Voters in Bexar County are being asked to decide not only a sheriff’s race but whether or not criminal allegations against the sheriff are real or the usual election season politics.
District Attorney Susan Reed has called on the Texas Rangers to determine if Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz ordered reserve deputies to provide security at his campaign functions under threat of losing their commissions, the San Antonio Express News reports today.
The famed Rangers notified Ortiz they would not begin an investigation until after the Nov. 6 election pitting the first-term sheriff, a Democrat, against Republican Susan Pamerleau, Manuel Longoria, his chief deputy, told the Express News.
Longoria waved off the allegations, telling the newspaper he thought Reed’s request was politically motivated. In other words, don’t pay attention to stories done by San Antonio’s KSAT-TV.
A KSAT reporter in early June got ahold of an e-mail calling for 10 reserve deputies to provide security for Ortiz’ primary election victory party May 21.
The station later videotaped the reserve deputies at work and interviewed Ortiz, who said there were no legal or ethical problems because the deputies volunteered and were not paid.
Four of the reserves confirmed on camera in a follow-up story that they were, indeed, not paid. They were not, however, volunteers, but conscripts told the department would withhold working credits required by the state to maintain their peace officer licenses.
Longoria says there was no coercion, only encouragement to donate time to community service.
Voters will not have the benefit of the Texas Rangers’ investigative prowess to decide who is and isn’t telling the truth and whether or not it ought to affect whose box they check for Bexar County sheriff on election day.
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or email@example.com or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.
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Photo of Texas Ranger badge via Texas Parks & Wildlife website.