"To Protect and Serve the People of our South Texas Communities"
La Salle County
Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Miguel A. Rodriguez
La Salle County Courthouse, 101 Courthouse Square, 
Cotulla, Texas 78014; (830) 879-3044
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IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, CALL 9-1-1

December 2, 2016

Larry Griffin, 1941-2016


A MEMORIAL SERVICE will be held for retired Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Warden Larry Griffin at 2 p.m. Saturday, December 3, in the Larry Griffin Emergency Management Center, 247 Mars Drive, Cotulla.

Befitting the gentleman

Game wardens of the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife and troopers of the Texas Highway Patrol joined the La Salle County Sheriff's Office and county constables Friday, December 2, in a lighted motorcade escort from Laredo to Cotulla for retired TPW Game Warden Larry Griffin, who died Wednesday, November 30. Officers lined the street in front of the Peters Funeral Home in Cotulla in a salute as Griffin's ashes were returned. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 at the Larry Griffin Emergency Management Center on Mars Drive in the Las Palmas Development Park, Cotulla.    

November - December, 2016

A time of gifts:
Holiday season begins with drive

Christmas Cheer for Children provides toys to needy children during the Christmas Season. 
The organization relies on donations from businesses and community members to provide these types of gifts every year. 
This year, the organization has partnered with the La Salle County Sheriff's Office to help collect donations for the worthwhile cause.

Donation boxes are now open at Family Dollar, Dollar General and Shopko Hometown Cotulla

Donations continue through Monday, December 12

December 1, 2016

We bring you joy and sparkles...

La Salle County Courthouse maintenance staff member Cris Galvan hangs the first of many new ornaments on the county's latest Christmas tree Thursday, December 1. The tree is an 11-ft Noble illuminated by more than 500 LED bulbs and will be on public display in the building's second-floor lounge through the holiday season.

November 22, 2016

A time to dine...

La Salle County Commissioner Jack Alba and Sheriff's Office administrative clerks Tina Alba and Amanda Carbajal were among the hundreds of county employees and elected officials, firefighters and law enforcement officers who attended the annual Thanksgiving luncheon, held Tuesday, November 22 at the Martinez Park Pavilion. A barbecue meal was catered by Cowpokes of Pearsall.
           (For more images, see 'PHOTOS')

November 22, 2016

Preserve, protect
and defend...

La Salle County Judge Joel Rodriguez is joined by Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez on Tuesday, November 22 in administering the oath of office to the county's newest reserve deputy, David Gutierrez. The Hebbronville native is a graduate of the police academy at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi and has a twenty-year law enforcement career behind him, including service as a sergeant with the Jim Hogg County Sheriff's Office and as a special investigator for the district attorney's office. He expects to serve as a peace officer for La Salle County at public functions and community festivals and will provide law enforcement support during the county's annual Wild Hog Cook-Off in March.

November 18, 2016

Place your bids...

La Salle County Sgt. Rickey Galvan serves as auctioneer for the sale of more than 20 cars, trucks and vans by the La Salle County Sheriff's Office in the county impound yard on North Main Street in Cotulla on Friday morning, November 18. The sheriff's office grossed more than $29,000 in the sale, proceeds from which are used to purchase law enforcement equipment.
       (For related images, see 'PHOTOS'

November 17, 2016

Everyone welcome at the Thanksgiving table

La Salle County government staff, firefighters, paramedics and law enforcement joined community members Thursday, November 17 for a traditional turkey luncheon at the Elderly Nutrition Center in downtown Cotulla.

November 14, 2016

La Salle County commissioners have delayed making a decision until a meeting later in November on whether to order a 90-day burn ban that would make all deliberate outdoor fires illegal.

The ban would include holiday bonfires, trash fires and campfires. Consideration of the order was listed on the agenda for Monday, November 14, by the commissioners' court but has since been postponed, according to County Clerk Margie Esqueda.

The order would be made following a recommendation by the Texas Forest Service, which determines whether conditions are ripe for fast-moving wildfires that could devastate homes, farms and other property and threaten livestock.

A countywide burn ban may also include a ban on aerial fireworks, rockets and other projectiles commonly used during New Year celebrations. Commissioners will also decide whether to ban firework sales during the holiday period.

A ban on outdoor burning and fireworks will apply only to unincorporated areas of La Salle County; the cities of Cotulla and Encinal have their own ordinances covering the use of fireworks. Violators are subject to prosecution in local justice of the peace or municipal courts.

As part of their deliberations, commissioners are likely to take into consideration current weather conditions and forecasts as well as the growth of tall grasses and brush in the aftermath of a rainy spring and summer. Those plants may ultimately provide fuel for wildfires and therefore pose a serious risk to county citizens' safety, according to the forest service.

COURT VIEWS 
NEW BURN BAN

90-day order would make all fires,
holiday fireworks illegal in La Salle

November 11, 2016

A celebration of service

The city of Encinal hosted a Veterans Day ceremony on Friday morning, November 11 to celebrate the service to country by all former members of the US armed forces. Present for the occasion were La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, Mayor Sylvano Sanchez, City Hall administrators and staff, members of the Encinal Police Department and La Salle County Fire Rescue, Justice of the Peace Frank Weikel, administrators Cody Graham and Bartley Grimes of the La Salle County Regional Detention Center, and local veterans.                                     (Photo courtesy of Encinal City Hall) 

November 10, 2016

Honoring our Veterans

La Salle County veterans of the US armed forces gathered at the Las Palmas Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Cotulla on Thursday, November 10 for a special ceremony in advance of Veterans Day, with special honors to World War 2 veterans Santos Galindo and Ralph Boeker (Photo above, front, L-R), who were presented with gifts and applauded for their service to country. Present for the occasion were (Back row, L-R) American Legion Post 409 Commander Paul Niaves, Veterans Service Officer and La Salle County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Rickey Galvan, Sheriff's Lt. Mike Bostwick, Sheriff's Deputy Eddie DeLeon, ET Page, Wayne Daughtrey, and Sheriff's Deputy Israel Cantu. (For more images, see 'PHOTOS')

October 31, 2016

Who you
gonna call?

La Salle County Sheriff's Office Administrative Assistant Amanda Carbajal and Victims' Advocate Rosario Morales make up half the county's Ghostbusters squad in a guest appearance at the Cotulla ISD PEP Center on Thursday morning, October 31, where they joined courthouse staff Cris Galvan and Crystal Esparza in helping distribute goodies to the youngsters.            (For related images, see 'PHOTOS')  

October 31, 2016

Safety first...
In costume

Children, staff and parents at the A-1 Kids First Center in Cotulla celebrated the facility's Harvest Festival with a costume parade on Monday morning, October 31, with treats and playtime, photo opportunities and a visit from La Salle County Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson, who gave a brief presentation on neighborhood safety and "Stranger Danger"; and La Salle County Cpl. Anthony Zertuche, who demonstrated his patrol unit to help remind the youngsters that law enforcement officers are there to protect the citizens.
(For related images, see 'PHOTOS')

October 28, 2016

Lessons learned...

La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez and Encinal Elementary School Principal Louisa Franklin were among the speakers at a special presentation in the school on Friday morning, October 28, covering Halloween safety tips to ensure an accident-free celebration for the youngsters. Public Information Officer Marc Robertson addressed precautions that children should take before going Trick-or-Treating, and reminded them to have all candy and treats checked by an adult. Also present to help distribute goodie bags were Sheriff's Office Captain Joey Garcia and Lieutenant Mike Bostwick.
(For Safety Tips, see 'FEATURES'

October 24, 2016

Red Ribbon Week Messages

The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office, County Constable and the US Border Patrol joined forces Monday, October 24 to give presentations to students at Encinal Elementary School and Ramirez/Burks Elementary School in Cotulla with a focus on the meaning of Red Ribbon Week and its anti-drug message. Speaking on the topics of law enforcement and drug traffic intervention, USBP Assistant Patrol Agent in Charge Lee Allbee discussed the variety of tasks that agents carry out to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the United States and their other duties related to smuggling intervention. La Salle Investigator Homar Olivarez introduced students to his K9 Unit, a drug-detecting dog called Ben, who is able to identify concealed narcotics. La Salle Constable Rene Maldonado gave a similar demonstration in Encinal with his K9 Unit, Ellie. La Salle Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Marc Robertson addressed the students on topics related to Red Ribbon Week and Halloween safety. Each of the presenters reinforced the anti-drug message to students and encouraged them to pledge to be drug free, to report crime, and to set examples of citizenship in their community.

October 22, 2016

The La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and the US Drug Enforcement Administration co-hosted a National Pill Take-Back Day event on Saturday, October 22, with a booth in front of the county courthouse at Veterans Park in downtown Cotulla.

All members of the public were able to bring unwanted or expired medication – prescription or over-the-counter – for proper disposal. Medication included pills, capsules, suppositories, powders, herbs, ointments, lotions, syrups and liquids. Officers hosting the booth allowed the public to drop off unwanted medication anonymously; no one is asked to show prescriptions for any items being dropped at the collection station on Pill Take-Back Day and no ID is required.

The event is aimed at removing potentially hazardous materials from homes and preventing dangerous drugs from being mistaken for other medication and accidentally ingested, and from reaching the hands of children. Last year, collection stations in the Laredo area gathered close to 2,000 lbs. of discarded medication. Pill Take-Back Day is planned semi-annually for La Salle County.    

Pill Take-Back event encourages proper disposal of meds

October 20, 2016

Lighten
our darkness

Cotulla High School members of the National Honor Society shelter their candles against the evening breeze outside the La Salle County Courthouse on Thursday, October 20, during a commemorative vigil hosted by the Wintergarden Women's Shelter and the La Salle County Sheriff's Office as part of an ongoing awareness campaign during October's designation as Domestic Violence Awareness & Prevention Month. The annual candlelight vigil included speeches by Victims' Advocate Rosario Morales, District Attorney Rene Pena, Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, Pastor Mark Linares, domestic violence survivor Sandra Garcia, and representatives of the Women's Shelter. The event was attended by law enforcement officers and emergency responders, community residents, students, teachers, healthcare and service providers, elected officials and children's advocates.                                                          (For more images, see 'PHOTOS')

October 18, 2016

Welcome to the Force

La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez pins a peace officer’s badge to the county’s newest reserve deputy, Cesar Villarreal, in a brief ceremony in the La Salle District Courtroom on Tuesday, October 18. The new officer was joined by parents Francisco and Claudia Villarreal for the occasion; La Salle County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez presided. Deputy Villarreal is a native of Laredo and a graduate of United High School. He earned an associate’s degree in criminal justice from San Antonio College and attended the San Antonio College Law Enforcement Academy for a year. He is presently employed by Price Protective Services, a San Antonio-based security company, and expects to dedicate much of his time to serving as a law enforcement officer in La Salle County.

October 12, 2016

The colors
of our history

La Salle County officials joined representatives of the city of Cotulla and the Cotulla Main Street Program as well as State Representative Ryan Guillen for a ceremony downtown on Wednesday evening, October 12, to mark the official unveiling of a mural depicting the history of the city and county. Painted by Gil Rocha of Laredo, the artwork shows city founder Joseph Cotulla and his first artesian irrigation well; the arrival of the railroad line and its collection of the county's onion harvests; early county courthouses and the present-day 85-year-old Texas Historical Landmark building; the preserved architecture of Front Street; windmills and oil derricks; a reproduction of a class photo with teacher Lyndon B. Johnson at the Welhausen
School; cattle ranching and whitetail deer hunting. Among those present at the ceremony were (Back row, L-R) Las Palmas Nursing Home Director Matthew Sealy, Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, Commissioner Raul Ayala, Rep. Guillen, City Manager Larry Dovalina, Andrew Keck, (front) Dorothy Kinsel, Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez, Main Street Manager Patsy Leigh, Cotulla family descendant Betty Child, Cotulla Mayor Javier Garcia, Councilors Trish Garcia and Mary Koraleski, artist Gil Rocha and Deryl Morris. The evening continued with a street party on Front and Center streets, live music, food and refreshments.                                                                                                                                                     (For more images, see 'PHOTOS'

October 8, 2016

Sheriff's Office supports safety program...

Smoke alarms for everyone who asks:
County fire brigade installs devices
under Red Cross campaign

By Joel Rodriguez, La Salle County Judge
La Salle County has partnered with the American Red Cross and launched the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, which continues outreach efforts to the citizens.

The project is aimed at expanding the Safe Citizen Community Program adopted by La Salle County commissioners for 2016. Piloted in Encinal and Cotulla, the effort has been met with popular support, according to county officials. Informational flyers were distributed to citizens on August 13, offering free smoke alarm installation.

La Salle County Fire Rescue and the American Red Cross team conducted a neighborhood canvassing day in Cotulla on October 8. The teams were able to accomplish smoke alarm installations for residents and left flyers on the doors of citizens in the targeted neighborhood. Additional flyers are being handed out to citizens for future installations and canvassing days.

The campaign aims to educate citizens about home fires and the importance of prevention to save lives and avoid injuries. La Salle County Fire Rescue and the Red Cross are joining community volunteers countywide to canvass neighborhoods, hand out flyers and teach people about fire safety. Teams will be coming back to install additional smoke alarms in homes located in neighborhoods across the county. The Red Cross has committed to provide smoke alarms for all county citizens who will allow the installation team to place the safety devices in their homes.

La Salle County Fire Rescue Chief Les Simmons has taken a lead in guiding the fire department and is supported by the Cotulla Volunteer Fire Department, Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez and the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office and volunteers in the continued implementation of the safety program. Chief Simmons will also continue oversight of the Red Cross teams and installation of smoke alarms for citizens in La Salle County.

The canvassing teams will continue installations for citizens asking for smoke alarm installations, helping with the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign program. As part of the effort, La Salle County Fire Rescue and the Red Cross will ask citizens to do two simple things that can help save lives – allow the installation of the smoke alarms and develop an evacuation plan, practicing fire drills at home.

For more information on the campaign and safety measures that are now available to local residents, contact County Judge Joel Rodriguez at (830) 483-5183 or the city of Encinal at (956) 948-5226, or email Les.Simmons@co.la-salle.tx.us.

Up to three smoke alarms can be made available for each home, depending on the size of the building, according to the county fire department.
Members of the La Salle Fire Rescue and the La Salle County Sheriff's Office join forces in Cotulla and Encinal on October 8 to install life-saving smoke detectors in the homes of all area residents who asked for them (Photos this page). A home fire prevention campaign continues in cooperation with the American Red Cross.
(Photos courtesy of La Salle Fire Rescue)

October 6, 2016

We teach,
and we don't forget

Representatives of La Salle County government joined members of the Cotulla Woman's Club in the county courthouse on Wednesday evening, October 5, to display a pair of red-painted silhouettes of women representing the victims of abuse, as part of October's designation as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. County commissioners and the county judge earlier signed a proclamation in their support of the educational effort, promoting intervention in abusive situations. The silhouettes are made available by the Wintergarden Women's Shelter in Carrizo Springs; one of those displayed in La Salle County represents Margo Davis Lann, 42, who was shot to death by her husband outside a Cotulla grocery store on May 27, 1997. Present for the display were (L-R) Candace Tetzlaff, Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez, Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, Mary Jane Treff, Amanda Menke and La Salle County Victims' Advocate Rosario Morales. The silhouettes remain on display for the rest of the month.

October 5, 2016

Proud
in Pink

La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez is pinned with a pink ribbon by Rosie Sauceda, director of the La Salle County Nutrition Center, on Wednesday, October 5, in commemoration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Funds raised through ribbon sales go to cancer research.                                       (Photo: Amanda Carbajal)

September 29, 2016

Homecoming,
Cotulla style

La Salle County residents showed their Cowboy Pride at the annual Cotulla High School Homecoming Parade, held Thursday evening, September 29.         (For related images, see 'PHOTOS')

September 26, 2016

La Salle County residents who served in the US armed forces on active duty in World War II, Korea and Vietnam are being recognized on a new veterans' plaque that will be displayed in the La Salle County Courthouse, replacing the plaques that were removed during the building's renovation, as per approval through the Texas Historical Commission. All families with relatives who served in those conflicts and who are eligible for the commemoration are encouraged to contact Veterans Service Officer and La Salle County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Rickey Galvan at (830) 965-7911 or project coordinator Leodoro Martinez at (830) 879-5183 to ensure that names are listed accurately.

Calling all
war veterans

September 26, 2016

Special proclamation for October...

La Salle supports domestic violence awareness efforts

Wintergarden Women's Shelter reaches out to victims of assault

BE AWARE, INTERVENE – (Photo above) La Salle County saw its annual proclamation of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month this week, with those present including (L-R) County Commissioners Abel Gonzalez, Rene Benavidez, Raul Ayala and Jack Alba; Wintergarden Women’s shelter La Salle outreach coordinator Diana Gonzalez, shelter manager and program coordinator Zee Flores andcenter director Erica Bustamante; and County Judge Joel Rodriguez, Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez and Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez.
(Photo: Marc Robertson)
By Marc Robertson
Shining new light on a recurring problem facing families across the community and of all socio-economic backgrounds, elected officials in La Salle County joined representatives of the Wintergarden Women’s Shelter this week in supporting a proclamation for October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The annual proclamation that rallies support among civic leaders and service providers is aimed at promoting public awareness of the blight that affects multiple generations and contributes to a recurring cycle of abuse and neglect.

“Domestic violence is the systematic use of physical, emotional, sexual, psychological and economic control and abuse, including abuse of children and the elderly,” La Salle County Judge Joel Rodriguez read from the proclamation that he signed Monday, September 26. “Domestic violence violates an individual’s dignity, security and humanity.”

Representing the Wintergarden Women’s Shelter at Monday’s proclamation ceremony in the La Salle County Commissioners’ Court were outreach coordinator Diana Gonzalez, shelter manager and program coordinator Zee Flores, and center director Erica Bustamante, who affirmed that the facility continues offering safe refuge, resources for assistance and counseling, and works to intervene in cases of violence in the home, including battery and neglect of the defenseless and harm to children by abusive family members.

“Domestic violence is not confined to any one group of people,” the county judge read. “It is spread across all economic, racial and societal barriers, which are supported by societal indifferences.”

It is those indifferences, according to the judge and Wintergarden representatives, that contribute to the continuation of abuse against women and children because of an apparent lack of public awareness and an unwillingness to take action towards intervention.

The shelter will display a set of red-painted silhouettes in the La Salle County Courthouse during October, representing victims of domestic violence. One of those silhouettes is dedicated to Margo Davis Lann, a middle-aged mother who was shot to death by her abusive husband in front of a grocery store in downtown Cotulla on a Monday morning in May 1997. It was during the husband’s trial for murder that the public was made aware of his allegedly continual mental, physical, sexual and psychological abuse of his wife and stepdaughter. The husband was found guilty of murdering his wife by shooting her repeatedly in the head; he subsequently died in prison.

“The impact of domestic violence is wide ranging,” the county judge said, “directly affecting individuals and society as a whole, here in this community, throughout the United States and around the world.”

The Wintergarden Women’s Shelter provides informational brochures and other assistive literature that demonstrates the facility’s willingness and ability to provide services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

“The survivors of domestic violence from the Wintergarden area have been at the forefront of efforts to bring peace and equality to their homes, neighborhoods and city,” facility representatives said. “The majority of Texans believe that they can make a difference in efforts to end domestic violence.”

“Abusive behavior is a learned behavior,” the proclamation for October read, “and children who live in domestic violent homes are at a higher risk of becoming abusers or victims.”

Present to witness the proclamation were county commissioners, law enforcement officers, elected officials and service providers.
WINTERGARDEN WOMEN'S SHELTER
Crisis Hotline: 1-800-363-9441
Carrizo Springs Shelter: (830) 876-9656 / 5676
Cotulla Outreach Office: (830) 694-2173

September 23, 2016

Welcome back

La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez pins a peace officer’s badge to newly commissioned Lieutenant Mike Bostwick, who returns to duty after prior service to La Salle as a criminal investigator. The ceremony was held Friday, September 23 in the district courtroom, witnessed by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez and attended by local law enforcement officers and staff. Bostwick is a native of Menard, Texas, and a graduate of the University of Maryland. He served in the US Army Rangers from 1965 to 1985 and earned commendations and the Purple Heart on active duty in Vietnam. He then served as a deputy with the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, as a constable for McMullen County, in the police department for the US Department of Veterans Affairs and, from 2013 to 2015, as a special investigator for La Salle County.

September 22, 2016

Taking precautions, assessing risk

Representatives of the Anadarko gas processing company at Cotulla met with emergency responders, law enforcement and firefighters on Thursday, September 22 for a tabletop workshop on incident management and related action that would be taken in the event of a gas leak at the facility. Participants offered information on their respective agencies' roles in the situation.
(For related story, see 'FEATURES'

September 14, 2016

Improperly secured children have been killed in crashes...

TxDOT hosts safety seat inspections

Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 18-24

Nationwide statistics indicate that three out of every four child safety seats in cars and pickup trucks are improperly installed by their users, leaving youngsters in immediate danger of serious bodily injury or death in the event of a crash.

The Texas Department of Transportation is encouraging all parents and caregivers to make an appointment for a free inspection at the agency's 25 statewide district offices.

“Properly restraining children while they ride in vehicles is an everyday, year-round responsibility,” TxDOT noted in a prepared statement this month. “It's also the law.”
"We are determined to educate parents and caregivers in Texas about the importance of buckling their child into the correct car seat for their age and size," said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. "It's not only the law, but we're also trying to save lives through proper use of safety seats."

As part of national Child Passenger Safety Week, September 18-24, TxDOT reminds drivers that Texas law requires all children under the age of 8 – unless they are taller than 4’9” – to be in a car seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle.

Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket of up to $250.

In 2015, 83 children younger than 8 years old were killed in crashes in Texas. In 2014, that number was 81.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three fourths of all child car seats are not properly installed. Common child safety seat errors include installing the seat too loosely; putting the harness straps through the wrong slots; leaving harness straps too loose; positioning the chest clip incorrectly; and placing the safety belt through the wrong channels in the seat.
"Bernard in the Backseat" is a children's book now available from TxDOT, telling the story of a teddy bear who learns to feel safe when properly buckled into a car seat.
Drivers should refer to their specific car seat manufacturer's manual for instructions on how to install the safety seat, according to TxDOT. The vehicle owner's manual also includes information on the proper placement of the car seat and proper use of the seat belt or latch system.

To schedule a free car seat check with a nearby TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist, text the word "seat" and your ZIP code to 876526. Drivers may also visit SaveMeWithASeat.com to learn if a child should be in a rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat or in a booster seat.

During Child Passenger Safety Week, a TxDOT safety demonstration van will travel the state to show caregivers how to choose and install the correct car seat for their children. TxDOT is also conducting special local celebrity story times featuring the newly released children's book, "Bernard in the Backseat." The book features a teddy bear taking his first car ride. A free digital version of the book is available at SaveMeWithASeat.com.

Call TxDOT for a free child safety seat inspection:

Laredo - (965) 712-7408

San Antonio - (210) 731-5219

September 7, 2016

Our history, our government...

La Salle County Sheriff's Public Information Officer Marc Robertson hosted an informational tour of the county courthouse on Wednesday, September 7 for a group of nursing students from Texas A&M University at Laredo, giving a history of the 85-year-old building and its offices, and introducing the collegiates to the elected officers and heads of departments in local government. The students are expanding their knowledge of county offices to better provide referral and access to resources for assistance, legal advice, law enforcement and county records, among many other functions of local government, to their future clients and family members. The visit included brief interviews with County Attorney Elizabeth Martinez, County Judge Joel Rodriguez, County & District Clerk Margie Esqueda, County Tax Assessor Dora Gonzales and Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, among others.
(Photo: Rosario Morales) 

September 7, 2016

New Reserve

La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez pinned an officer’s badge to the county’s newest reserve deputy, Ross Leago, in a brief ceremony in the district courtroom on Wednesday, September 7. Present to administer the oath of office for the new reserve was Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez; Leago was accompanied by his wife of 44 years, Barbara, for the occasion. A native of Houston, Leago took his training at the Harris County Sheriff’s Academy before serving 23 years as a deputy for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. He also served nine years as a city councilman for Bayo Vista, near Galveston. Upon retirement, he and his wife moved to Concan in the Texas Hill Country. Reserve Deputy Leago says he looks forward to serving in law enforcement for La Salle County when called upon by the sheriff.

September 6, 2016

Facts of
the matter

Present to greet 81st Judicial District Attorney Rene Pena in the AB Alexander Convention Center in Cotulla on Tuesday evening, September 6 were (L-R) Cotulla City Councilors Tanis Lopez and Mary Koraleski, Cotulla City Manager Larry Dovalina, Main Street Program Manager Patsy Leigh and Councilor Trish Garcia. The district attorney addressed a group of civic, school and church leaders, law enforcement representatives and members of the public on the work he is doing to combat a growing crime trend in human trafficking. The DA also listed a number of indicators that will help alert anyone that a child or young adult has been victimized. (For related story, see 'FEATURES')

August 24, 2016

We do this for the kids

The La Salle County Sheriff's Office amateur bowling team, The Gutter Patrol, traveled to Laredo's Jett Bowl North on Tuesday evening, August 23, to take part in the fourth annual 'Strike Against Child Abuse' fundraising tournament for the Children's Advocacy Center, a facility that helps address young victims' needs and to intervene in cases of abuse and neglect. Team members included (L-R) Victims' Advocate Rosario Rodriguez, Sgt. Investigator Esmeralda Gonzalez, Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, Captain Joey Garcia and Investigator Homar Olivarez. (For more images, see 'PHOTOS')

August 23, 2016

TxDOT says
Cotulla Main St.
lanes will close
during repairs

The Texas Department of Transportation is advising motorists in Cotulla that traffic lane restrictions are being implemented this week while pavement repairs are made at the intersection of Main Street (Business IH-35) and Hwy 97 downtown. According to the transportation department, the project is expected to last eight months. During that time, north- and southbound traffic will be limited to one lane in each direction at the downtown traffic light. The roadwork is being performed by Anderson Columbia Co. (For related story, see 'FEATURES') 
COTULLA ISD traffic to the Ramirez/Burks Elementary School may be affected by the upcoming construction project. Parents collecting their children from the campus should avoid Main Street and use the parallel Stewart Street while waiting to join a line of vehicles approaching the school on Tilden Street.  

August 22, 2016

"Turn Around; Don't Drown" reminder from state authorities...

Weather forces temporary road closures
in La Salle

By Marc Robertson
The Texas Department of Transportation reported over the weekend that a number of roads in La Salle County had been affected by rising water as a direct result of heavy rains sweeping the region during the past ten days.

Roads leading into and out of Cotulla were affected at the end of last week, with the largest number of forced closures on Sunday, August 21.

The flooding event comes at a time when all South Texas area families are preparing for the start of the new school year.

Although interstate highway traffic was not affected by the flooding, a portion of the IH-35 west-side access road was closed between Milemarkers 79 and 81 Sunday.

In eastern La Salle County, flood waters forced the closure of Hwy 97 and FM 624, severely hindering rural traffic, which was prompted to detour through neighboring counties.

In western La Salle and in Dimmit County, FM 468 was closed for most of Sunday.

With less precipitation forecast for this week, officials expect road closures to be minimized, although heavy rains in the lower Texas Hill Country are expected to flow southeast through the Frio and Nueces river valleys during the week, causing a rise in the principal waterways. All low-water crossings will be affected at tributaries; the Frio, Leona and Nueces watersheds will be awash and may crest their banks in some areas. The lower Hill Country reported as much as four inches of rainfall in as many days.

The state transportation department is reiterating its message of “Turn Around; Don’t Drown” to all motorists in the region, advising anyone approaching a flooded roadway not to attempt crossing it, no matter how shallow the water may appear to be.

TxDOT is also reminding motorists that the flooding and road closures will affect traffic from the rural areas to the interstate highway and that all travelers should anticipate delays.

At the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office, deputies are advising area residents not to approach flooded roadways even if the flooding appears minor, as water coursing over a road instead of through a culvert beneath it may be running with enough force to lift a car off the pavement.

“We don’t want anyone making a mistake that could endanger their lives or their children’s lives,” La Salle County Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson said Monday. “It’s not a matter of an error in judgment. If there’s water running over the road, don’t drive through it. There should be no question about that.

“Flood waters carry a lot of debris with them, including tree branches, fence posts and often barbed wire,” Watson added. “Children walking to or from school need to be extra careful around any areas where water has risen in small creeks. It doesn’t take much to sweep a child off its feet.”

Updates from TxDOT on any road closures and possible detours can be found on social media at twitter.com/txdotlaredo or online at txdot.gov.  

August 18, 2016

'Stop, Look & Listen' still one of the best rules...

Back-to-School traffic:
Sheriff's Office urges caution

By Marc Robertson
As students across South Texas prepare to return to class and many have already begun attending sports practice or band rehearsals, law enforcement officers are urging motorists to pay renewed attention to traffic signs, be aware of pedestrians and to slow down in school zones.

Also subject to enforcement during the new school year are cellphone restrictions on roads near all school campuses, according to the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office.

At Cotulla ISD, which has campuses on both the east and west sides of town and in Encinal, Deputy and School Resource Officer Jose Pedroza is urging motorists to exercise additional caution on roads at or near school property.

The caution, he says, is necessary because large numbers of children walk to school along sidewalks to the Ramirez/Burks, Frank Newman and Cotulla High School campuses.

Some of those children will be making the trek to school on foot for the first time at the start of the new school year and may be unaccustomed to traffic hazards. Others may be distracted by cellphones or could be wearing headphones or earbuds, preventing them from hearing the sound of oncoming traffic.

“This is a time of year when everybody needs to be especially careful around schools,” the deputy said. “Pedestrians are easily distracted, but the greatest danger comes from drivers who are not paying attention.”

Speed limits in all school zones will be strictly enforced and apply to the hours of heaviest traffic at the start and end of each school day, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies and officers of the Cotulla City Patrol will be positioned at critical areas and will not hesitate to issue citations to those speeding or using cellphones while driving.

Citations are referred to Cotulla Municipal Court; violators are subject to fines. Those who fail to make court appearances are subject to arrest at home, at work, in public places or in the course of routine traffic stops and may face additional charges.
The municipal judge may impose a fine of up to $200 for using a cellphone while driving in a school zone in Cotulla.  

“There are many distractions that can contribute to accidents, and those distractions can easily be avoided,” Deputy Pedroza said.

La Salle County Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson added that he believes many dangers to children walking in school zones can be minimized with additional vigilance by drivers as well as by parents educating children in critical safety precautions.

"The Buddy System
is always a reliable
way to make sure kids
are safe from harm..."
- Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson

“’Stop, Look and Listen’ is still one of the best rules for any children walking to school,” the chief deputy said. “Children have to be reminded not to step off the curb until they know it’s safe, and that means looking both ways and listening for oncoming cars. Wearing headphones puts them in immediate danger because they just can’t hear if there’s a car coming.

“Children also have to be reminded that walking to school by themselves is not a good idea,” Watson added. “The ‘Buddy System’ is always a reliable way to make sure kids are safe from harm.”

Parents taking their children to school by car or collecting them at the end of the day should heed traffic flow systems implemented by the school district, affecting streets around the elementary and middle school campuses in Cotulla, according to the sheriff’s office.

“Children are walking out of buildings and between vehicles,” the chief deputy said. “The first thing on their minds is going to be getting to their parents’ car. They aren’t going to be watching if there’s another car moving into that space. That’s when accidents happen.

“The back-to-school season is always one of the most hazardous, and it’s up to all of us – officers and parents alike – to make sure the children are safe,” the chief deputy said. 

August 13, 2016

The bold and the beautiful

A custom-fitted tractor rig is featured in a fundraising car show at Cotulla Veterans Park on Saturday, August 13. The event was hosted by the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club at Cotulla High School and their advisor, La Salle County Deputy Jose Pedroza, the school resource officer. Also featuring a fajita cook-off, the family-oriented event attracted scores of visitors for an afternoon meeting car enthusiasts, builders and collectors, as well as outdoor cooking and refreshments. Proceeds from the show go towards the students' activities, educational trips and promotion of the club's message to teens regarding responsible decision making, traffic safety and combating bullying, peer pressure and substance abuse. Oscar Tellez was the champion of the judged fajita cook-off. (For more images, see 'PHOTOS')    

August 3, 2016

So much to see at once...

A Cotulla youngster examines coloring books, pictures and educational material on offer at the La Salle County Sheriff's Office booth in the annual Back-to-School Health Fair, held Tuesday afternoon, August 2 in the AB Alexander Convention Center. Hosted by the School Health Advisory Committee with Cotulla ISD, local churches and community organizations, energy industry representatives and commercial businesses, the fair featured 35 booths by local and regional healthcare providers, service organizations and others with free school supplies and backpacks, information on child safety, nutrition, family health and wellness, resources for assistance, and specialized services such as shelters and law enforcement. The Sheriff's Office and the La Salle Fire & Rescue hosted booths offering home and community safety information as well as photo opportunities for the children with emergency responders, firefighters and law enforcement officers. After the children and their parents had visited at least ten display booths - collecting 'visitor' stickers and stars along the way - they became eligible to receive free school backpacks, courtesy of EP Energy.
(For more Health Fair images, see 'PHOTOS')  

July 28, 2016

Backing the Blue

The Cattlemens of Cotulla restaurant in the historic former Gallman Building at the corner of Front and Center streets downtown hosted an appreciation luncheon for law enforcement personnel and support staff Thursday, July 28, courtesy of owner Bill Bunton and chef Anna Valle, in recognition of the work performed by the La Salle County Sheriff's Office, Cotulla City Patrol, Texas DPS Highway Patrol and County Constables. Among those present were (L-R) Deputy Elvira Gonzales, Sgt. Investigator Esmeralda Gonzalez, Investigator Homar Olivarez, DPS Cpl. Tony Ayala, KD Lopez and Trooper Julio Barrera, La Salle Captain Joey Garcia, Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, DPS Sgt. Tanner Purvis, La Salle Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson, Sgt. Rickey Galvan, Public Information Officer Marc Robertson, Deputy Joe Pargas, Deputy Miguel Limon Jr. and (not pictured) Constables Guy Megliorino and Rene Maldonado.                                          (Photo: ET Page)

July 25, 2016

Putting technology to work

Law enforcement officers from across the region met at La Salle County's Emergency Operations Center last week for a series of classes on the deployment of new body-worn cameras, which are being issued under a grant to La Salle deputies this month. The class taught by James Robert Armstrong covered camera use and policy, recording assets and limitations, data storage, documentation and camera evidence for criminal investigations.   

July 22, 2016

State Representative Ryan Guillen visited the Las Palmas Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation facility in Cotulla on Thursday evening, July 21 (Photos this page), to meet with local elected officials, nursing facility board members and government representatives as well as civic leaders for an update on the community’s needs in senior care and assisted living, and for a tour of the facility. Rep. Guillen met with administrator Matthew Sealy and addressed residents and attendees at a catered meet-and-greet function at which he expressed admiration at the nursing and care center’s amenities and resources, staff and operations. Among those present to address local issues with the state representative were La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, Cotulla City Manager Larry Dovalina, Councilors Juan Garcia and Mary Koraleski, and Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez.

Keeping
in touch

July 15, 2016

La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez is joined by Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez on Thursday, July 14 in administering the oath of office to the county's newest reserve deputy, Armando Lopez. The San Antonio native who began serving La Salle County this week is a 1998 graduate of the Police Academy at San Antonio College, is a graduate of Texas A&M University at San Antonio and has served as an officer in Bexar County, in Dilley and with the Frio County Sheriff's Office.

Pinning
the
badge

July 14, 2016

The 'Thin Blue Line'
prevails

Former La Salle County Sheriff and current technology advisor Victor Villarreal (Left photo) and Investigator Homar Olivarez were among those giving public addresses during a special ceremony in front of the county courthouse on Thursday morning, July 14, to honor the memory of officers who have been killed in the line of duty. The event served as recognition of all law enforcement officers and emergency responders but also gave focus to five police officers who were killed in a single night in Dallas the previous week.
(For more images, see 'PHOTOS')

July 13, 2016

Moments
of silence

While in Dallas for their annual FFA State Convention, members of the Cotulla FFA including Chapter President Karina Sauceda, Marcos Trevino, Madison Purdy, Monica Martinez, Sabrina Sanchez, Mallory Garcia, Chaz Spivey and Gerardo Viesca visited Police HQ downtown to pay their respects to the fallen policemen who lost their lives last week. The students met and thanked police officers for their dedication to serve and protect their communities.
(Courtesy photos: Cotulla FFA)

July 8, 2016

Statement from the La Salle County Sheriff's Office
in the wake of gun violence in the United States

It is with great sadness that we learn of the loss of so many lives in this country at the hands of so few whose evil intentions have brought violence and fear to our cities and towns.

We grieve over the loss of civilian lives and hope that investigations into their deaths will be exercised with fairness and that justice will prevail.

We are deeply saddened at the loss on Thursday night, July 7, of law enforcement officers’ lives, and even though it was through coordinated action by other officers and a specially trained response team that the firefight was brought to a swift and irreversible conclusion, it was officers protecting civilians engaged in a peaceful demonstration who found themselves in the crosshairs and who ended the day as victims in the line of duty.

At the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office, we offer our deep condolences to the families and loved ones of the fallen and hope that this nation’s collective grief and support will provide some measure of comfort to those who have been left behind by this terrible tragedy and who must face the rest of their lives without their loved ones and protectors by their side.

As officers of the law, sworn to protect and defend the people’s rights, safety and liberty, we are more aware today than at any time in our history that no amount of grief and no number of tears will ever bring back those we have lost but may, in the fullness of time, serve as a measure by which we conduct our daily lives, treat our fellow Americans, and teach today’s and future generations the sanctity of human life; a gauge by which we hold the value of community and the true weight of the sacrifice that our fallen comrades have made.

It can only be through continuing to uphold the law as it is written, to protect and to serve the people of our communities and to defend the rights of our citizens to live in peace and brotherhood as one nation that we can do justice to the fallen and ensure that their lives were not given in vain.  

Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez
and all of the law enforcement officers,
administration and staff
of the La Salle County Sheriff's Office

June 24, 2016

That's the way it is

81st Judicial District Attorney Rene Pena addresses attendees at a seminar on human trafficking and investigation, Friday, June 24 at the Talbert L Bar Ranch. The course, hosted by the DA and presented by San Antonio Police Sgt. Bill Grayson and prosecutor Tina Hartman, covered different aspects of human trafficking of immigrants and US residents and citizens in forced-labor enslavement and in the sex trade, including abuse of minors for profit and ways in which law enforcement may intervene and help rescue victims from their controlling handlers.
(For related story, see 'FEATURES') 

June 20, 2016

Going once, going twice...

La Salle County Sergeant Rickey Galvan takes bids from the public at the Sheriff's Auction on Friday, June 17 at the county impound yard on North Main Street in Cotulla, where 27 cars, trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles as well as some decommissioned service trucks from La Salle County precincts were sold. The majority of the vehicles had been abandoned by their owners or had been seized by the sheriff's office. Receipts for the 45-minute event totaled approximately $24,000 after wrecker fees had been settled; funds generated through the public auction are used by the La Salle County Sheriff's Office for equipment purchases and other operations expenses.
(For more pictures, see 'PHOTOS')

June 15, 2016

Worthy cause

La Salle County Deputy Jose Cardenas III was one of several officers representing local law enforecement agencies and emergency responders taking part in the fundraising 'Tip a Cop' program at El Charro Restaurant in Cotulla on Wednesday, June 15 for the benefit of Special Olympics Texas. All those taking part in the event helped deliver menus, water, iced tea and other refreshments, and brought appetizers and meals to customers. In return, customers made contributions to Special Olympics, either by donating cash or buying t-shirts. Held for the first time in La Salle this year, 'Tip a Cop' raised over $1,600 that will go directly to helping young athletes with special needs train for and compete in events at Arlington. Agencies represented at El Charro for the lunchtime fundraiser included the La Salle County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol, the US Border Patrol, La Salle County Fire & Rescue and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.                         (For more information and pictures, see 'PHOTOS')     

June 3, 2016

Expect the unexpected...

Employees of Plains All American work together in an emergency action as part of  a tabletop drill at the AB Alexander Convention Center in Cotulla on Friday, June 3, deploying their resources in response to a scenario in which thousands of gallons of volatile oilfield material leak into the Nueces River, threatening the safety of area residents and travelers. The La Salle County Sheriff's Office took part in the drill, adding resources and information on its response capabilities in the event than an evacuation was called for.
(For related story and photos, see 'FEATURES')

June 1, 2016

Welcome
to South Texas

La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez welcomes newly arrived Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Sergeant Tanner Purvis to the county courthouse on Wednesday, June 1. The new sergeant will oversee the Highway Patrol troopers stationed locally and comes to La Salle County from Zapata, where he served in the same capacity. Prior to earning his promotion, he served as a Highway Patrol trooper in Eden.  

May 26, 2016

It's Red Nose Day

Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez joins Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez and her staff, Esmy Garcia, Marissa Gonzalez and Lety Rios, in promoting Red Nose Day, Thursday, May 26. Red Nose Day is aimed at bringing public awareness to the plight of children living in poverty around the world. Proceeds from the sale of red clown noses go towards children's charities. The Red Nose Day Fund is a program of Comic Relief Inc., at rednosedayusa.com 
The office of Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez is encouraging La Salle County residents to help relieve children's poverty by making county officials aware of family situations in which local youngsters may lack healthy food or good clothing; JP Rodriguez reports that she has access to resources and other assistance to help meet children's essential needs.
"We don't want any child to go hungry, and we don't want any child to be short of clothes and shoes," the judge said on Red Nose Day, Thursday, May 26, a day on which attention is drawn to children's needs around the world. "Here in La Salle County, we not only have the means to help our neighbors, we have an obligation to help in any way that we can, for the sake of the children of our communities."
Anyone with information on families with needy children should visit the JP at her office on Center Street, beside Cotulla Veterans Park downtown.  

May 25, 2016

Proud runners

The La Salle County Sheriff's Office and County Constables took part Wednesday morning, May 25 in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, in which high school students joined jailers, officers and emergency responders in carrying the Special Olympics torch through Cotulla on one of the stages between Laredo and San Antonio.
(For more images, see 'PHOTOS')

May 25, 2016

New officer on premises

Veronica Hernandez has been promoted to Lieutenant at the La Salle County Regional Detention Center in Encinal and received her new rank bar for her uniform by Jail Administrator Cody Graham and Captain Delma Romo. 

May 19, 2016

Red and Blue Salute...

The La Salle County Sheriff's Office provided an escort Thursday, May 19 from the county line at Webb as far as the county line at Frio along IH-35 for a convoy that included a charter bus of World War II armed forces veterans from Laredo. The 'Honor Flight' trip was then escorded by officers from each of the counties it crossed en route to San Antonio.

May 17, 2016

Welcome to the force...

La Salle County Deputy Jose Cardenas III became the newest officer for La Salle County on Tuesday morning, May 17 when he took the oath of office, which was administered by Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez and Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez in the district courtroom. Deputy Cardenas is a native of Laredo and previously served as a patrol officer for the Laredo Independent School District Police Department. He is a 2013 graduate of the Laredo Community College South Border Regional Police Academy. Sheriff Rodriguez pinned the new officer's badge at the brief ceremony.

May 5, 2016

We stand together...

La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez addressed a gathering of local residents and community leaders on the courthouse lawn Thursday evening, May 5, during the annual celebration of the National Day of Prayer, to which congregation members and church leaders of all denominations were invited. The event served as a faith revival as well as a communal offering of prayer for families, government leaders, law enforcement officers, armed forces personnel and veterans, and featured special music, addresses by Cotulla Mayor Joe Lozano and Chamber of Commerce President Brenda Talbert Wright as well as rallies to prayer by pastors from each of Cotulla's churches.
(For more images, see 'PHOTOS') 

May 5, 2016

Sounds of celebration

Cotulla High School Mariachi Band students Alyssa Miranda and Anthony Jennings are among those performing on a float through downtown Encinal on Thursday afternoon, May 5 for the city's annual Cinco de Mayo parade, which included more than 50 entries representing civic and student groups, local government, city and county law enforcement, armed forces veterans, farmers and ranchers, area businesses and healthcare organizations. The parade followed a southbound route from Old Hwy 81 to Encinal Veterans Park; the Union Pacific Railroad agreed to halt its train operations through the city for the duration of the event.
(For more images, see 'PHOTOS')

May 2, 2016

That
mournful sound

A Cotulla High School student is one of a pair to play 'Taps' at the close of a special ceremony in front of the TDCJ Cotulla Unit on Monday morning, May 2. The event served to memorialize all correctional officers who have died in the line of duty. Local elected officials, civic and law enforcement leaders joined Cotulla and Dolph Briscoe Dilley Unit staff for the occasion.
(For more images, see 'PHOTOS') 

April 26, 2016

What you need to know

A Kindergarten student at Cotulla's Ramirez/Burks Elementary School examines the form on which all of his vital information and fingerprints will be documented for his parents to keep in a safe place. The annual National Child Identification Program is sponsored locally by the Woman's Club of Cotulla and carried out by the La Salle County Sheriff's Office, which conducts full fingerprinting of every kindergartner in Cotulla and Encinal - more than 75 children - and offers tips on safety, speedy identification in the event of a missing child, proper documentation and advice on avoiding danger, protecting identity and steps to take in the event of a threat. Woman's Club members joined Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez and officers at the schools this week to meet the children and complete their identity kits.
(For story and related pictures, see 'PHOTOS')  

April 20, 2016

Honoring those who serve,
day and night...

Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez marked National Telecommunicators Week during April by offering recognition to all those who serve as emergency dispatchers for the county. The sheriff was joined by Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson in presenting the dispatchers with t-shirts and gifts in appreciation of their service. (For related story, see ARCHIVE)

April 18, 2016

Employee of the Month

Correctional officer and case manager Eliza Cruz has been named the Employee of the Month for April at the La Salle County Regional Detention Center in Encinal, earning recognition or her job performance. She is congratulated by Jail Administrator Cody Graham and Captain Delma Romo.

April 14, 2016

Delivering the message

Members of the Cotulla Woman's Club joined child advocates and representatives of Cotulla ISD and the La Salle County government this week in helping promote April's designation as Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month by placing supportive notices at public sites, including the La Salle County Courthouse and other civic buildings. The group also supports the efforts of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of South Texas, whose volunteers are spearheading the awareness effort by shedding light on the plight of the young who are abused and neglected; and who are pushing for intervention and education on the issue.

April 10, 2016

Swing,
batter,
swing

The Law Dogs team of officers from several agencies traveled to the Dilley City & Community Park beside Dilley High School on Sunday, April 10 for a friendly rivalry series of softball games against a team of players from Dilley and Cotulla high schools. The Law Dogs  were victorious by winning the first game 13-2 and the second game 4-3, which ended the series. In a special message after the games, Cotulla ISD School Resource Officer and La Salle County Deputy Jose Pedroza said he and his fellow team members believe the day's sports reflected entente between the communities, the law enforcement officers, the schools and the students, who "set aside their hometown rivalries and enjoyed themselves as teams." Event organizers are extending their thanks to Dilley ISD Superintendent Dr. Clint McLain for helping make the games possible. Players from the schools included Pierce Ramirez, Dillon Morse, Chase Sanders and EJ Martinez from Dilley High School; and Joseph Garcia, Edward Cruz, David Perez, Tres Garcia, Jorge Sanchez, Patrick Flores, Andre Garza and Bobby Niaves from Cotulla High School. The event also marked the first appearance of the Law Dogs team.

April 10, 2016

Bring in the
heavy hitters

Firefighters, emergency responders, paramedics and other disaster and accident response team members from volunteer fire departments, county and city fire brigades converged on Cotulla Friday through Sunday, April 8-10 for the Rescue Tech I course offered by Benny Marberry, Kirby Wilson and Steve Fikac, instructors at the San Antonio Fire Academy. The three-day event included classroom instruction at the La Salle County Emergency Operations Center, followed by hands-on training at the Orozco Towing yard south of town, with the Jaws of Life and other high-powered emergency rescue and rapid-response equipment, enabling firefighters to practice using the newest technology to cut open vehicles safely after serious crashes to extract occupants. Approximately 60 firefighters and emergency rescue personnel from agencies across South and Southwest Texas attended the course, including a delegation from El Paso.
(For more pictures, see 'PHOTOS')
Photo courtesy of Krys Lopez, Dilley VFD 

April 7, 2016

Time to qualify

Newly hired correctional officers, emergency dispatchers and longtime staff members at the La Salle County Jail and the Sheriff's Office continued their training this week with a firearms qualifying course at the Talbert L Bar Ranch southwest of Cotulla, where the range was used for instruction and practice in handgun and shotgun usage. Trainees took aim at targets from short and long distances with the firearms they will be issued on duty. Present for the instruction and timed testing were Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson and Lieutenant Joey Garcia.
(For more pictures, see 'PHOTOS')

April 5, 2016

Training day

Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez and Lt. Joey Garcia were the instructors this week for a firearms qualification course made available to all La Salle County officers and jailers at the Talbert L Bar Ranch outside Cotulla, with license instruction for the use of handguns, shotguns and semiautomatic rifles. 
(For more images, see 'PHOTOS')

April 4, 2016

Child Abuse Prevention
& Awareness Month

Associate Judge Melissa DeGerolami signs a proclamation for April as Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month in the La Salle district courtroom Monday morning, April 4, joined by children's advocates Cathleen Cabrera and Audrey Louis, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez, Children's Alliance Executive Director Mikey Betancourt, La Salle County Attorney Elizabeth Martinez, County Commissioner Jack Alba and County Judge Joel Rodriguez. Also attending were members of CASA of South Texas, the Children's Alliance, local elected officials, the Cotulla Woman's Club and child advocates in commemorating the month's designation. (For related story, see ARCHIVE) 

March 28, 2016

And the scholarship goes to...

Cotulla High School 2015 Valedictorian Cody Thomas is in his first year as a Forensic Science major at St. Mary's University in San Antonio and was awarded the Clint and Donna Peoples Scholarship through the Sheriff's Association of Texas in a ceremony in the La Salle District Courtroom by Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez on Monday, March 28. The son of Robbie and Herlinda Thomas of Cotulla, Cody became eligible for the award by maintaining academic excellence at the university and being the relative of a law enforcement officer. His father is a former deputy, chief investigator and sheriff of La Salle County. Cody expressed his thanks to the sheriff for the award and said he expects to use the funds towards his tuition.

March 17, 2016

Talking Points: Street Patrol

 La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson and School Resource Officer Jose Pedroza addressed the Encinal City Council on Thursday evening, March 17 to discuss concerns over law enforcement presence and traffic patrols during critical hours of the school day when youngsters are being dropped off or picked up at school, either to attend classes at Encinal Elementary or to board buses for Cotulla middle and high schools. The Encinal Police Department conducts routine patrols and expects to maintain law enforcement supervision during the heavy-traffic hours and is asking the county sheriff's office for supplemental support. Sheriff Rodriguez confirmed that one of the county officers may be available to offer extra manpower during the city's period of peak demand. The county representatives are pictured at City Hall with Encinal City Manager Velma Davila, Patrolman Oscar Silva and Police Chief Roy Vallejo.

March 17, 2016

Calling all Patriots

Representatives of the US Veterans Administration from Laredo visited the American Legion Hall on Hwy 97 in Cotulla on Thursday morning, March 17 with their mobile unit, MVC-879, which is based in McAllen, to offer services to local members of the US armed forces, past and present. Outreach Specialist Enrique Reyes (Photo above, second from right) said the traveling unit is connected via satellite to the VA and includes a customer service and interview room in which veterans can meet with a VA representative to find assistance with medical forms, a wide range of benefits, information on short- and long-term services available through the VA, specialized services such as counseling for domestic and personal issues such as physical and mental impairment, stress management, and access to therapy. Present to meet the VA representatives and encouraging armed forces veterans from the area to visit the mobile unit was La Salle County Veterans Service Officer Rickey Galvan (second from left), who serves as sergeant with the La Salle County Sheriff's Office and who oversees the Cotulla City Patrol law enforcement division; and veterans Johnny Gomez and Paul Niaves.

March 12, 2016

Morning briefing

Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez addressed his officers outside the La Salle County Courthouse early Saturday, March 12 in advance of the annual Wild Hog Cook-Off Parade and County Fair, giving updates on crowd expectations, patrol times and locations, and covering some of the issues that officers might encounter during the festival.

March 3, 2016

Ready to meet
the applicants
Jail Administrator Cody Graham, Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson and Lieutenant Joey Garcia examine applications submitted for correctional officer positions at the Regional Detention Center at Encinal before beginning a new round of job interviews Thursday morning, March 3 in the county courthouse. The detention center currently houses inmates of the US Marshals Service under contract with La Salle County; Sheriff Rodriguez is responsible for all detainees in the county. The facility's day-to-day operations, staff and management are overseen by Administrator Graham. The majority of applicants for the new positions are Laredo residents. 

February 26, 2016

Farewell, Johnny

Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Sergeant Johnny Massey is leaving his post at the La Salle County office this month for a new position with the DPS at Linden, in Northeast Texas. He has served as sergeant in La Salle County for the past five months. A luncheon was held in his honor at the La Salle County Steakhouse in Cotulla on Friday, February 26, hosted by Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez, with Highway Patrol and CVE troopers, sheriff's deputies and support staff, and Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Vicki Rodriguez in attendance.

February 19, 2016

TRAINING SESSIONS have been underway this week at the La Salle County Emergency Operations Center, where newly hired jailers are taking their continuing education through a series of lectures in order to prepare for their state licensing examination as fully certified correctional officers. The course is being instructed by representatives of the Alamo Area Council of Governments, hosted by La Salle County. Also attending the course are new dispatchers and support staff who will serve at the La Salle County Jail. All of La Salle County's emergency response dispatchers are certified correctional officers.

February 12, 2016

Firearms training at the
Talbert L Bar Ranch

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
La Salle County Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez was joined by Chief Deputy Malcolm Watson and Lieutenant Joey Garcia at a gun range on the Talbert L Bar Ranch outside Cotulla on Friday morning, February 12 for a firearms training course offered to the county's new correctional officers serving at the Regional Detention Center in Encinal. Training by the sheriff for certification was offered in handgun and shotgun for the jailers, including short- and long-range target practice as well as firearms handling and safety measures.

February 10, 2016

"Think before you text..."

CHS students attend SADD conference

COTULLA ISD Resource Officer Jose Pedroza is joined by Crime Buster, the mascot for the Texas Campus Crime Stoppers, with Cotulla High School members of the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club, Janalene Cerna, Jasmine Gonzalez and Jerik Deleon at the annual TCCS Conference in Odessa. (For related story, see ARCHIVE)                                                    (Courtesy photo)

January 29, 2016

DOTTIE RAMIREZ is the new administrator at the La Salle County Jail in Cotulla. The jail and emergency dispatch office staff joined her in a meeting with Sheriff Miguel Rodriguez in mid-January. (For related story, see ARCHIVE)
Archive
Click to download stories from our files
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STUDENTS' FUNDRAISING CAR SHOW
August 13, 2016: SADD Club invites exhibitors; plus fajita cook-off
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ENCINAL TOURNAMENT
August 4, 2016: City hosts 3-on-3 with adults, teens
ARRESTS, JULY 5-11, 2016
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16 suspects taken into custody
SMUGGLING SUSPECT TAKEN INTO CUSTODY
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July 7, 2016: Speeding driver was wanted fugitive
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COURT DODGERS FACE ARREST
July 5, 2016: JP signs warrants
ARRESTS, JUNE 27 - JULY 4, 2016
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19 suspects taken into custody
LOCAL MAN IN CUSTODY AFTER STANDOFF 
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July 3, 2016: Was suspect using toxic narcotic?
ARRESTS, JUNE 20-27, 2016
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19 suspects taken into custody
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FIREWORKS BAN IN PLACE
June 23, 2016: Sheriff says violators may be cited
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COURT DODGERS FACE ARREST
June 20, 2016: JP signs warrants
ARRESTS, JUNE 13-20, 2016
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21 suspects taken into custody
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ARRESTS, JUNE 6-13, 2016
14 suspects taken into custody
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BANK ROBBERY SUSPECT CAUGHT IN TRAFFIC STOP
June 6, 2016: Vehicle occupant matched criminal's description
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ARRESTS, MAY 30 - JUNE 6, 2016
14 suspects taken into custody
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HOUSE FIRE ON THOMAS STREET
May 29, 2016: Did arsonist target abandoned home?
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ARRESTS, MAY 23-31, 2016
31 suspects taken into custody
SPECIAL OLYMPICS TORCH RUN
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May 25, 2016: Invitation to take part in event through Cotulla 
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SIX HURT IN HIGH-SPEED CRASH
May 23, 2016: Driver flips SUV during pursuit
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DEATH AT MALTSBERGER
May 23, 2016: Immigrant dies on trek through ranch
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ARRESTS, MAY 16-23, 2016
18 suspects taken into custody 
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TRAFFIC STOP ENDS IN DRUG ARREST
May 18, 2016: Driver had narcotics, paraphernalia in car
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NINE DEAD IN TOUR BUS CRASH
May 14, 2016: Sheriff warns of road hazards
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ARRESTS, MAY 9-16, 2016
22 suspects taken into custody 
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TWO IN CUFFS AFTER BURGLARY CALL
May 8, 2016: Suspects had construction materials in car
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ARRESTS, MAY 2-9, 2016
18 suspects taken into custody
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ARRESTS, APRIL 25 - MAY 2, 2016
18 suspects taken into custody
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PROTECTIVE VEST FOR K9
April 27, 2016: Grant for drug-detecting dog's body armor 
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ARRESTS, APRIL 19-24, 2016
14 suspects taken into custody 
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SHERIFF ENDORSES CASA FUNDRAISER
April 23, 2016: Goods, services posted on Facebook for public bidding
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TELECOMMUNICATORS' WEEK
April 20, 2016: Sheriff honors those who serve in emergency dispatch  
ARRESTS, APRIL 11-20, 2016
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23 suspects taken into custody
SHERIFF SAYS 'PARTY BUSES' WERE DANGEROUS
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April 16, 2016: Teens rode in charter vehicles with booze on Prom Night 
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ARRESTS, APRIL 4 - 11, 2016
14 suspects taken into custody 
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BOTCHED BURGLARY ENDS IN ARREST 
April 10, 2016: One in custody after attempting to steal AC
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BUS CRASH IN MILLETT 
April 9, 2016: Vehicle plows off interstate after tire blow-out  
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DOUBLE TRAFFIC STOP ENDS IN ARRESTS 
April 5, 2016: Local drivers face DWI, drug charges  
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LA SALLE COUNTY GRAND JURY
April 5, 2016: Two new indictments  
ENERGY SITE EXPLOSION
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April 4, 2016: One worker airlifted after blast  
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ARRESTS, MARCH 28 - APRIL 4, 2016
22 suspects taken into custody
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APRIL IS CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION, AWARENESS MONTH
April 4, 2016: Judge signs proclamation 
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EARLY-MORNING RAID
March 31, 2016: Two fugitives in custody
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ARRESTS, MARCH 21 - 28, 2016
17 suspects taken into custody
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LA SALLE COUNTY GRAND JURY, MARCH 2017
March 22, 2016: Indictments for 17 defendants  
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ARRESTS, MARCH 14 - 21, 2016
6 suspects taken into custody
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MILLION-DOLLAR METH CARGO
March 18, 2016: Traffic stop of SUV reveals fuel tank full of drugs 
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DEPUTIES INVESTIGATE LOCAL BURGLARIES
March 17, 2016: Thieves stole valuables from homes
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ARRESTS, MARCH 7 - 14, 2016
18 suspects taken into custody
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SUSPECT HID COCAINE IN BODY CAVITY
March 10, 2016: Jeep had broken windshield, driver had narcotics
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DEPUTIES ARREST CHILD ADVOCATE
March 9, 2016: Case report indicates family violence between adults
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ARRESTS, MARCH 1 - 6, 2016
10 suspects taken into custody
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ARRESTS, FEB. 22 - 29, 2016
23 suspects taken into custody
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STUDENTS ATTEND S.A.D.D. CONFERENCE
Feb. 26, 2016: Teens looking at careers in law enforcement
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ASSAULT CHARGE FOR LOCAL RESIDENT
Feb. 25, 2016: Juan Xavier Cruz arrested
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RINGERS ACQUITTED IN RAILROAD DEATH 
Feb. 25, 2016: Gardendale brothers found not guilty
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ARRESTS, FEB. 16 - 22, 2016
15 suspects taken into custody
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UNLICENSED DRIVER HAD WEED IN UNDERPANTS
Feb. 16, 2016: Officers find additional drug bundle in car
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ARRESTS, FEB. 10 - 16, 2016
18 suspects taken into custody
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RALLYING SUPPORT FOR EASTER EGG HUNTS
Feb. 9, 2016: Sheriff, Investigator address Chamber of Commerce
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ARRESTS, JAN. 31 - FEB. 9, 2016
24 suspects taken into custody
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COUNTY SUPPORTS CASA WITH $20K GRANT
Feb. 8, 2016: Volunteers speak up for abused, neglected children
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RAMIREZ TAKES CHARGE AT COUNTY JAIL
Jan. 29, 2016: New administrator
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LA SALLE COUNTY GRAND JURY, JANUARY 2016
Jan. 19, 2016: Indictments handed down on felony charges