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Bexar County Sheriff Candidates Take Stage For The First Time

Four candidates running for Bexar County Sheriff took to the stage in the first debate for the general election Monday night.  The debate was hosted by News 4 San Antonio at the Tobin Center.

The four candidates are incumbent republican Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, Democrat Police Sgt. Javier Salazar, Libertarian Larry Ricketts, who is also a sergeant in the Precinct 4 Constable’s Office; and Green Party candidate and former Bexar County Sheriff's Deputy James Dorsey. 

One of the first questions asked was how to respond to deputies or detention officers who break the law themselves. Pamerleau said sometimes that can be the result of stresses on the job.

“We’ve instituted a chaplain program to provide spiritual and emotional support for our deputies. We’ve promoted the employee assistance program providing support for family issues. And we’ve made available crisis counseling for those involved in critical incidents.”

Salazar also mentioned stressors on and off the job. “It’s something that’s systemic that’s going on at the sheriff’s office and we need to address through a combination, recruitment of the right kind of folks, the right kind of training and the right kind of policies and procedures that are in place that send that message that it’s not acceptable,” Salazar said.

Ricketts said it comes down to training. “As a matter of fact I suggest giving more training to these deputies on their off time free of charge,” Ricketts said.

Dorsey says deputies in trouble would be investigated by a third party. “It would have to be someone that’s not a part of the jail, someone that is neutral to the citizens in the community,” Dorsey said.

The candidates also debated over body cameras, 9-1-1 response times, and jail suicides. 

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules