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
281-914-7369
www.ellison4sheriff.com



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
281-341-4704
www.votenehls.com



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.



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