The election season is upon us, and I am well under way to begin my run for Sheriff of this great County. I have had the distinct honor and privilege to serve as a Texas Game Warden since 1992, the majority of it in Smith County. Besides my marriage and the birth of my children, the day I had that blue badge pinned on my chest in Austin, Texas was one of the most memorable days of my life. When I moved to Smith County, Tyler I had learned many of life’s lessons and was full of enthusiasm to be here. I was now Smith County’s Game Warden. I was someone the folks could count on. I was one that you could depend on to come when needed. I was one that would respond rather than react. The folks knew me as fair, but firm enforcing the law. I took on a role as leader in the community and an educator to the children. I was driven by a passion to serve. I served as a peace officer who took a sacred oath to protect and defend the Constitution and uphold the laws of the land. I wanted the people of this County to feel safe in my presence, because I would defend them from harm and extreme prejudice. I am a professional in every sense of the word. I am a person of competence, with a purpose to serve and protect. Whether it’s arresting the bad guys, assisting other agencies, deploying to the border or working a natural disaster, I have been there and done it. I have worked as part of a team, shoulder to shoulder with many brother officers from varying agencies. I will work as your Sheriff with that same tenacity, competence, fairness and team oriented spirit to assure we get the job done to the best of our ability.
One of the biggest issues facing Smith County and police agencies currently, is not drugs, gangs, crimes of violence or budgets. It’s the erosion of public confidence in our police. We are under attack! There is rarely a week that goes by that we are not served up with the latest “cops gone wild” video. Many, with cell phones and some media have seen to it that negative scrutiny of our police is their only mission. Even when we get it right the large majority of the time, police work is still not pretty to watch. So what can I do about it? Under my command, as Sheriff, we will operate as a “team”. No one person can do it all. We are stronger when we work together with the faith community, mental health, social services, business owners, community leaders, educators, health workers and others to help make life better for all who live in this County. I will require our officers to use common sense, with an effort to respond, rather than react. I will require our front line officers to have better training on how to handle combative or mentally ill persons. Our officers will operate on the belief they are always being recorded. I will expect others officers to step in and defuse a potential bad situation with a brother officer. No officer wants to be labeled a “dirty cop” and go to jail. I will utilize drug seizure monies, private donations, any surplus budget revenue to ensure our deputies have body cams. I will encourage all of our officers to continue their law enforcement education. Training is the key to becoming a professional Peace Officer, not just a cop on the beat. The largest part of the SCSO budget is in the employees. So, it only makes sense to put money back into the success of your employees. The best way to assure their success is through training and education. That translates in to savings for the community, and proficiency for the agency, so it’s money well invested.
I believe the Sheriff is the last line of defense for the U. S. Constitution. A Sheriff is the sworn protector. I believe Federal overreach is occurring all around the country. By simply saying “no” to Federal laws outside the scope of their constitutionally delegated authority, it is the path to Liberty. Whether it’s the Federal Government trying to take cattle from a rancher, the EPA attempting to shut down a dairy farm, the IRS targeting, the Branch Davidian Church or Ruby Ridge unconstitutional debacles, I will stand fast against it! I will have the courage and the wherewithal to keep my oath of office; to stand for what’s right and to stand for our God-given liberties! Many Sheriff’s around the country already have. The Texas Constitution contains a provision that proclaims the federal constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land. Therefore, the Sheriff swears allegiance to the Federal and State Constitutions. The Sheriff is obligated to protect the law and the security of a free State. I will see to it that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (2nd amendment) remains the Supreme Law of the land.
Facts: Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith was a BATF agent that went to the Branch Davidian Church in Waco and boasted on a local T.V. station that some good things occurred there during the 51 day siege. Really? Four brother BATF agents were killed and 76 followers, including five children under 14 years old. I question a person who believes some good came from that Janet Reno led inferno.
Facts: I am endorsed by Sheriff Richard Mack, retired Sheriff of Graham County, Arizona. Sheriff Mack sued the Clinton administration over the Brady Bill in 1994 and won. Supreme Court Justice Scalia opined for the majority. He declared that the States are not subject to Federal direction.
Facts: I am and will remain objective to ideas and gray/undecided areas of law. There will be no objectivity with regard to my oath of office and the proper role of all levels of Government, particularly the federal government within local jurisdictions and relative to the people bearing in mind the Bill of Rights to the Constitution that I will be bound by to uphold and defend.
With increasing frequency, law enforcement is called upon to be the first responders to individuals in serious mental health crises. It is a must that law enforcement officers are trained in understanding and handling mental illness. There are tactics that are proven to work most effectively. The goal is to keep the officer safe, the mentally ill person safe, and reduce the liability on the part of the officer and the County. As Sheriff, I will make sure all of our officers have the training needed to identify various disorders they encounter and how to appropriately handle each. Our officers will learn to evaluate a person’s intellectual functioning, his/her behavioral reactions and emotional reactions. Our officers will follow the law, and policy and procedure with these matters, but will also utilize a common sense approach. Our nation’s system of jail and prisons has now become the largest facility for persons with mental illness.