SAN ANTONIO – Watch the KSAT Investigates report on the Nightbeat at 10.
Bexar County Sheriff’s deputies have lost out on more than $680,000 in accrued leave each of the past two years, internal records obtained by KSAT Investigates show.
The relinquishing of so-called “use it or lose it” time is the latest sign of staffing woes that are plaguing the law enforcement agency.
“We’ve got people working in the jail right now that are pushing 80-90 hours a week. On top of that, they’re not getting time off because they can’t,” said Lt. Ron Tooke, president of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of Bexar County.
Deputies losing vacation time has long been an issue for the county, but first reached the six-figure level in fiscal year 2019 and has been rapidly increasing ever since.
This fiscal year, detention and law enforcement deputies combined to relinquish more than $242,000 worth of time, county records confirm.
Holiday time, according to the same records, is an even more pressing issue.
Deputies first began losing accrued holiday time in fiscal year 2020, and they gave up more than $511,000 worth of this type of leave in fiscal year 2021 alone, the records show.
“It’s an unfortunate byproduct of the fact that they’re working so much, that they’re not able to take time off to be with their families,” said Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.
Salazar in recent years has triggered a section of the collective bargaining agreement that allows deputies to carry over holiday leave in excess of 144 hours to the next year.
In multiple letters sent to County Manager David Smith announcing that he was granting the exception, Salazar implored Smith to treat other types of leave accruals in