Bexar County sheriff forced to make courthouse security adjustments amid budget cuts

16 part-time deputy positions axed

SAN ANTONIO – Effective Thursday, the positions of 16 part-time Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies tasked with providing security at the county courthouse complex entrances have been eliminated due to budget cuts made by the Commissioners Court.

“I feel like (commissioners are) using a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said Thursday.

Bexar County Commissioners discuss trimming courthouse security staff

The temporary problem, he said, is reduced traffic at the courthouse due to the pandemic.

Salazar said the loss of the 16 positions has created a “domino effect,” forcing him to trim the bailiff staff in some courtrooms.

“We’re having to pull that second bailiff out of some of those courtrooms and putting them downstairs to man a door,” Salazar said.

He said the changes would not compromise the safety of courthouse staff and the public.

“We’re gonna have to make do,” he said. “But it still does present some problems for us.”

Salazar’s Republican challenger in next month’s election, Gerald Rickhoff, said that he shares the sheriff’s concern for providing adequate courthouse security.

“I’m not privy to all the details, but anybody knows that if you reduce security, it becomes a soft target,” Rickhoff said.

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.