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Third Party Candidates Give Voters Others Options For Bexar County Sheriff

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The four-way race for Bexar County Sheriff includes Libertarian and Green Party candidates who’ve run before for the office.  They have a lot less campaign money than their Democratic and Republican opponents, but each thinks his law enforcement experience qualifies him for the job.

All four Bexar County Sheriff candidates will debate live this afternoon at 3 p.m. on The Source.

Seventy-one-year-old Libertarian Larry Ricketts is no stranger campaigning. He’s been running for sheriff for 20 years.

“Every four years I’ll file to run because I have a passion to take care of the men and women that’s working in the department so that we can better serve the citizens of Bexar County.”

This is the first time Ricketts has made it onto the general election ballot. In previous elections he’s run on the Democratic and Republican Party ballots but lost in the primaries. Ricketts is a Vietnam veteran who joined the Army in 1966.

“I had 850 troops under my control and I’m proud to say I didn’t lose any people.”

Since leaving the military Ricketts has worked in county law enforcement of 27 years. He worked in the  Bexar County Jail monitoring inmates in the late '80s and early '90s.  Now he works in the Precinct 4 Constables Office in public affairs. He claims a high number of deputies and jail staff are leaving the sheriff’s office.

“Officer retention is the biggest problem I see right now,” he says.

He blames Republican Sheriff Susan Pamerleau’s overtime policy which  requires jail staff to work 48 hours per week. Ricketts says that doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

“After you work 16 hours a day you’re tired. It’s mostly the women that are quitting because they have a family to get home to. And if they’re working a double shift they’re not seeing (their) family.”

Ricketts, the Libertarian in the race,  says if elected he could raise morale in the sheriff’s department,  retain officers, and stop what he says is a heavy influx of crime.

“When I take over here, criminals are going to start going to other counties. They’re not going to want to be here.”

In addition to facing Pamerleau the Republican incumbent, and Javier Salazar, a Democrat, Ricketts is opposed by a fourth candidate.

Fifty-four-year-old James Dorsey is running on the Green Party ticket. He is a sergeant in the South San School District.

“I’m the most qualified candidate in this race and I run on the Green Party ticket for one reason: because in my past I ran on the Democratic ticket and I think I’ve had a problem getting out of the primary. So now, therefore, I’m running on an independent ticket so that I can give the voters another choice.”

Dorsey is a Louisiana native who came to San Antonio in 1985 as a military serviceman based at Kelly Air Force Base.  He counts his military career in security services as law enforcement.

“I protected everything from the president down. I’ve been in law enforcement since I joined the military. The military is no different than any civilian law enforcement. The only difference is that we work on the federal laws and the law enforcement work on the jurisdiction they is, whether it be the city or county.”

Dorsey worked in the Bexar County Jail just about a decade ago and left the sheriff’s office in 2013. He joined the South San Police Department a short time later. He’s also concerned about mandatory overtime for jail staff.

“Most officers say they leave the jail because of the fact that they cannot get time off to spend time with their family, they can’t take care of family needs, as far as medical or whatever reason they need to leave the jail to take care of business.”

Dorsey says this election is not about party affiliation but who can do the best job.

“This is not about what party you’re associating with. This is about the individual that is stating what they can and cannot do to make this county safer, to make this state safer, to make this country safer, we have to get out of our party boundaries and think outside the box.”

It’s an uphill battle for these third party candidates running for sheriff.  But Ricketts and Dorsey hope that because of their law enforcement experience voters will give them a second look.