Former Bexar County clerk seeks to replace current sheriff

Gerry Rickhoff says administrative experience makes him great fit to be law enforcement leader

Gerry Rickhoff says he plans to use his experience in county government to bring about changes

SAN ANTONIO – After serving decades in county administration, former Bexar County Clerk Gerry Rickhoff wants to switch gears.

“Law enforcement isn’t a political position. This is about competency,” Rickhoff said. “I believe that my 31 years of professional administrative experience is what the jail needs right now. I believe patrol and the security of the courthouse also depend on that.”

The Republican candidate downplayed the fact that he’s never been a peace officer and said civilian leadership of law enforcement is a tradition in America.

“Let me remind your viewers that the secretary of defense of this great democracy is a civilian by the constitution that we live by. Also, the chief of police, here, Chief McManus, works for a civilian leadership,” Rickhoff said.

Rickhoff on Tuesday criticized Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar’s 3.5-year tenure, saying he believes Salazar’s employees and constituents have lost faith in him.

“There’s been escapes from the jail, suicides. People have been released. We had the death of an Afghan veteran not so long ago. That was very disturbing to this community,” Rickhoff said.

The combat veteran Rickhoff is referring to is Damian Daniels, who was shot by a deputy in late August during a mental health call.

Salazar said before the shooting, Daniels tried to pull a weapon from his waist. Salazar released still photos of the incident but not the full body cam footage.

“If you’re going to release all of it that’s fine. But you don’t release parts of it to subject potential jurors to bias,” Rickhoff said.

If elected, Rickhoff pledges to be transparent.

“I would have to consult with the district attorney to make sure that we don’t compromise any of the investigative details of the case. But if it’s open to the public, so the public should have it,” Rickhoff said.

On Wednesday, KSAT plans to give Salazar a chance to respond to Rickoff’s comments and say why he feels he deserves to be re-elected.

About the Authors:

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.