EL PASO, Texas -

El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles has released a statement in response to El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen's comments during city budget hearings on Monday that were critical of sheriff's deputies.

During the budget hearing, Allen mentioned the preliminary talks between the county and the city to consolidate the two law enforcement agencies to save taxpayers money. Allen then questioned if sheriff's deputies would be prepared to be police officers if the consolidation came to pass.

"You have to psychologically prepare someone for this job, and that's where, I think, philosopshically, the Sheriff's dept, in some respects doesn't come to that standard," Allen said during the budget hearing.

Wiles released the following statement in response to Allen's comments.

?Yesterday, during budget hearings for the El Paso Police Department, certain comments were made regarding the training provided to members of the El Paso Sheriff's Office," Wiles said in his statement. First, given the economic situation of local governmental entities, it is important as public officials to look for any efficiencies that can eliminate redundancies, increase service, or save taxpayers monies. It is clear that law enforcement is a large part of both the City and County budgets.

Wiles continued, "As such, the citizens of El Paso have expectations that these agencies continue to provide a high level of service while working together to realize those efficiencies. In regard to the training issue, I have worked for both agencies and am in a unique position to be qualified to comment on the training provided by both. Members of both the El Paso Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office are well trained and provide exceptional service to members of the El Paso Community. Both academies are inspected routinely by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education to ensure compliance with state standards. Graduates of either academy must pass the same state administered examination to ensure consistency in the training process. Additionally, the El Paso County Sheriff's Academy is designated as the Region VIII training facility. As such, we receive state funding to provide training throughout the region to include police officers of the El Paso Police Department. To suggest any officer or deputy trained at either facility is not prepared for the field is irresponsible and subjects the agencies to unfounded criticism.

Wiles continued, "Our community faces a number of challenges, beyond economic ones. We sit across a narrow river from a city in chaos. The border extends from one end of the County to the other. To efficiently protect our citizens it is imperative that all local law enforcement agencies?local and federal?work in complete cooperation with one another and support one another in every way possible for the good of the community. Being critical of other agencies, or fancying ourselves as better or more competent than others, can only serve to erode the public?s confidence in our collective abilities to carry out our mutual mission.?