SAN ANTONIO - Sexual assaults, hazing and official oppression are all accusations against members of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. KSAT 12 sat down with Sheriff Javier Salazar to talk about what he called a longtime culture in his department and why he believes more arrests could be on the way.
There has been story after story of Sheriff’s Office employees accused of breaking the law. Salazar said he anticipated this might happen because of a change he made, starting with a public integrity unit. Deputies started investigating their own.
“When I found it, I didn't have a public integrity unit. To me, that was like somebody telling me I didn't have a homicide division. It just didn't make sense to me,” Salazar said.
While the sheriff may have expected some wrongdoing in the department, it doesn’t mean he expected the severity of what was to come. Allegations against employees include hazing and officers beating, handcuffing and even using a stun gun on each other at a party.
Salazar said hazing may have been part of the Sheriff’s Office culture.
“There’s indicators that hazing behavior has existed here for decades because it has. I'm not going to deny it, but it takes a little bit of resolve to look everybody in the eye and say, ‘It stops today. And it's not going to happen here ever again and I mean it,’” Salazar said.
Salazar said more arrests and allegations are inevitable, but he said changing a culture and a few bad seeds won’t define the Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re an organization that’s not afraid to hold our own accountable,” he said. “We're not afraid to arrest our own deputies and employees if and when the time comes. I’ve also got another 1,400 to 1,500 dedicated officers that are doing it the right way, every day.”
Salazar said he gets angry that these types of incidents happened, but he’s not frustrated. He said he knows exactly what needs to be done.
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