Internal emails illustrate BCSO manpower woes

Currently 92 vacancies in BCSO detention division

SAN ANTONIO – An email exchange between Bexar County Sheriff’s Office chiefs and Sheriff Susan Pamerleau details a familiar problem within the department: a lack of manpower at the jail.

“Manpower is a challenge on all shifts,” one of the emails, sent Wednesday, stated.

One email in the chain reads “detention is in great need of help,” and “the main jail also exhausted its MOT (mandatory overtime list).”

The MOT list is made up of deputies who are on call when the need arises.

The emails urge deputies within the department’s law enforcement division to volunteer to fill gaps at the jail in exchange for compensatory time instead of pay. 

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office’s chief communication officer, James Keith, said because of rules set by Bexar County commissioners, they’re given a limited amount of money to use for overtime.

“When that money is gone, you have to go to comp time instead,” Keith said.

Keith attributes the need at the jail to the annual increase in inmates during the summer months. There were 3,764 inmates in jail Thursday. Last year, there were 174 fewer inmates around the same time.

The sheriff’s office has also seen a decrease in deputies.

“Since January, we've lost 14 deputies to other agencies here in town,” Keith said. “The problem that we have with our facility is pay, and that's just the reality.”

Keith said law enforcement deputies who fill gaps at the jail are not being pulled off the streets. They work extra hours or on their time off.

“It doesn’t matter if we have five inmates or 3,800 inmates,” Keith said. “They have to be cared for and watched over. When you don’t have enough people to do that, you have to take other measures.”

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