New BCSO deputies relieve department staffing lows
Sheriff Salazar delivers stern message to new officers after 2 deputy arrests
SAN ANTONIO – One of the biggest graduating cadet classes in Bexar County's history is relieving staffing issues within the Sheriff's Office.
After two deputies landed behind bars this week in separate offenses, Sheriff Javier Salazar is getting strict with new deputies. He's sending a message to the entire department and even to recruits.
Thirty new sheriff's deputies will all soon start new jobs as detention officers at the Bexar County Jail.
"The experience was a blessing in itself," said former Airman Ryan Pruden, who was part of the new graduating class.
He described the 10-week course as intense.
"The whole experience prepared us for what’s to follow: Discipline checks. Were you disciplined enough to study? Did you put forth the effort? Uniforms, carrying yourself. All of those lessons were basically life lessons," Pruden said.
The most memorable part of the training was the group by his side.
"My class itself (is) a very dynamic group and we're all excited to get out there and serve the Bexar County community," he said.
Salazar is expecting a lot from Pruden and his classmates.
"We've seen some of the cases recently where officers aren't necessarily holding themselves accountable, so we need to make sure these officers understand that they need to be holding each other accountable, as well," Salazar said.
Just in the last week, two of Salazar's deputies were arrested. Deputy Michael Pena was arrested on a family violence charge and Deputy Michael Magana was arrested for DWI. Both are on administrative duty.
"We've been really trying hard to recruit not just numbers. We need to get the right kind of folks into this profession and these kids here really make us all proud," Salazar said. "We certainly want somebody that’s got, yes, the skill set of a warrior, but we want them to have the mindset of a guardian. We want to make sure they’re able to work within a team."
Salazar said he's giving a very specific instruction to the officers.
"Making sure your fellow officer is doing the right thing, and if they’re not, we need to be prepared to report that," he said.
With one of the department's largest graduating classes, Salazar is filling spaces and relieving pressure.
"We've got a huge manpower issue that this really does help," Salazar said.
Another class of 32 cadets started courses this week.
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