New Precinct 2 Constable Vasquez says she wants to start with clean slate

'I want to make this office a better place'

SAN ANTONIO – New Precinct 2 Constable Leticia Vasquez said Thursday that she's still getting adjusted to her new office after a "really rushed week."

Vasquez, 25-year veteran of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, was sworn into office Wednesday after a judge cleared the way for the county to replace former and embattled constable Michelle Barrientes Vela. 

"From this day forward, I want to make this office a better place for (the deputies) and the community," Vasquez said at a news conference Thursday morning.

Michelle Barrientes Vela wishes replacement well, doubles down on sheriff's campaign

Barrientes Vela's name was removed Thursday morning from the front Precinct 2 constable's office and replaced with "Constable Leticia Rodriguez Vasquez." Vasquez will serve as constable until next year's election.

Vasquez's first order of business was to swear in the deputies that will be serving her and Precinct 2.

Deputies from Barrientes Vela's administration will remain on staff, and Vasquez said she'll open up some positions to new applicants.

"We're going to do this the right way," she said, adding that she still needs to get to know the deputies.

She named Leo Horton as her new chief deputy — saying starting with a fresh, clean slate is her first priority. 

"I need to get to know each (deputy), what their jobs are and what their roles are because I actually don't know what they do," Vasquez said.

EXPLAINED: What does a Bexar County constable do?

Anthony Castillo, a former precinct 2 chief deputy, and Marc Garcia, former precinct 2 captain — both of whom are under Texas Rangers investigation, along with Barrientes Vela — were not present on Thursday.

Vasquez said Garcia is on leave pending that investigation. She said Castillo's status is unclear and that he did not show up to work Thursday. 

Vasquez says she wants business to go about as usual — with no interruptions for the court and to make this office a better place for the community.

READ MORE: 10 controversies surrounding embattled Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela

Barrientes Vela had filed a lawsuit against the county in hopes of retaining her job after she triggered the state's resign-to-run law by announcing to KSAT that she planned to run for Bexar County sheriff last month. 

The law stipulates that elected officials who announce plans for another office with more than 13 months left in their current term forfeit their seat.

On Wednesday, a judge dismissed her lawsuit. Barrientes Vela responded by saying she still plans to run for sheriff in 2020.

Barrientes Vela first made the announcement that she would run for sheriff — triggering the resign-to-run law — while the FBI and Texas Rangers raided her Northwest Side offices. That investigation is still underway.

About the Authors:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

Azian Bermea is a photojournalist at KSAT.