Mental Health Transportation Turned Over to Sheriff
Sep 9, 2013 at 4:22 PM CST
Sep 9, 2013
The Webb County Sheriff’s office is requesting from the commissioners court to take over transporting mental health patients between hospitals, but Constable Rudy Rodriguez's office has been providing this service for years and is questioning why the sheriff's office wants to take this away from him. It was a hard fought battle inside the commissioner’s courtroom Monday afternoon. Constable Rudy Rodriguez questioning why after three and a half years of transporting mental health patients, the sheriff’s office is requesting to take over. "The way I feel it's like a political retaliation." The constable said his officers are the only ones who are all trained to transport and losing the mental health transportation will mean losing seven officers. But why does constable Rodriguez feel it's retaliation? "This is my opinion. Last year, they gave Sheriff Martin Cuellar a position, a director of transportation paying over $60,000 a year. Within 10 months they weren't able to hire anybody. All of a sudden two months ago they hired commissioner Tijerina's husband as a director. To me, it's a retaliation to where they are trying to justify for his salary." But the sheriff’s office said that is not the case: "I believe very strongly we have been having issues with this for the last year in reference to transportation. The sheriff's office has put together a team for transportation. We actually want to assist the constables office in that matter but we need everybody to be together and work on this." After over an hour of debate, commissioners voted to transfer the mental patient transportation responsibilities to the sheriff’s office.