Candidates for Fort Bend County Sheriff name top priorities

Local election guide

Local election guide

Michael Ellison Michael Ellison[/caption]

Michael Ellison (Democrat)

Hometown: Crabb, Texas

What about your background and experience makes you the most qualified candidate to serve as sheriff?

I worked as a correctional officer for one year with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I have over 31 years of law enforcement experience with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the largest in the state of Texas. And of those 31 years, 14 years [were] as a supervisor. I hold a Master’s Peace Officer License [and] a Master Jailer’s License.

What are your top two priorities if elected?

The Fort Bend County sheriff’s office is experiencing a massive exodus of personnel in patrol, criminal investigative bureau and in the detention bureau. My first priority is to staff this office with the manpower needed and allocate those resources in areas that are needed. And it will reduce the overtime spending cost in the jail. [My] second priority is to bring Fort Bend County into the 21st Century. I want to bring community policing to Fort Bend County sheriff’s office.

What is the biggest challenge currently facing the sheriff’s office, and how would you handle that challenge?

Leadership in the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office is ineffective. Leadership sets the tempo and attitude of the office, which starts at the top and filters [its] way down to the bottom. The attitude of leadership, whether negative or positive, reflects the attitude of its personnel, and it determines the temperature—the response—in the community.  As sheriff, I want to bring change in the community and ensure that this organization’s work is legitimate in the eyes of the public in order to build the fibers of trust and bridge the connection between law enforcement and the community.

What would you do to ensure the sheriff’s office has the manpower and resources to manage a growing Fort Bend County?

I will start with an aggressive recruiting campaign [and] increase the number of reserves the sheriff’s office has now and utilize them on patrol. I would bring back those skilled deput[ies] who [have] retired and offer part-time contract positions. [I will] accept lateral transfers from other law enforcement agencies and extend the neighborhood contract program, which will put more boots on the ground.

Troy Nehls Troy Nehls[/caption]

Troy Nehls (Republican, incumbent)

Hometown: Fox Lake, Wisconsin

What about your background and experience makes you the most qualified candidate to serve as sheriff?

I have served as your sheriff for the past four years and have kept all of my campaign promises, which include increased crime solve rates, reduced overtime spending in Criminal Investigations, and built stronger relationships with agencies throughout Fort Bend County.

What are your top two priorities if elected?

My first priority is to ensure Fort Bend County remains one of the safest places in America to live. I am so proud of all the personnel at the sheriff’s office who have responded to my challenge to solve more crimes and to send a clear message to criminals they are not welcome in this county. ... During my first term, we have seen our clearance rate on burglaries improve by almost 238 percent. My second priority is to continue our efforts to aid in mobility.

What is the biggest challenge currently facing the sheriff’s office, and how would you handle that challenge?

One of the biggest challenges we face at the sheriff’s office is dealing with citizens suffering from mental illness. Our crisis intervention team is comprised of 10 highly dedicated and trained deputies who work directly with mental health consumers and a network of mental health providers. Every time we divert one of these persons from incarceration in [a] detention facility or occupying a bed in an emergency room, we have achieved the mission. I’d like to increase our intervention capabilities and specialized training by building upon the existing foundation.

What would you do to ensure the sheriff’s office has the manpower and resources to manage a growing Fort Bend County?

The sheriff’s office is currently 95 percent staffed, and we have worked hard to keep our allocated positions filled. Since becoming sheriff four years ago, I have regularly conducted workload analysis to ensure employees are properly allocated and able to respond to residents’ calls for service. Commissioners Court has been very receptive to increasing our staff when requested, and I feel we are adequately staffed to serve Fort Bend County.


The Texas Central rail connection from Dallas to Houston will feature a bullet train similar to this one. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain

Texas Central, the company looking to build a 236-mile high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas, has been given a big win in an ongoing legal battle over whether the company is legally recognized as a "railroad company" under state law.

Mayvenn opened May 1 inside Walmart at 6060 North Fry Road, Katy. (Courtesy Mayvenn)
Black-owned beauty tech company opens in Katy

Mayvenn exists to guide and empower women of color along their hair journeys and offer a one-stop shop for hair services.

More than 20 countries, including Denmark, participate in CETUSA. (Courtesy CETUSA)
Foreign exchange student program seeks host families

CETUSA is a nonprofit foreign exchange program for high school students.

ribbon cutting
Nearly $400M project to boost Houston-area water supply by up to 500M gallons a day

The project has been in development for over 50 years and broke ground in 2017.

Following Hurricane Harvey, debris lined the streets in many parts of Harris County. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact Newspaper)
After Department of Housing and Urban Development denies request, Texas General Land Office drafting plan to subaward Harris County $750M for flood mitigation

The Texas General Land Office now plans to subaward Harris County flood mitigation funding after the county was left out of recent Hurricane Harvey relief funds.

Harris County Pets facilitates pet adoptions, foster placements and more. (Courtesy Harris County Pets)
Harris County Pets temporarily waives adoption fees to control increase of population

Harris County Pets has exceeded its capacity to house its growing pet population, officials said.

Americans spent 44% more shopping on websites, including Amazon, in 2020 than in 2019. (Courtesy Amazon)
Surge in online shopping strains Houston’s distribution channels

Online spending in the U.S. was up 44% from 2019 to 2020, and transportation expert Bill Eisele said this uptick has put a strain on the region’s transportation system.

According to county officials, 40% of the $125 billion in damage caused by Hurricane Harvey took place within Harris County. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas General Land Office says it is 'not feasible' to request $750M in federal flood aid within 30 days

Houston-area officials ask for 30-day-dealine on the Texas General Land Office's formal request for $750 million in federal flood aid funding, but GLO says it is not possible.

Traditionally held in the spring, this year’s Wild West Brewfest will be in November at Katy Mills Mall. (Courtesy Pexels)
Wild West Brewfest returning to Katy in November

The Wild West Brewfest, an event featuring more than 100 brewers from across the country and more than 500 beers, will return to Katy this November.

Texas Central has signed a $16 billion contract with Webuild to lead the civil construction team that will build the train. (Rendering courtesy Texas Central)
Texas Central signs $16B construction contract for high-speed rail project

Texas Central could be one step closer to starting construction.

Ronnie Edwards (Courtesy Katy ISD)
Katy ISD announces new assistant superintendent

Katy ISD has tapped Ronnie Edwards as the District’s new assistant superintendent for school leadership and support.