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Pamerleau Says Hiring Emergency Is Leveling Off, Other Priorities Get Attention

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Eileen Pace

Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said the overtime problem at the county jail is just about a thing of the past.

Pamerleau asked for an additional $500,000 in late January to cover overtime hours that had backed up due to understaffing before she took office. She asked for another $500,000 last month to continue paying overtime as she worked on filling vacant slots through training and hiring new detention officers.

"We need to get to the point to where we have the same number of faces as we have spaces," Pamerleau said.

With that problem almost behind her, Pamerleau said she’s eager to focus on other parts of the county’s growing law enforcement needs, such as court security and street patrol.

"Outside the city limits there are more than 250,000 people, and that growth has happened over the last 10 years. In less than five years the county outside the city limits will grow to over 400,000," she said.

Hiring new faces was part of the short-term plan for staffing. The sheriff got the court's okay in January to work with the county auditor on part two of the plan - a staffing study to determine the needs for the jail and throughout the 19th largest county in the nation.

County commissioners were prepared to pay an outside firm to do the study, but changing it to an internal process is expected to save the county about $250,000.

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.