Leading SA: Bexar County sheriff discusses school safety, local crime, fighting fentanyl

Sheriff Salazar also discussed how BCSO is preparing for more possible human smuggling cases

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar joined Leading SA on KSAT’s GMSA Sunday to discuss recent crime trends around our area, fighting fentanyl, school safety initiatives, and the top priorities he’s implementing to crack down on crime in the county.

School Safety Task Force

The School Safety Task Force was formed up as kind of a pilot project. We picked, you know, two school districts that are adjacent to each other where we were seeing kind of an uptick in activities regarding drugs and weapons,” Salazar told KSAT anchors Max Massey and Sarah Acosta. “And so what we’re intending to do is work that area till the end of the school year. At the end of it, (we) gauge our metrics and see if it’s something that we want to take countywide.”

The sheriff says his department has been working with local districts to improve safety.

Northside ISD and Southwest ISD -- we have really great partnerships, both those police departments. We let them know that we were intending to come in if they wanted to have somebody work with us. And so, yes, the three agencies have been working together really, really well and seeing some results,” Salazar said.

Alerting parents about issues at schools

BCSO is working to improve its alerts to parents across our community of possible issues at schools.

“Locally, the drug that we’re seeing a lot with young kids is THC vape cartridges. You know, just so parents can educate themselves. We actually have a PSA that we produced on THC to let parents know what it is and what it looks like,” Salazar said. “The scary thing about this is it can look like anything, and it can smell like anything. Parents say, ‘Well, I never smell marijuana coming from their room.’ And this doesn’t smell like that. The effects of it are much, much higher.”

“It can be made to smell like cotton candy, perfume, potpourri -- things like that,” he continued. “But the really scary part about this is what we’ve seen kids are willing to do to each other to get this drug. We’ve actually seen some murders as a result of a $30 hit of THC cartridges.”

Fighting fentanyl in Bexar County

Salazar told KSAT another top priority for BCSO is fighting fentanyl, and the department has started implementing ways to tackle the issue.

“One of the things that we’re doing is that I, myself, have started teaching a course. It’s called ‘One Pill Can Kill.’ It’s DEA information that they gave over (fentanyl), plus we do a presentation. I have a couple of angel moms, moms that have lost children to fentanyl, and they come out, and they teach the course with me. We open it up to Q&A,” the sheriff said.

“To get one scheduled, we will come out to wherever you are, and the email that you can you can send an email to request one of these presentations is onepill@bexar.com,” he added.

BCSO preparing for more human smuggling cases

Human smuggling is always an issue for law enforcement in South Central Texas, and with Title 42 expected to be lifted on May 11, BCSO is getting prepared in case they see an uptick in cases.

From our federal partners and our state partners, we are hearing that it’s going to be an influx of folks coming in. And you know what that means is, is money for the cartels. They are making money hand over fist,” Salazar said. “Unfortunately, our current approach to it, I believe, is really just enriching the cartels. And we need to try to find a way to, you know, absolutely welcome folks that are looking for a better life.”

“But we also have to stop enriching the cartels to the extent that we have. The cartels are behind not just the smuggling issue that we’ve talked about but also the fentanyl issue that we talked about. And quite frankly, they’re behind a lot of our local crime that we’re seeing,” the sheriff added.

Watch the full Leading SA segment in the video player above. Click here for more Leading SA segments with local leaders.

About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.