EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles issued a statement in response to the recent resignation of El Paso County District Attorney Yvonne Rosales.
As KTSM previously reported, Rosales agreed to step down as the 34th Judicial District Attorney on Monday, following a tumultuous tenure lasting less than two years.
According to the terms of her resignation, Rosales will step down as the DA effective 5 p.m. on Dec. 14.
Sheriff Wiles issued a lengthy statement to El Paso media Friday afternoon in response, focusing on requirements and qualifications for elected officials.
The full statement reads below:
“I have been asked by some members of the media for my comments on the resignation of District Attorney Yvonne Rosales. First, let me say I am confident that with the right leader, the Office of District Attorney can recover quickly and work to overcome the serious deficits we have seen as far as staffing, dismissed criminal cases, and the handling of serious cases that need the most diligent attention.
This situation brings to the forefront the discussion of the qualifications of individuals who seek to be elected to public office. As you are aware, the current requirements for elected positions usually deal with citizenship, age, and residency time in the area they are seeking election. What is obviously missing is the education, training and experience related directly to the position they seek. Most importantly, public service presents its own unique and important characteristics and candidates must be able to manage in that realm.
While the qualifications for District Attorney in Texas also include a provision for being a “practicing lawyer or judge”, I think its fair to say that just because you can be a lawyer, doesn’t mean you can manage a District Attorney’s Office with all the important aspects that it entails.
For instance, take the position of Sheriff in Texas. Other than the routine requirements, there are none related to education, training and experience. Personnel, budgets, civil service, collective bargaining, disciplinary practices, reduction of litigation, as well as interactions with media, community members and employees are certainly comparable between Sheriff’s Offices and Police Departments. But compare the requirements for each job. Typically, the requirements for a Police Chief include a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree, a significant number of years of experience (especially in the supervisor and management positions), and a significant number of training hours in specific topics, among other requirements. But to be elected as a Sheriff in Texas only requires you to be 18 years old, a US citizen, and a minimum number of months residing in the State and County.
Suffice it to say, just because you are a law enforcement officer, doesn’t mean you can manage a Sheriff’s Office; municipalities understand this, hence the increase qualifications for Police Chief. In the interest of improved public service, which we as citizens deserve since it is our tax money that funds these elected positions and Offices, we need to improve the qualifications and requirements for an individual who seeks public office. Until that occurs, it is incumbent upon each voter to require the proper qualifications, training, and experience from the office-seeker, prior to casting their vote.“
This comes as Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, has accepted the resignation of elected District Attorney Yvonne Rosales, on Friday morning.
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