El Paso County Sheriff's Deputies Say Morale At All-Time Low

Sources told 11 News the El Paso Sheriff Terry Maketa has ordered mandatory "staff inspection" meetings, but these are different from previous meetings. Now, employees are being asked about morale.

The sheriff is facing possible lawsuits and calls to resign because of alleged affairs and misconduct.

A spokesman with the El Paso Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Jeff Kramer, said staff inspection meetings are a procedure that's been in place even before Maketa was the sheriff.

Although the policy doesn't list morale as a direct topic, Lt. Kramer said it's often asked about as it relates to equipment issues, assignments, and things that might be affecting work.

“Questioning deputies about morale is not a specific element of a staff inspection, but rather the dialogue between the inspector and the employee should surround the employee’s job knowledge,” Lt Kramer said in a written statement. “However, morale does come up in the context of operational issues which often affect morale; these common topics might include shift selection, days off, district/ward assignments, etc.”

11 News talked to a deputy who says he's been through the inspections before but has never been asked about morale and said morale is at an all-time low.

Tuesday, Maketa went before the county commissioners to address some of their concerns, and generally stated that things were going well. In late May, the commissioners had formally asked the sheriff to resign amid the allegations of impropriety.

Staff inspections are set up by the sheriff's Internal Affairs division and each division is inspected roughly every three years. The patrol division, whose commander is currently on administrative leave, last went through the inspections in 2011.

The deputy we talked to, who didn't want to be named, said the sheriff's internal affairs unit includes two sergeants and a lieutenant; all three are considered close Maketa allies.

Lt. Kramer said Maketa usually isn't immediately informed about which department is going through inspections. The reports are forwarded to the bureau chief level for review so they can consider any necessary changes, training needs and fiscal impacts.