Anyone who wants a job as a Bexar County detention officer will have to stay out of trouble.
The Bexar County Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday that potential applicants cannot have certain prior arrests on their records following an important change to the Deputy Sheriff - Detention Cadet job description.
The job description now reads:
No prior arrest records for: driving while intoxicated, driving while impaired, no possession or trafficking of illegal narcotics or drugs, assault, stalking, family violence, theft, crimes of moral turpitude, or sexual offenses. All applicants must not have had any prior discipline which involves a violation of the uniform code of military justice (non-judicial punishment).
The change comes on the heels of the latest employee arrest.
Dispatcher Vanessa Flores, 39, was arrested over the weekend for drunk driving. It was her second DWI while working for the agency.
"To me, it shows a pattern of behavior," says Sheriff Javier Salazar.
He hand-delivered her termination papers.
"It's important for me to make that point: that I'm the one taking the strong stance here," Sheriff Salazar says.
Flores is the 21st Sheriff's Office employee to be arrested this year.
"We're trying to change some pretty deep-seated cultural things that are going on," Sheriff Salazar says. "And not just cultural to the Sheriff's Office. But cultural within law enforcement. But cultural to this area. We know that culturally-speaking here in Bexar County, DWI is an issue. Family violence continues to be an issue. And it's not something I can just allow to come into the Sheriff's Office."
He says he's not sure when the job description rules were relaxed, but says it's high time to tighten them up.
"If it comes down to working a bit short or bringing in the wrong kind of people - opening the floodgates and hiring just anybody - I'd rather work a couple of people short," Sheriff Salazar says.
Meantime, the search for an agency psychologist is underway and the supervisor system within the jail is being overhauled to provide workers with more individual oversight.