3 BCSO sergeants placed on leave after erroneous releases back at work

Two inmates released, rearrested in less than a day

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter, Sal Salazar - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - UPDATE: The Bexar County Sheriff's Office said the three detention sergeants who were placed on leave after two inmates were erroneously released from the jail 13 hours apart last Thursday are back at work after they were cleared criminally. 

The Sheriff's Office said discipline for the sergeants is still pending and the case remains ongoing.

(Previously)

Three detention sergeants with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office are on leave after two inmates were erroneously released from the jail 13 hours apart on Thursday.

Sergeants Joseph Ward, John Garcia and Stephanie Flores have all been placed on a 10-day administrative leave, a BCSO spokesman confirmed to the KSAT 12 Defenders on Friday. 

RELATED: Inmate back in custody after being mistakenly released, BCSO says

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, in a press briefing Friday afternoon, said "drastic changes" must be made by Salazar in order to fix the recurring problem.

"I don't know why these guys are making so many mistakes," said Wolff. "He's just gotta get his act together over there."

At least 12 inmates have been mistakenly released this year, following a wide range of booking errors, including mixing up inmates with the same name or forgetting to put on a GPS monitoring device.

MORE: Sheriff investigating erroneous inmate releases as potential sabotage by frustrated jail staff

Wolff, who was sharply critical of Salazar's decision to not hire a professional jail administrator, called the current issues inside the facility a "crisis situation." 

Salazar said Friday afternoon that he already has a professional jail administrator, Deputy Chief Avery Walker, and that the jail chief in place when he was elected came from a for-profit prison out of state.

"What was here before was someone with a background in for-profit prisons from another state, from Florida to be exact. That's not something that interests me," said Salazar, referring to former jail administrator Raul Banasco.

WATCH: Sheriff Javier Salazar holds press conference to address issues at Bexar County Jail

Salazar also called the for-profit prison system "morally repugnant."

It remained clear on Friday evening that he and Wolff were still not on the same page as to how to move forward.

Wolff said he requested that Salazar begin a national search for Walker's replacement and that Walker could be reassigned within the agency.

Salazar said he had no interest in reassigning Walker within the agency.

On Thursday morning, detention officers released suspect Esequiel Hernandez, 57, before making the necessary arrangements with Haven for Hope as part of his release.

Hernandez was rearrested more than four hours later near General McMullen and West Commerce Street.

On Thursday evening, incorrect bond documents caused booking staff to accidentally release inmate Erica Morales, 32.

She was located hours later, across the street from the jail, after deputies had checked multiple addresses associated with Morales.

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