SAN ANTONIO - Members of the Deputy Sheriff's Association of Bexar County began casting ballots Friday morning in a "no confidence" vote of Sheriff Susan Pamerleau.
"This vote is a direct request from the membership to the executive board due to the morale amongst the rank and file being lower than under any prior administration," association president Juan Contreras said in a statement. "The sheriff has made it her priority to publicly humiliate every officer of the Sheriff's Office based on accusations rather than convictions."
The statement said officers have been forced to work 16-hour shifts, which has contributed to low morale.
Pamerleau, who is running for re-election, did not have an opponent in the Republican primary.
She is awaiting an opponent in the Democratic runoff election between Javier Salazar and Andy Lopez.
The DSABC has endorsed Salazar for sheriff.
Ballots can be cast in the "no confidence" vote through May 1.
The Sheriff's Office responded to the vote, saying it supports the association's right to "vote and express any concerns members may have."
The full statement reads:
"The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office supports the DSABC’s right to vote and express any concerns members may have. It’s worth noting DSABC leaders have endorsed another candidate for sheriff, even though DSABC President Juan Contreras stated in an open letter to the public in December that the group would not make any endorsements until contract negotiations concluded.
"Instead of name-calling, and block-walking for other candidates, we invite Mr. Contreras and DSABC leaders to once again focus on contract negotiations. Sheriff Pamerleau and her leadership team are waiting at the table."
Contreras said late Friday the endorsement of Salazar was not done solely by him. He said it was the decision of the membership DSABC per its constitution.
Salazar sent the following statement for use in this story:
"I'm proud of the endorsement I earned from the DSABC in my campaign for Sheriff. Having spoken to hundreds of deputies, as well as with DSABC leadership, I understand there is a high degree of frustration with the current administration. I look forward to the opportunity to work with the DSABC and with the men and women of the BCSO to nurture a positive working relationship. We will work together, and with other law enforcement agencies, to make Bexar County a safer place to live, work, and play."
KSAT 12 is waiting on a statement from Lopez for this story.
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