Cameron County Sheriff Asking for More Jailers

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CAMERON COUNTY--Cameron County's top cop is asking for help. Sheriff Omar Lucio says his department needs more funding to hire jailers.  The request is an effort to fill spots left vacant due to higher paying jobs. 

Samuel Ricardo Sanchez spent 14 years as a jailer in Cameron County. The Brownsville father of four says he loves his work and has his family's support.

"They worry a little bit, but not that much. A lot of prayers, a lot of prayers," he says.

Sanchez says in the last three years he's seen his co-workers leave The Valley for higher paying jobs. He adds they have not been replaced.

 "I would prefer to be out in the floor and work my eight hours on the floor. This way you establish a rapport with the jailers and also with the inmates. But due to the administrative side of my work, the paperwork that needs to be done and everything else that's required of me, I don't have that opportunity to be out there," he adds.

Sanchez says being short-staffed brings potential danger when dealing with today's inmates.

"In the old days, what I would like to consider myself an old school, there was a lot of respect. It was considered respect for respect. Nowadays the newer generations, they really don't have a lot of respect," he says.

To alleviate these concerns, Cameron County's Sheriff Omar Lucio is asking the county commission for more funding. He says the funds will allow him to hire 60 new jailers. Sheriff Lucio tells us his jail has lost 150 jailers to us government detention jobs. 

He says they receive a much higher starting pay of $25 an hour.  He adds he is now left with 255 jailers on staff to cover a lot of ground.

"Right now we probably have about 1,000 inmates. But our capacity is 1,500-1,600 inmates," says Lucio.

We spoke with Cameron County Commissioner Alex Dominguez. He tells us hiring 60 new jailers would cost the county close to a quarter of a million dollars. Dominguez says the county cannot make a decision on whether to hire the new jailers until it evaluates its budget later this summer. 

Sheriff Lucio says his department is always accepting applicants for the jailer positions. Lucio says you can apply at the Cameron County human resources department. It is located at 1100 East Monroe Street at the Dancy Building in Brownsville.


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