Bexar County Sheriff visits Laredo
The Bexar county sheriff left San Antonio to spend the day right here in Laredo today.
He was invited by Sheriff Martin Cuellar to evaluate the Webb county jail and share what he thought needed improvement.
The main goal for Sheriff Martin Cuellar seemed to be to show commissioners as well as the county judge that his concerns on jail improvements are valid.
He says he's not the only one that seems major problems that need to be fixed.
After hours of touring the Webb county jail, Bexar county sheriff Amadeo Ortiz ... says he knows exactly what needs improvement.
“This is not something that’s unique to San Antonio or to Laredo or Webb County these are issues being faced by jails across the country.”
A former jail administrator and deputy chief himself, Sheriff Ortiz says he's seen some of the same issues at the Bexar county jail, which houses over 5-thousand inmates compared to Webb's 500.
Despite San Antonio's problems being bigger in magnitude, Ortiz says it all boils down to three things: jail staffing, technology, and simply an antiquated facility.
Sheriff Cuellar says there are many doors within the jail that simply don't function anymore and haven't for more than ten years.
As far as staffing the Webb county jail, according to Ortiz should operate with 132 to 145 staff members right now only 108 are employed.
“We really appreciate them coming over and exchanging information are re-affirming what we believe was wrong with the jail. They confirmed it.”
After having identified the problems and bringing in another set of eyes to confirm what they've always believed officials say they're now hoping for the support of county commissioners.
“Unfortunately it does cost a lot of money and in hard times its difficult to get the money you need right away.”
Though times are tough, officials say a tightened budget shouldn’t compromise public safety.
“Commissioners court sometimes is reluctant to give up some of the money like i said we're talking about the safety of the community and inmates even though their inmates they have the right to be treated humanely that’s our responsibility.”
Both the Bexar and Webb county jails are around 21 years old.
Sheriff Ortiz says the purpose of the visit was simply to share information and ideas on what works best for the jail system.