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Salazar on boat controversy: Be kind and respect everyone

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar/Screen Grab-Sheriff Javier Salazar Facebook Page

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar took to social media Wednesday morning to clear the air and set the record straight about a controversial donation from a local business that kicked off a public squabble with the Commissioners Court.

You can read the full open letter at the end of this article.

The open letter asks the public to stop harassing public officials, condemns the harassment they have received and attempts to give more context to the issue at the center of the controversy.

“Yes, we disagree, but I hate to see anyone treated that way,” Salazar said. “My family and I have been on the receiving end of it ourselves before and it’s never fun. Can we just stop?”

In the light-hearted open letter, Salazar notes he was on vacation with his family at the time the letter from Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff was made public.

Veteran-owned Black Rifle Coffee Company donated $32,000 to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Foundation for the purchase of a boat for marina search and rescue operations.

On Monday, Wolff sent a letter to Salazar informing him he will not allow the use of donated funds for a boat because of social media commentary by the donor and internet discourse.

Salazar requested in April to use $20,000 in donated funds to purchase a search and rescue boat.

The commissioners court asked the sheriff to come back with more details before deciding one way or the other.

“The first time I presented the issue in court, it was to ask them to ACCEPT equipment donations from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Foundation (BCSF) with money that had been donated and secured already,” Salazar wrote. “I wasn’t asking for more money. Commissioners asked for more information before approving the acceptance. I’m in the process of answering those questions before we go back to court. To clarify, I’m going back to court with the boat item at some point, but my intent is to go back with a plan that won’t cost taxpayers.”

Salazar says that Bexar County is one of the only counties in the state without a boat or SCUBA team. He went on to say that there were multiple drownings in neighboring counties where some victims were local from Bexar County and Schertz.

“As a Dad, my heart breaks for their families. As a Sheriff, I wish we could have done more to help,” Salazar wrote. “Media reports indicate there are record drownings in the area. That, coupled with what I’m sure will be a crazier than usual hurricane season have me more than a little worried. We have waterways in SA, and we’ve had some close calls just this year. I hate to say, but it’s just a matter of time. I promise we are moving as fast as we can to procure equipment and training, but everyone please stay safe on the water.”

Salazar also implored that people “please stop” harassing Wolff and Commissioner Trish DeBerry.

“In my opinion, words like what Judge Wolff describes to me in his letter should never be directed at anyone, ESPECIALLY a lady,” Salazar said. “Although she’s a public official, Commissioner Trish DeBerry is a lady and should be treated as such at all times. She’s somebody’s Mom and somebody’s daughter, y’all. Would we want our Mom or daughter subjected to that? No, so please stop. You can disagree with her, but don’t be ugly.”

He also defends Wolff’s right to disagree but makes a simple request: “Like every other elected official, he has my personal number, and can absolutely call me any time of the day or night. Just don’t send me a letter while I’m at the beach. LOL.”

Here is the full letter posted to Facebook:

Obviously, I’m kidding. OMG, what is going on in SA, guys? Driving back today from a too quick vacation at the coast with my family. A little sunburned and a little lighter in the wallet. Yes, I was there to unplug and relax a bit, but couldn’t help keeping up with what is going on in social media world and in the news. Can we please stop?

-Judge Wolff and Commissioner DeBerry are being treated a bit harshly by the comments. Yes, we’re elected officials with thick skins. Yes, we disagree, but I hate to see anyone treated that way. My family and I have been on the receiving end of it ourselves before and it’s never fun. Can we just stop?

-In my opinion, words like what Judge Wolff describes to me in his letter should never be directed at anyone, ESPECIALLY a lady. Although she’s a public official, Commissioner Trish DeBerry is a lady and should be treated as such at all times. She’s somebody’s Mom and somebody’s daughter, y’all. Would we want our Mom or daughter subjected to that?
No, so please stop. You can disagree with her, but don’t be ugly.

