SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar took the oath of office in the first few minutes of 2017, just as he barred a handful of former Sheriff Susan Pamerleau staffers from secure parts of the sheriff’s office.
In a letter, titled “NO-ACCESS to BCSO FACILITIES ORDERS,” Salazar listed 10 people who “are not permitted in any secure or non-public areas” of the sheriff’s office, effective at midnight. Captains and lieutenants were told to inform personnel they supervise.
“That was an administrative formality that we put out just to ensure that all security measures are going to be followed,” Salazar said.
The list of names on the no-access order includes former Sheriff Pamerleau and nine of her appointees. All have moved on from the agency, except for two that were the subject of a legal challenge last week: Capt. Tammy Burr and Lt. Henry Reyes.
Burr and Reyes, who’ve served the agency a combined 41 years, were among Pamerleau’s deputy chiefs. They were the only two rank-and-file members promoted to serve on her command staff.
Pamerleau demoted them to their original ranks prior to leaving office, citing Texas law that states: “At the time a new sheriff takes office, an employee holding an exempt position may be transferred to the nonexempt position held by the employee immediately before being promoted to an exempt position.”
Salazar has said all members of the sheriff’s leadership team should lose their jobs, regardless of their history with the agency.
“In my opinion, (Burr and Reyes) are not civil service protected,” Sheriff Salazar said, “and so they were not retained along with the rest of the command staff that came.”
DA, UNION LOOKING AT TERMINATION QUESTION
District Attorney Nico LaHood said his office is taking a look at the case, although he wouldn’t comment further.
The Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Bexar County is also involved, according to president Juan Contreras.
“We have to do our job as a union and look at all the issues that are involved, and we are currently discussing that with our legal right now,” Contreras said.
RECRUITING FORMER DEPUTIES
As Sheriff Salazar cuts ties with at least two deputies, he says his team will be reaching out to former employees who’ve left recently to learn their reasons.
“If it’s something that they might consider coming back, we’ll see about maybe improving some of the conditions and bringing them back to the sheriff’s office to recoup some of that investment that the taxpayers may have lost when they left the sheriff’s office,” Salazar said.
The new sheriff has yet to name his leadership team, but he says his first day – Monday – will be a long one.
“Not only am I working my first shift as the sheriff, I’m working my first mandatory overtime shift after hours,” he said, adding he won’t ask his deputies to do anything he won’t.
PROUD FATHER: ‘NOT IN MY WILDEST DREAMS’
Placido Salazar, the sheriff’s father, spoke during the inauguration Sunday evening at the Cadena-Reeves Justice Center.
Afterward, he handed out photos of his son in uniform to friends and family, saying: “Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine what was in store for the Salazar family, what God had in store for us.”