Community Impact Newspaper spoke with Gleason in December about the new role and how he plans to lead the department moving forward.
Do you think the return of the “Live PD” is an option while you are sheriff?
Not [with] me [as sheriff], it’s not. No, I would never allow something like that.
How about any reality TV show featuring your deputies?
I don't see where people's misfortune and crime and things of that nature are for anybody's entertainment value or that we should gain entertainment value off somebody’s misfortune. You know, reality TV shows are exactly that, and the one thing about reality TV is it's not reality. It's always superimposed; it's always scripted because basic reality is kind of boring for entertaining purposes, so to keep up the ratings, you got to keep hyping it and hyping and hyping it until the point where you have to script it. And that's no longer reality.
What would you say to residents as far as restoring trust back into the department?
We're just going to go back to providing the services that taxpayers [want]. What they want is to see patrol cars in their neighborhood, and they want to see community involvement, and when they call 911, or 311 or any non-emergency number, they want a quick, efficient, professional response. They don't want a production; they don't want to be told, ‘Sorry, we don't have those resources because [deputies are] out doing something that doesn't benefit the taxpayer.’
What would you say to taxpayers to ensure that money is not misspent under your control?
I’ve always been very, very conservative. The last administration had, I believe, had three [budgeted] positions for financial [personnel], and they did not hire anybody with any financial experience to come in and work. It was all up to one person who spent all the money for the entire agency, and he [did] not have a financial background. So we are reassuring the taxpayers that we are bringing back professional financial managers that have decades and decades of experience running public administration—most specifically, law enforcement agencies—to manage all of our money. And their resumes are tried and true, and I'll put them up against anybody in the business. So that's a promise.
Is it your plan to put new financial personnel in place right away?
On Jan. 1, yes. My command staff is currently interviewing those folks, but they will be in place Jan. 1.
How will you mend any divisions within your department to ensure that it works as one unit?
Well, you know, I was told a long time ago by the several bosses of mine, ‘You can become an excellent employee or an ex-employee. The choice is yours.’ I'm the one that they elected to run this office, so if [employees are] not happy with the way that I do my business, then they're free to leave. Those that choose to be constant cancers and pains in our sides and remind us about the way things used to be—we'll go ahead and terminate them as well.
Is there anything else you want the public to know?
We're going to bring Williamson County back to being honest, straightforward and giving the taxpayer what they want, and that's law enforcement and services.