Trump to nominate Susan Pamerleau for U.S. marshal
President Donald Trump on Thursday announced his intent to nominate former Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau, a retired Air Force major general, to be the next U.S. marshal for the San Antonio-based Western District of Texas.
If confirmed by the Senate, Pamerleau would be the first woman to run the Marshals Service in the district that was created 173 years ago, according to the local district’s Web site that lists the names of the 32 prior marshals. And, she would replace a now-retired interim marshal who filled the post after the last politically appointed marshal, Robert Almonte, resigned under pressure in 2016
“I am extremely honored by this pending nomination from the President to serve in this role and to continue serving my community,” said Pamerleau, who also was the first woman to serve as Bexar County sheriff.
She declined to elaborate on her plans for the federal role. The president has to officially nominate her and she must go through the confirmation process.
Orlando Garcia, chief judge of the Western District of Texas, said: “Susan Pamerleau has served this community before and (if confirmed) she’s very fortunate to have an already excellent Marshals Service office in the Western District of Texas.”
The Marshals Service, an arm of the Justice Department, is the country’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. Its duties include judicial and courthouse security, fugitive apprehensions and asset forfeiture. The Western District of Texas was formed in 1845 and is one of the busiest in the country. Besides San Antonio, it includes Austin, Waco, Del Rio, Alpine, Midland/Odessa and El Paso.
Pamerleau raised her public persona in Bexar County after defeating then-Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz, a Democrat, in the 2012 election to win the law enforcement seat. After a top-to-bottom review of the office, she implemented policies to modernize the office and ran it more like a corporation, making improvements that included digital record keeping, vests for jail guards that could withstand stabbings, and improved communications within the jail, according to prior newspaper stories.
But her policies and practices riled some of the rank and file. In spring of 2016, the Bexar County Sheriffs Association called for a vote of no confidence on her. Of the 1,600 deputies in the sheriff’s office, 219 voted no confidence. And in the November election that year, Pamerleau narrowly lost to current Sheriff Javier Salazar, another Democrat.
Pamerleau served 32 years in the Air Force, and retired in 2000 as the director of Personnel Force Management at the Air Force’s headquarters at the Pentagon. From 2001 to 2007, Pamerleau served as vice president and senior vice president for USAA in San Antonio. Pamerleau currently serves on the board of directors for Government Personnel Mutual Life Insurance Company, and also on the boards of several non-profit agencies in the area.
Pamerleau holds a master’s degree in public administration from Golden Gate University, a bachelor of arts in sociology from the University of Wyoming, and is a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute.
If she’s confirmed, Pamerleau would take over the office that had been run by David Sligh, an interim marshal who retired in November. Sligh was sent by headquarters in Washington to help helm the office in May 2016, when Almonte — appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010 — resigned in the face of allegations that he improperly used agency resources and violated the Marshal Service’s rules and policies.
Anonymous complaints in 2014 about Almonte’s management started an investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. In January 2016, the department issued a partial report that said Almonte violated several Marshals Service rules, instructions and policies for using a subordinate as a personal driver for nongovernment business, not getting ethics approval for presentations made to law enforcement, failing to follow management directives on the number and location of the presentations and asking employees to contribute money for various work-related events.
Almonte often traveled to give lectures to various audiences on border area drug smugglers’ devotions to spiritual folk idols like “Santa Muerte” and “Jesús Malverde.”
Guillermo Contreras is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of his stories here. | email@example.com | @gmaninfedland