Heads are rolling at the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, as Sheriff Javier Salazar makes top level changes following a series of high profile incidents in the department in the last several months, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Salazar says Deputy Chief Ruben Vela, who was the Administrator of the Bexar County Jail, was asked for his resignation, and when he declined, he was fired.
Vela had been on suspension after three unauthorized releases of inmates over the past several weeks. Over the weekend, Salazar announced that the jail had failed its annual state inspection, and a new jail administrator has been named.
Also leaving the Sheriff's office is Chief Deputy Don Tijerina, who is a long time associate of Salazar. Tijerina is retiring, effective at the end of March, but Salazar said he did request Tijerina's resignation.
“In light of current and pervasive issues, this agency needs swift and decisive management," Salazar said. "These former members of Command Staff, while they served this agency well during their many years of service, are no longer part of my strategy and vision moving forward. It is my commitment to the citizens of Bexar County to provide them with the most effective public safety services possible. Personnel changes are a difficult yet necessary part of the overall long term goal in helping me to lead this agency well into the future.”
In addition to the problems at the jail, Salazar has been bedeviled by arrests of deputies and civilian staffers on charges ranging from drunk driving to domestic assault, to a civilian records clerk who was recently charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child.