Military and Police

Texas Deputies Will Not Get Improved Body Armor – Sheriff Uses Illegal Aliens As Leverage

“The sheriff’s obstruction of receiving life-preserving equipment for her cops is reprehensible. Does she really believe resisting the arrest and deportation of people in the U.S. illegally supersedes her responsibility to her deputies?”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, recently did the political equivalent of yelling “5-O!” at illegal alien thugs hanging out on a street corner when lookouts see cops coming. Well, the California mayor has a partner-in-crime in, of all places, Texas.

While the Oakland mayor defied ICE by aiding and abetting criminal illegal aliens who prey on her legal (and peaceful but illegal) residents, Travis County, Texas Sheriff Sally Hernandez displays her apparent affection for criminal illegal immigrants by denying her deputies upgraded, life-saving body armor specifically to protect illegal aliens.

What kind of sheriff (or mayor) does this?

When I was a rookie, a veteran officer offered me this profound observation: he told me the worst stress cops would face wouldn’t come from the blood, guts, vomit, or injuries. It wouldn’t come from the verbal abuse or the lack of respect and appreciation they’ll experience. Instead, officers’ greatest stresses would come from their own city and police administrations. He was so right.

(Credit: Facebook/KXAN)

According to KXAN (Austin), “Travis County Sheriff’s Office deputies will not receive rifle-resistance vests because Sheriff Sally Hernandez will not commit to hold all arrested undocumented immigrants for deportation.” You know, when I was on the job, I don’t remember being allowed to cherry-pick for enforcement what laws I liked and didn’t like. The leftist city leaders did (and do) that all the time, but the cops were only allowed not to enforce laws the leftists didn’t like.

Texas legislators approved a bill, unanimously, authorizing $23 million dollars to equip Texas law enforcement officers with improved ballistic vests that are rifle-round resistant. Lawmakers approved the funding due to the 2016 Dallas massacre of five police officers by a gunman who took his own life. Ironically, the shooter ambushed and murdered the officers while they were protecting Black Lives Matter demonstrators.

The funding will provide 33,000 modernized ballistic vests to 450 law enforcement agencies.

(Credit: Facebook/KXAN)

KXAN reports that Sheriff Hernandez refuses to “sign a letter confirming compliance with ICE detainer requests both now and during the grant term of at least one year.” She is refusing to sign despite a Travis County report indicating “Officers are [now] equipped with bullet-proof vests, which only protect against low-caliber ammunitions. Type III & Type IV body armor would provide officers with protection against high-velocity rounds.”

The report also states, “body armor purchased with this grant will protect officers that are involved in future shootings that involve high-velocity firearms.” Couldn’t one of those “future shootings…” be tomorrow? This is important, right? Well, it is to the deputy and his or her family.

Hernandez’ hang-up is over the 2017 Texas legislature passing SB 4 that required sheriffs to enforce ICE detainers and hold suspected illegal arrestees for the feds for possible deportations. This is otherwise known as refusing to assist the federal government with a constitutional duty to protect our national borders, which is clearly within its jurisdiction.

(Credit: Photo courtesy of ICE via Wikimedia Commons)

In response to the Texas law, anti-ICE illegal immigration supporters sued the state. The case is in the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals awaiting a ruling. It will likely wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court regardless of the outcome. Reportedly, the sheriff said she will sign the letter if the law is upheld. Don’t we have to ask what could happen to a deputy in the meantime?

Again, from KXAN: “a spokesperson from the sheriff’s office says Hernandez is complying with SB 4 but has no plans on signing the letter. If SB 4 is struck down in the future, they will revert to their old policy and only hold people arrested for very violent crimes [emphasis mine].” Wouldn’t you like to be in the room to hear how these public safety stalwarts distinguish between (merely) violent and “very” violent illegal immigrant criminals?

Rich Emberlin, writing on, puts the issue into stark perspective, “One of my closest friends, the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, once told me, ‘In the military, you deploy for six months and then come home to safety. Police officers are deployed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.’”

The sheriff’s obstruction of receiving life-preserving equipment for her cops is reprehensible. Does she really believe resisting the arrest and deportation of people in the U.S. illegally supersedes her responsibility to her deputies? Law enforcement officers know anything can happen at any time—mostly because it does. Is there, right now, a bad guy with the name of one of her deputy’s scrawled on a rifle bullet?

Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including Is There a Problem, Officer? and the upcoming De-Policing: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. He served as a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and as a precinct mountain bike coordinator. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys riding his Harley and hiking and cycling with his wife who is also an English major as well as a retired firefighter.

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