After a first term marked by jail and staffing challenges, Sheriff Javier Salazar acknowledges the problems that beset his department but points to progress being made. He must, however, defeat four Democratic challengers in the March primary to have a chance to win reelection in November.
The four Democratic candidates running against Salazar cite erroneous releases from the jail, detention officers working mandatory overtime, deaths of jail inmates, and a spate of deputy arrests as signs that Salazar has not run a tight enough ship.
“The arrests that occurred – those are symptoms of a systemic problem,” said José Treviño, sergeant investigator at the Texas Attorney General’s Office, at a candidate forum earlier this month. “From the administration, we need to bring accountability from the top. While we don’t condone the behavior, we need to look at the whys.”
Candidate Pete Lozano, who worked at the Texas Department of Public Safety for 23 years before retiring, said he was disappointed with the way Salazar has handled deputies’ arrests for an array of alleged offenses, including domestic abuse and DWI.
“If one of the deputies got into trouble, Sheriff Salazar didn’t take any blame and has not taken any blame for that misfortune [or] violation of the law,” Lozano said. “He’s always blaming everyone else for the way that the sheriff’s department or office has functioned under his watch.”