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New Directive: Bexar County Sheriff's Office Increases Training Time

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Joey Palacios
/
Texas Public Radio
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar speaks to a group of cadets on the first day of training at the Bexar County Shierff's Office Training Academy

Sheriff’s deputies will go from an annual 24 hours to 40 hours of training under a new directive from Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar. Additional hours will focus on many subjects, including community policing.

Law enforcement officers are required to undergo annual in-service training. Bexar County previously did a three day training session but starting Monday it’s being bumped to five days. The announcement comes three weeks after a bullet fired by a Bexar County Sheriff’s deputy killed 6-year-old Kameron Prescott. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said an increase in training hours has been in the works for several months.

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Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar

The additional hours puts the sheriff’s office on par with training instituted at the San Antonio Police Department and the district attorney’s office. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement only mandates about 24 hours but the extra 16 hours will give a deeper focus on topics like de-escalation of force scenarios.

“A little more reality based training, which really that’s the essence of the training. You’ve got to replicate as much of the stressors that are encountered in a real world environment,” Salazar said.

New cadets in the jail and on patrol will also receive additional weeks of training. Two of those classes also began Monday.

“One is a detention class, which is actually going to be an 11 week course for the first time,” Salazar said. “When I took over the sheriff’s office … that was a seven week course, we bumped it up to 10 weeks for 2017 but now we’re up to 11 weeks for 2018.”

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Credit Bexar County Sheriff's Office
A class list of the five day in-service training for law enforcement officers in the Bexar County Sheriff's Office

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office faced staff shortages leading to mandatory overtime for some employees. Salazar said when he began as sheriff in January of 2017, there were 100 detention officer vacancies.

“With this cadet class, that will bring us into the single digits,” he said. “In just a little over a year, we were able to plug all of those holes but the quality of the training we’re putting into those folks.”

Joey Palacios can be reached via e-mail at joey@tpr.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules