Williamson County Sheriff Republican primary candidates Q & A

Robert ChodyRobert Chody

Experience: Williamson County Precinct 1 constable, former Austin police officer, former Texas Department of Criminal Justice corrections officer, U.S. Army and Texas National Guard veteran


Why are you running for sheriff?

As a child, a police officer changed my life during a traumatic event for my family. One person does make a difference. I am the candidate that can lead and make a difference within our community for the good. I want to implement positive decisions to have better relationships with the community.

What makes you qualified for this position?

I currently hold two associate degrees and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. I am a graduate of the FBI National Academy. I am the only candidate in the race with recent law enforcement executive experience as the elected constable for the past seven years. I am also a former Austin police officer and TDCJ corrections officer.

What are the top issues the county is currently facing?

Low morale must be addressed at the sheriff’s office. Low morale is at its critical stages that are affecting the services for our community. DWI fatalities are on the rise as well, and we must create a DWI team that mirrors the very one I created last year for the whole county.   

Mike Cowie

Mike Cowie

Experience: Williamson County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division lieutenant, past lieutenant and sergeant of the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Law Enforcement Division in narcotics service, former Jarrell ISD board of trustees member and president, Jarrell-Schwertner Water Supply Corp. board of directors member


Why are you running for sheriff?

I am currently the lieutenant of the Criminal Investigation Division for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office. I want to maintain the [county’s] current ‘tough on crime’ reputation and continue to improve making Williamson County a safe place for people to live and to raise their children.

What makes you qualified for this position?

My qualifications and experience are unparalleled with proven law enforcement performance in Williamson County and across the state of Texas. I’m the only candidate endorsed by both current and former sheriffs of Williamson County. They know I have the administrative and law enforcement experience to protect and serve its citizens.

What are the top issues the county is currently facing?

A top issue the county is facing is increased growth. Two hundred and fifty thousand people live within the sheriff’s office jurisdiction, and the need to continue to provide those people with services significantly increases [as the county grows]. We currently respond to approximately 3,400 calls per month, and that will only increase as the county grows.

Randy EllistonRandy Elliston

Experience: former chief of the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Division, more than 37 years of Texas law enforcement experience, former director of vehicle titles and registration for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles


Why are you running for sheriff?

Williamson County needs a sheriff that has the experience to lead it into the future. As the former chief of the Texas Highway Patrol, I am the only candidate with experience as a top administrator in a large Texas law enforcement agency.

What makes you qualified for this position?

I retired as chief of the Texas Highway Patrol and have over 37 years of Texas law enforcement experience.  I have extensive experience in budget, personnel and emergency management. I am a certified master peace officer and have a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Baylor University.

What are the top issues the county is currently facing?

With the rapid population growth in Williamson County, the sheriff’s office is faced with planning and budgeting demands for public safety as the county continues to grow. [The county] must find a way to increase pay and benefits for its personnel so it can be successful in hiring and retaining the best personnel.

William “Bill” Kelberlau

William “Bill” Kelberlau

Experience: 30 years of active and reserve duty in the U.S. Navy, former businessman, Williamson County Emergency Services District No. 8 board member


Why are you running for sheriff?

The current department has significant internal conflicts and deficiencies and has a reputation perception problem that needs repair. My coming in from the outside gives me the advantage of not being overly influenced by business as usual. And [I will] preserve liberties for future generations.

What makes you qualified for this position?

The breadth of my experience in law and the many achievements and successes in senior management and leadership, both nationally and internationally, [qualifies me for this position]. For example, when I was the worldwide training manager for Texas Instruments [Inc.]’s business computer service, I implemented a successful nationwide training program to restore customer confidence and respect.

What are the top issues the county is currently facing?

Growth and dynamic change [are the top issues]. Williamson County is the fastest-growing county in the U.S. [In] my experience with Texas Instruments in the early 1980s, we changed the way the world did business with personal computers and networked communications. Emergency services response [is another issue]. My military and industrial experience, along with my service as a commissioner in an emergency services district, will allow me to provide the vision needed to meet the growing and changing demands.

Candidates' responses were edited for space.



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