Bexar County Commissioners discuss trimming courthouse security staff

Sheriff suggests considering other options

SAN ANTONIO – Trimming the courthouse security staff was among the suggestions made during a Bexar County Commissioners budget workshop, a suggestion to which the sheriff took strong exception.

The halls of the Bexar County Courthouse and Cadena-Reeves Justice Center are virtually empty since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March.

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Bexar County Manager David Smith took note of the empty halls when he addressed Commissioners Court and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar during a budget workshop on Thursday as they discussed security staffing in both buildings.

“We recommend nine vacant court security positions be deleted for, I think, obvious, reasons,” Smith said.

“The problem is cutting those positions and leaving them temporarily is a permanent fix to a temporary problem,” Salazar said.

The sheriff said other options should be explored.

“I don’t know that cutting law enforcement positions, at this point, is the best thing to do”, Salazar replied. “I would ask for permission to maybe redirect these folks, albeit temporary, to our recruiting effort.”

Salazar added that the buildings will not stay virtually empty forever.

“When COVID comes to an end, I’ll have to turn around and rehire all those people,” the sheriff said.

There is one more budget workshop scheduled for next Monday before the budget is formally adopted the following day.

About the Authors:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.