BCSO gets additional funding to cover jail OT costs for second time in 2 months
Sheriff Salazar's latest request more than doubled first request in March
SAN ANTONIO – A long-standing manpower shortage at the Bexar County jail has forced the sheriff to seek more money to cover overtime pay for jailers.
Sheriff Javier Salazar asked County Commissioners Tuesday to approve more than twice the amount of overtime he requested just over two months ago.
On March 7, commissioners approved Salazar's request for 30,200 hours of overtime through June 2.
Tuesday, commissioners approved Salazar's request for an additional 65,000 hours for mandatory overtime worked by jailers to carry them through the end of September.
"Yes, the money is almost at its end of what we asked for last time, and so we're asking for additional monies," Salazar said. "It's doubled because it's a longer time period we're asking for, so really there's no cause for concern." Salazar's request was significantly higher than what former Sheriff Susan Pamerleau asked for last year.
Commissioners approved her request for 17,075 hours in July 2016 and an additional 15,000 hours last December.
Salazar said despite ongoing efforts to increase manpower, he's still short about 100 officers.
"We're undertaking an aggressive recruitment campaign that we're seeing some good results on. In fact, our last cadet class we just started this past week was one of the largest since 2010," Salazar said. "Now, we'd prefer to have that manpower issue eliminated and be paying our officers straight time instead of time and a half, but it's something we're willing to do. We're willing to come to commissioners court, and thankfully they've been helpful in it."
In addition to hiring new recruits, Salazar said he's reaching out to former deputies who left in recent years.
"We're certainly catering to those that felt like they left here before they were ready, or they felt like they had some unfinished business, and we're happy to open our doors to those folks. We are being selective, we're not bringing just anybody back. We are making sure we are reviewing disciplinary records and leave banks before they left just to make sure we're not bringing back an old problem."
Salazar said he's also looking to free up space in the jail by putting more inmates on house arrest and using GPS tracking to keep tabs on them.
CONT. COVERAGE: Salazar requests authorization for 15,000+ hours of mandatory OT
At the same time, he's also expecting a spike in the jail population thanks to work being done by the violent crimes task force.
"It's a joint effort between BCSO and SAPD, and we're out pursuing violent felons on the street on a nightly basis, and of course our jail population is reflecting that," Salazar said. "So it's not necessarily a bad thing, but we are seeing that number spike and I'm afraid we haven't seen it spike as high as it will for the year."
Even so, the sheriff said he did not anticipate having to ask for additional funding for overtime before the end of September.
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