-Judge Wolff and I don’t always agree. That’s what elected officials do. It doesn’t mean we hate each other. With that being said, please lay off him as well. Do I wish he’d called me instead of pushing out that letter? Yes. Do I agree with everything in it? No. But Judge Wolff has served our community for 50 years. Please show him the respect he deserves. Although I don’t always agree with him, he has an absolute right to address things with me. He and my Dad are the same age, and both of them still get after me pretty frequently. Both come at me hard sometimes. I don’t take their heads off. I still love and respect them both dearly. Leave the Judge alone, guys. Like every other elected official, he has my personal number, and can absolutely call me any time of the day or night. Just don’t send me a letter while I’m at the beach. LOL

-Jarred Taylor and Black Rifle Coffee Company (BRCC) are NOT at fault here. These guys, whom I never met before that now infamous press conference, stepped up to help our Bexar County Sheriff’s Foundation (BCSF) with equipment to help safeguard our community. They can’t be held responsible for comments made by anonymous folks on Jarred’s personal page. Jarred didn’t say anything wrong. BRCC didn’t say anything wrong. Although Jarred and I absolutely agree the language is pretty darn offensive, there is still a First Amendment.

-Speaking of the Constitution, we owe our freedoms to the generations of veterans who fought to protect them. The guys at BRCC are just that-military veterans. If you haven’t read up on them and their company, do so. Mat, Jarred, and everyone there are former Special Forces-card-carrying-bad-a$$es. Along with all veterans, we owe a lot to these guys. Aside from their public service and great coffee, they continue to serve by giving back to the community. They support Law Enforcement-bottom line, which makes them #1 in my book. I will forever cherish and support them as well.

-BRCC are one of several entities that stepped up to help the BCSF, to include HEB, philanthropist Kym Rapier, The 100 Club, and other charitable foundations. There’s also some giants in the SA business community who are pledging support. Several individual citizens have stepped up to help as well. We are eternally grateful to ALL of them!

-It’s a shame this has come to be such a controversy. At the center of the unnecessary controversy is DONATED EQUIPMENT. It’s FREE. I have NEVER asked Commissioners for money for this boat. The first time I presented the issue in court, it was to ask them to ACCEPT equipment donations from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Foundation (BCSF) with money that had been donated and secured already. I wasn’t asking for more money. Commissioners asked for more information before approving the acceptance. I’m in the process of answering those questions before we go back to court. To clarify, I’m going back to court with the boat item at some point, but my intent is to go back with a plan that won’t cost taxpayers. Although Judge Wolff offered in his letter, I don’t intend to ask for any money for the boat, equipment, training, storage, maintenance, anything. And we’re using existing deputies and reserve deputies, not asking for more personnel. This is why the BCSF was created, along with others like it created by other Law Enforcement agencies across the country. LE foundations are to buy equipment for agencies that don’t want or can’t burden taxpayers with. We have already used ours to buy K9 vests and equipment for our Honor Guard, Mounted Patrol, and Pipe and Drums Corps. In the near future, we’ll be using it to equip our young BCSO Explorers as they start learning about their future career. I also plan to build a Tactical Medic program, to help our deputies save more lives on the streets. Stay tuned…

-Do we need a boat? I believe so. BCSO is probably one of the only major Sheriff’s Offices in the state without one. I hear we used to have one many years ago, along with a SCUBA team. We don’t have them now, and I’m working to bring both back. Just this week, there have been several drownings in the area. Although they were in neighboring counties, I would have been honored to send deputies to help in the searches. At least one of the victims was a Bexar County resident, so yes, it affects our county directly. He died saving his children, and a young lady who helped also died. Another of the victims is from Schertz, near where I live. As a Dad, my heart breaks for their families. As a Sheriff, I wish we could have done more to help. Media reports indicate there are record drownings in the area. That, coupled with what I’m sure will be a crazier than usual hurricane season have me more than a little worried. We have waterways in SA, and we’ve had some close calls just this year. I hate to say, but it’s just a matter of time. I promise we are moving as fast as we can to procure equipment and training, but everyone please stay safe on the water.

-So, that about sums it up. Everybody chill a bit. Be kind. Respect everyone. Love our veterans. Hug your kids. Respect your elders. Take a vacation if you can. We are on the road today and I’ll be back at work on Thursday, minus the scruff on my face. It’s too gray anyway.


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