SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County Sheriff's Office has created a mental evaluation team in an effort to prevent inmate suicides, Sheriff Javier Salazar said Monday.
Salazar said the team of four deputies will work within the jail population, effective immediately, to aggressively seek out inmates who might be showing signs of mental issues. He hopes to add 12 more members in the future.
Two inmates took their own lives this year, both in October, Salazar said. In 2016, there were five suicides.
"There may not be conditions present at the booking process. And, so many times, it takes aggressively going into the jail population and actively seeking out people," Salazar said. "And of course, knowing what to look for, knowing some of the signs to look for, knowing what your resources are. But that's what these folks will be allowing us to do, is actually get into the population and be able to pull some of these folks out a little more proactively than what has been done in the past."
Deputies will travel to visit other law enforcement agencies across the state in a couple of weeks to learn how they run similar programs.