Action 4 Investigates Officers in Trouble
Thu, 19 Aug 2010 23:47:27 GMT —
They TMre trusted to protect the public and to live by the laws they enforce.
But an Action 4 News Investigation revealed that dozens of Rio Grande Valley jailers and law enforcement officials found themselves on the other side of the law over the past 12 months.
Among the cases are:
Jailer Dennis Garcia, Hidalgo County Sheriff TMs Office, DWI, June 2010
Deputy Ramon Aguilar, Hidalgo County Sheriff TMs Office, Child Molestation, April 2010
Jailer Jose Rivera, Cameron County Sheriff TMs Department, Soliciting a Prostitute, March 2010
All these crimes were allegedly committed this year and all without notice to the general public.
Action 4 News first went to the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office to find out why the allegations against Garcia and Aguilar were never released to the public.
"I have no idea, Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevio said of the cases. Things happen here so rapidly, and we are so busy, that sometimes we just can't cover all our bases."
Sheriff Trevio did say that informing the community about charges against his staff is a base that he usually covers, but the cases for Garcia and Aguilar slipped through.
He said the public should have been informed.
"The public is really our bosses, said Trevio, They pay us with their tax money, so they have every right to know exactly what we do and what we don't do."
Action 4 News asked Hidalgo County officials and confirmed that Ramon Aguilar no longer works as a deputy, but learned that Jailer Dennis Garcia kept his job.
Sheriff Trevio said he has a two-strike policy when it comes to his staff and alcohol-related charges.
Cameron County Jailer Jose Rivera, on the other hand, no longer works at the jail after getting arrested for soliciting a prostitute in Brownsville back in March.
When Action 4 News asked Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio why the public was not let in on Rivera TMs charges, Lucio said he didn't know about it. "It is my policy that if one of my deputies or jailers does commit a serious crime or felony, Lucio said. I am open and above board and will let the media know."
If a Texas jailer or peace officer gets into trouble with the law, they are triple requirements to report it to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards, also known as TCLEOSE.
The peace officer, the agency he works and the law enforcement agency that made the arrest are all required to report the arrest to TCLEOSE.
Records obtained by Action 4 News show at least 50 reports of jailers and peace officers being arrested in the Valley through the first 10 months of fiscal year 2010.
Those reports make up nearly nine-percent of all reports to TCELOSE in Texas even thought the Valley makes up five percent of the Lone Star State TMs population.
Reports of Arrests of Jailers or Peace OfficersFiscal Year Texas Valley Cameron Hidalgo Willacy Starr 2010* 567 50 13 31 3 3 2009 661 39 15 20 1 3 2008 486 11 5 6 0 0
* - Reports from September 1, 2009 through early June 2010
Source:Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards