EPCSOA, County Sheriff dispute plan to civilianize jobs

Richard Wiles

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Officers’ Association is still fighting with County Sheriff Richard Wiles to ensure that certain positions within El Paso jails don’t become civilianized. On Tuesday,  both parties met with an arbitrator to present their case on whether or not certain positions should be civilianized.

As we reported, the association filed a lawsuit against the county sheriff and the county back in August saying his plan violates the union’s contract. In October, a county judge denied a temporary restraining order against the sheriff hiring civilians for jail jobs.

“By replacing the detention officers with these clerical personal it allows the officers to go back up on the floors to do the job that they are trained and paid for,” says Sheriff Wiles.

Wiles has civilianized eight positions, but the association is still fighting to ensure that no more jobs are taken from their officers.

“He wants to put civilians in those positions because it costs him less but by doing that he’s breaching the contract that he entered into on behalf of the county that says that they will not get rid of any positions that a detention officer is currently in,” says President of EPCSOA, Robert Horstman.

The sheriff says it’s not about taking job away from deputies but saving money for the county.

“You know it’s hard to pay that much money for someone to do paperwork, I mean it’s just really a waste of county resources,” Sheriff Wiles says. But the association still disagrees.

“Right now currently they may not be losing their jobs but there is the potential that one of my officers loses his livelihood, can’t provide for his family because they are putting a civilian in that position that an officer used to have,” Horstman says.

The arbitrator will finish listening to closing arguments on Tuesday night. A ruling will be announced 30 days from April 26.