Sheriff Salazar Disrespects Long Time Deputy
None of us know what happened that caused the sudden retirement announcement of Chief Dennis Casillas. It’s not as if he had been in the chief position for a long time. You would have expected him to at least finish out the election cycle. But something did happen. The rumor mill jumped into over-drive about a falling out at the top level and that he was being ousted. Then it was that he was retiring. I don’t know if he was at work during the time when he was supposedly told to resign or be fired. I don’t even know if he was actually told that. It doesn’t matter. The chiefs are not protected by Civil Service and the Sheriff does have the right to terminate them if he chooses.
What I do know is that Chief Casillas was not allowed to make a sign-off radio call to say good-bye to his colleagues. It is traditional that a long time deputy who is retiring is allowed to make one last radio call to say his farewells. To deny this to a deputy who gave 37 years of his life to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is petty and vindictive. Even if something did happen that caused hard feelings, a professional still would have been respectful of the years of dedicated service and would have allowed Chief Casillas to make the sign-off. This is just one more example of Salazar’s inability to be an effective and respected leader.
According to Jeremy Payne, president of the Deputy Sheriffs Association of Bexar County (DSABC),
“It’s hard to understand that after 37 years of service to this community that this man would be denied the chance to say goodbye to his Law Enforcement family,” said Jeremy Payne, President of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Bexar County. “Our Sheriff should be finding ways to honor men and women like Chief Casillas the same way he promotes his own accomplishments in the media.”
New Chief Announced
But that was back in February. Sheriff Salazar has recently appointed a new chief, Fidel Villegas, to fill the vacancy created when Chief Casillas retired. The new chief, Chief Villegas, retired from the San Antonio Police Department in 2015 but here’s the best part. He retired at the level of sergeant. What a surprise, the same maximum level that Salazar and Serrato were able to achieve. Which is also the lowest level of supervisor there is in law enforcement. According to the information put out by the Sheriff’s Office, Chief Villegas did work as the chief of the Floresville Independent School District Police Department but it doesn’t say how long he worked there or when. I don’t know when he fit that in but just as a reminder, the total population of Floresville is currently at 7,786. The school district would be much smaller.
Apparently he has also been the Police Chief of Converse. According to the San Antonio Express News,
“Villegas, who joined the force as chief in March 2016, turned in a one-sentence resignation letter Jan. 6 to City Manager LeAnn Piatt. He cited Jan. 17 as his final day with the force.”
Is this a clue? Was Floresville another one of these quicky jobs? What is happening with this man? Why is he running from jobs so quickly? Was being at a chief level too much for him?
Yeah, this man sure sounds like a real winner. But none of that seems to matters to Sheriff Salazar. In fact, it seems like this may be exactly what he wants. People with real knowledge and experience don’t seem to do too well under this administration. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office was being run by a couple of low-level sergeants from the San Antonio Police Department and now they’ve brought in another one. Is it any wonder why the Sheriff’s Office is in such a mess? At this point, I would rather have someone with real administrative experience over a large organization even if that person doesn’t have law enforcement experience.
Current Bexar County Jail Stats
The Bexar County Jail is at 111 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus. According to KSAT 12,
“To date, a total of 64 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, in addition to a total of 36 deputies, one video visitation civilian employee, one dispatcher, one laundry tech, one Bexar County facilities maintenance employee, one Bexar County fleet maintenance employee, one Aramark employee, and 5 UHS employees have tested positive for COVID-19.”