SAN ANTONIO - The Bexar County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday announced the dismissal of seven of its employees -- six law enforcement officers and one dispatcher -- in less than a week.
Sheriff Javier Salazar elaborated on the circumstances of the employee firings:
- Deputy Adrian Parra: Parra was fired Friday after he was found to be drunk while on duty, Salazar said. According to the sheriff, Parra was on limited duty assignment at the training academy.
- Deputy Joseph Martinez: The sheriff said Martinez was fired Friday due to a pattern of misbehavior. Martinez was involved in the 2017 Special Emergency Response Team hazing scandal and was subsequently arrested in September 2018 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. He is also accused of assaulting at least two inmates, which the sheriff said he forwarded to the district attorney's office for investigation. READ MORE
- Sgt. Wesley Anderson: Anderson was fired March 18 after he allegedly "sucker punched" someone in an H-E-B parking lot in August 2018. The case is being handled by the San Antonio Police Department. READ MORE
- Deputy Michael Fernandez: Was served a proposed notice of termination after he was found guilty of tampering with evidence. Fernandez was accused of assaulting an inmate in June 2016, then lied on the incident report, writing that he had inadvertently struck the inmate's face with his hand. READ MORE
- Cpl. Ryan Ferrell: Ferrell was served a proposed notice of termination Monday after he was arrested Sunday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Ferrell was involved in an off-duty street brawl in June 2017 and involved in the 2017 SERT team hazing scandal. READ MORE
- Probationary deputy Loyd Mickens: Mickens was fired Tuesday after authorities learned he was involved in an assault that occurred at a North Side apartment complex over the weekend, the Sheriff's Office said. While the San Antonio Police Department initially responded to the incident, the Sheriff's Office said it took over the case because Mickens was an employee of the Sheriff's Office. According to Salazar, Mickens became uncooperative with internal affairs investigators and was subsequently terminated.
- Dispatcher Vanessa Flores: Salazar said Flores was fired Friday for "a pattern of concerning behavior," adding that "several of these cases were with regard to alcohol." Flores was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in October 2018. Prior to the October arrest, Flores was arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2011, but the charge was reduced to obstruction of a highway. READ MORE
Salazar said that all aside from Mickens have some recourse to their proposed and final termination orders.
"They can go the civil service route. They can go to the civil service board and appeal their case. That civil service board can rule either way -- they may direct us to give them their job back. There's also an arbitration proceeding that can occur. They can go straight to an arbitrator and that arbitrator may rule that we have to give these people their job back," Salazar said, elaborating on the options the employees served with final orders of termination have.
He said that should any employee need to be reinstated, they will be monitored.
"Whatever the ultimate process is, I will respect it, I will abide by it," Salazar said. "If I am forced to take some of these folks back, you bet we're gonna be watching them."
Jeremy Payne, vice president of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Bexar County, said he believes more compassion is needed when dealing with disciplining employees.
“For a lot of people, it takes something like a DWI or something like that to bring the attention to, 'Hey I have a problem.' The question is when (one comes to) the realization of 'Hey, I have a problem,' do we reach out and help? Or do we cut ties?” Payne said.
Salazar mentioned several programs in place at the Sheriff's Office, including various types of counseling for those dealing with issues. He said in the aforementioned cases, those fired didn’t take advantage of the resources, and now it’s too late.
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