Bexar County Sheriff Launches Community Liaison Program
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announced Monday it has created a team of community liaisons to establish working relationships with culturally diverse communities.
The sheriff’s office has appointed specific officers to maintain relationships with the LGBT community, to the military, faith-based groups, and ethnic communities throughout the county. The community and internal liaison program have been in effect for about a month.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said the initiative aims to understand parts of the community that sometimes can be marginalized.
“Quite frankly, in some countries — other parts of the world — you get a knock on the door in the middle of the night from police, and people may never see you again, and so that’s one of the cultural things we’re constantly dealing with, and I know these folks will help us bridge that gap,” he said.
Salazar says the program will help educate the sheriff’s office about the cultural beliefs and protocols of different communities.
“We’re hoping this group will give us so much more capability of reaching out into the community but also other ways of bringing the community in,” he said.
There are 12 deputies, sergeants or lieutenants assigned to be liaisons. One of them is 17-year BCSO Sgt. Kathryn Brown, who is serving as the liaison to the African American community.
“I have two African-American sons and they have certain reservations about the direction in which our relationship is going with the community,” she said. “I felt that it was time, especially with the sheriff implementing this for me to get on board so I can go back to the communities and educate them in terms of how to interact with law enforcement in the event they do get stopped, what to say, what not to say, how to conduct themselves.”
Sgt. Stephanie Flores is one of the managers of the project, serving as the LGBT liaison. She said it’s a means for deputies to find cultural connections in the department.
“We want to connect ourselves and bridge the gap between our community and different diversity of the communities but also within the (BCSO) as well with our officers. We want to make sure they also have someone they can relate to,” she said.
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules