which is a wasteful duplication of work) and yet the Sheriff’s Office can’t even keep track of people with charges against them. This officer resigned. Why did Salazar feel the need to run to the press with the story? Could November 3 have something to do with it? Did he think we were too stupid to notice the inconsistencies? Everything with Salazar always feels like a con job.

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