Bexar County approves 140,000 hours overtime pay for sheriff’s jail deputies

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said staffing issues and inmates who shouldn’t be in jail are behind the 140,000 hours of overtime pay for deputies. Commissioners court approved the overtime pay Tuesday, June 21, totaling $5.6 million that will cover deputies working in the jail from April to September.

This is the third time this year Salazar has requested the approval of overtime pay. Commissioners approved 68,912 hours in January and 67,753 in April. The current budget for overtime in the jail is about $8 million. The sheriff’s office anticipates using 335,629 hours this fiscal year, or an estimated $13.5 million, which far exceeds the budget. 

“I only half-jokingly call us the ‘elsewhere county jail’ because it seems that we’ve always got a certain segment of the population that should be elsewhere but they’re not,” Salazar said. 

There are hundreds of inmates in the Bexar County jail that need mental health or drug addiction treatment, Sheriff Salazar says.

There are hundreds of inmates in the Bexar County jail that need mental health or drug addiction treatment, Sheriff Salazar says.

Ray Whitehouse, Staff / San Antonio Express-News

Salazar said its because the county jail has inmates that should be in mental health facilities and drug treatment centers. In total, the jail had about 4,500 inmates this year, according to agenda documents. The Bexar County Adult Detention center has a capacity for over 5,000 inmates

For comparison, he said that last year there were 544 inmates that should have been in either one of those facilities and this year there are almost 800 inmates.

For those that need to be in treatment facilities, Salazar said that breaks down to 291 inmates that should have mental health beds, 56 awaiting psychological evaluation, 194 awaiting drug addiction treatment, and 245 found incompetent to stand trial so it hasn’t been  determined if those inmates are guilty of the crime they’ve allegedly committed.

Salazar said that there are also 267 inmates awaiting to be transferred to a prison and 89 of those are parole violations. 

Salazar says the sheriff’s department is also facing a shortage in staff, an issue the department has faced for the past 12 years. In 2021 the jail lost 255 employees to resignations, terminations, and retirements. The department has lost 72 employees this year. Salazar said the sheriff’s office has hired about 120 new employees and 72 in the pipeline waiting to be hired. 

Anywhere from 550 to 600 staff members have or will work the jail per week this year, but 824 staff members are required, according to agenda documents. 

The sheriff’s office has a private consultant that is currently evaluating the jail standards and is building a report that is set to go before commissioners sometime in July. 

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