By Julye Keeble at the Uvalde Leader-News, Jan. 10, 2021
Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco, who took office Jan. 1, is restructuring the sheriff’s office in hopes of providing more coverage as the county deals with a rash of car chases related to human smuggling in addition to all law enforcement duties.
“I had to go back and look at this, and restructure the department and start back with the foundation,” Nolasco said. “These calls that we are getting, these cases, are taking us away from being able to provide our everyday law enforcement patrol for our residents.”
Nolasco and Sgt. Joaquin Ibarra estimate there are about two chases a week, and eight a month coming through the county.
Nolasco also plans to partner with community residents, and hopes the community will embrace the department and be comfortable reaching out out to deputies and reporting crimes.
“It’s very important that our citizens connect with out deputies.”
By rearranging the patrol division, Nolasco created two additional slots for deputies, which he hopes to have work from 3:00 PM to 3:00 AM to provide additional county coverage once the positions are filled.
He plans to create a hiring committee that comprises area citizens to help fill open slots.
“I’m not here to fill spots just to fill them up, I want to make sure that we get the right candidate. I’m thinking about our residents, they need the right law enforcement.”
He said though there are positions still open in the department, he is proud of the hard work his staff is doing to ensure public safety.
“I’m very blessed to have experienced, knowledgeable deputies and correctional officers who are looking forward to serving our community,” Nolasco said.
Nolasco said his goals include fostering community communication and transparency, and allowing all who are qualified a chance to attain employment or promotions in the department.
He will have two lieutenants assisting him in his endeavors in lieu of a chief deputy.
“My office will have two lieutenants. Brandon McCutchen, with 18 years of experience, will oversee patrol and its daily functions while Fred Ratliff, with 41 years of experience, will oversee courthouse security and its bailiffs and our administration division,” Nolasco said.
The sheriff’s office currently has two sergeants and 14 patrol officers, plus an investigator.
Ibarra and JJ Vera are the patrol sergeants, while Gilbert Valdez remains an investigator.
“One of my goals also is to create a narcotics division but, like I said, I’ve got to start with the foundation,” Nolasco said. “If I don’t have a strong foundation then we’re not going to be able to build a strong office.”
Hector Luevano and Gilbert Ibarra have been hired as bailiffs, working at the Uvalde County Courthouse.
Former investigator Andy Davila is now the civil process officer. At the Uvalde County Jail, former assistant jail administrator Ronnie Byrd is now interim administrator while the position is open to applications. Former jail administrator Matthew Mitton has retired.
“I have been in contact with the U.S. Marshal’s Western District Office (Del Rio Office) and they are excited about our partnership and will renew the federal inmate agreement upon expiration of the current one,” Nolasco said.
Nolasco, the first Republican sheriff in recent history, recently attended the New Sheriff’s Leadership Institute Conference held in San Marcos and is looking forward to other seminars to continue remaining conversant with law enforcement training.
See the original article: https://www.uvaldeleadernews.com/articles/nolasco-reorganizing-sheriffs-office/