The Bexar County Sheriff Office is joining other departments
to push the state legislature to change a law that bars non-citizens from
becoming law enforcement officers.
Military veterans are among the best recruits and applying
for a job in law enforcement is a great career transition from the military.
The same career opportunity, however, is not an option for those veterans who
are not American citizens.
"Even as I served in the military, there are those who
are not citizens that served and if they did the job they are they not afforded
the job of the land that they are serving," said Armando Hernandez
The Texas Commission On Law Enforcement (TCOLE) will not
allow anybody other than a naturalized citizen to receive a license.
But Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar and other law
enforcement leaders are now in Austin trying to change that. They're testifying
before a state homeland security committee highlighting the importance of
tapping into potential workforce.
"We can't continue to ignore this sizable demographic,
that clearly by all accounts are suitable for this type of career, for this
licensure, but we are not able to reach out to these folks," said Sheriff
Sheriff Salazar says, he is backed by the Urban County
Sheriff's Committee within the Sheriff's Association of Texas, a committee
comprised of the top 12 most populated counties.
The Sheriff says, if any part of Texas is not as protected
as it should, the entire state suffers. That's why selecting from a larger
talent pool, is something worth fighting for.
Ron Tooke, President of the Deputy Sheriff's Association of
Bexar County agrees and is convinced that the military produces the best breed
of law enforcement officers, "As far as I'm concerned, the military has
already vetted you." said Tooke. "The military has long been the
premier trainer for specialized law enforcement operations from k-9 to bomb
disposable, you name it."
Sheriff Salazar is working with Fort Sam Houston military
officials to strengthen his case to allow legal permanent residents who have
served in the military apply for careers in law enforcement.