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Commissioners approve active shooter training for downtown county workers, pledge to push for state gun reform

Bexar County Courthouse.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
TPR
Bexar County Courthouse

Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday approved active shooter training for downtown county employees.

Commissioners approved a plan to close major county buildings, including the county courthouse, justice tower, and justice center, for county workers to undergo active shooter training.

The training day on Feb. 24 will begin at noon. County offices will set up off site locations for the public to conduct county business.

Sheriff Javier Salazar said the exercise is needed to help ensure public safety in the wake of 38 mass shootings in 21 days nationwide.

"If you are among the three-million people who come through the doors of the Bexar County Courthouse, we got you covered. We got this,” he told commissioners.

In other action, commissioners reassured members of the Bexar County Gun Safety Coalition, composed of local community organizations, that county lobbying efforts to toughen gun laws this legislative session are underway in Austin, including a call for red flag laws to keep guns out of the hands of those most likely to do harm and to boost the semi-automatic purchase age from 18 to 21.

In other action, commissioners approved $2.9 million to pay for overtime staffing costs at the packed county jail. The county has budgeted $11 million for overtime for the fiscal year, according to County Manager David Smith. Around 731 inmates inside should be in state facilities but have not been picked up by the state.

County Judge Peter Sakai said county taxpayers are paying the tab, a practice that must stop.

“I ran on a platform of fixing things…and so we got to get this thing fixed. And so I need everybody aligned together and we got to save taxpayers’ money on this,” the newly-elected judge said.

Also on the agenda on Tuesday:

Commissioners approved a committee-backed national search process for a new county public defender. Michael Young has resigned from the post, effective the end of this month.

Commissioners approved a proclamation declaring it “Official Rodeo Season” and “Dress Western Day" on Feb. 9.

“I will break out my black cowboy hat and boots, so on February 9th you’re going to see an Asian cowboy walking around here. How’s that? That’s a little different, ain’t it?” Sakai said.

The proclamation was approved in the presence of San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo officials. They presented commissioners with official rodeo flags to help draw attention to the event on the grounds of the AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum from Feb. 9 to Feb. 26.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian