SAN ANTONIO - UPDATE: The Bexar County Sheriff's Office said Heriberto Alejandro Rivera has resigned from the Bexar County Sheriff's Office instead of undergoing an investigation.
Sheriff Javier Salazar released the following statement:
“This former employee has chosen to end his BCSO career rather than undergo an investigation. I wish him my best with any issues he may have had that led to this incident.”
An off-duty Bexar County sheriff’s deputy arrested early Tuesday morning on suspicion of driving while intoxicated is now facing a drug charge after police found a pipe in his car that contained "hash oil" residue, the sheriff confirmed.
Heriberto Alejandro Rivera, 25, was taken into police custody around 2:15 a.m. in the 6400 Northwest Loop 410. According to a preliminary report, Rivera struck a concrete barrier as he was being pulled over by police.
Rivera is facing a state jail felony charge of possession of a controlled substance under one gram and a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated.
Salazar said that because of Rivera's drug charge, Rivera will be required to submit to drug testing immediately after he is released from jail. If the deputy tests positive for narcotics, Salazar said he will seek immediate termination. Should the deputy refuse to submit to drug testing, Salazar said he will seek to immediately terminate Rivera's employment on grounds of insubordination.
The Bexar County Sheriff's Office said Rivera is currently assigned to the Law Enforcement Bureau Patrol Services Division. Rivera will be placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of both administrative and criminal investigations.
During a Tuesday press conference, Salazar said that since 2009, deputy arrests have been in the double digits and that this year, numbers have been higher due to the Sheriff's Office's "proactive approach." Rivera is the 23rd deputy to be arrested this year.
"Shortly after taking office, I established the Public Integrity Unit -- built it from the ground up," Salazar said. "I gave them a directive to seek out -- and root out -- and rip out misconduct. And we've done that and we continue to do that."
Salazar said that he's doubling down on efforts to root out corruption and misconduct, adding that some deputy arrests occurred as a result of sting operations which he authorized. He said the rising number of deputy arrests will not deter him from continuing those efforts.
"If I get information that somebody's breaking the law either in my jail -- or on duty or off duty -- they're going to be taken to jail and they're going to be terminated as soon as I'm practically able to," Salazar said.
The Sheriff's Office has partnered with Alcoholics Anonymous to teach a course and has volunteers with Mothers Against Drunk Driving visit with deputies, Salazar said. He added that while he doesn't think the majority of his deputies have a problem with alcohol, it could be argued that "one is too many."
"The number of (deputies) that we've had arrested in any given year indicates that, as an agency, we've got issues with alcohol," Salazar said. "I'm not afraid to confront that. I'm not afraid to argue that point."
Salazar said that prior to Rivera's arrest, he was working with his assistant on an email to send to his staff ahead of the holidays to inform them of the number of sober ride options they have.
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