3 Democrats, 3 Republicans vie to be Fort Bend County's next sheriff

Three Democrats and three Republicans are competing for votes to ultimately become Fort Bend County sheriff.
Three Democrats and three Republicans are competing for votes to ultimately become Fort Bend County sheriff.

Three Democrats and three Republicans are competing for votes to ultimately become Fort Bend County sheriff.

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Eric Fagan
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Geneane Hughes
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Holland Jones
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Trever Nehls
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Siddiqi Muzaffar
Three Democrats and three Republicans are competing for votes to ultimately become Fort Bend County sheriff. Troy Nehls, who announced he would be running for U.S. Congress District 22 in December, made it known last summer he would not be seeking re-election for Fort Bend County sheriff in 2020.

Eric Fagan (D)

Years in Fort Bend County: 29

Campaign website: www.ericfagan.com

If elected, I would: immediately rescind the 911 policy and request for more manpower to properly patrol Fort Bend.


1. If elected, what would you do to address the rising population of inmates with mental illnesses?

[I would] utilize the training I received while earning my masters in juvenile forensic psychology. ... [I would] also work with the district attorney and the courts on a diversion program where anybody arrested on a misdemeanor non-violent crime is out in three days if they [have] major depression, schizophrenia and/or bipolar disorder. They would then be transferred to a stabilization unit. Studies have shown 72 hours helps stabilize them, and they can receive help.

2. What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing Fort Bend County right now from a public safety standpoint?

The biggest challenge is the current 911 policy. The current policy has 911 dispatchers only sending calls to sheriff deputies and not to the constables. This order actually puts the residents of Fort Bend in greater harm. If someone is breaking into your home, does it matter what agency comes? No, you want the nearest unit available.

3. In what area do you believe Fort Bend County needs to allocate more funds when it comes to public safety?

More funds are needed to hire more deputies and raise salaries. Sometimes there are as few as nine units available on the streets of Fort Bend to patrol the rural areas. Our salaries must be competitive with other surrounding sheriff’s departments to attract officers. We must properly staff our investigative divisions so we can clear the backlog of unsolved cases, while also showing the department that the sheriff is concerned about issues that affect them.

Geneane Hughes (D)

Years in Fort Bend County: 11

Campaign website: www.geneanehughesforfbcosheriff.com

If elected, I would: promote more advocacy, transparency, and overall humility.

1. If elected, what would you do to address the rising population of inmates with mental illnesses?

Statistically, people seem to spend funds on building more prisons instead of addressing mental illness. I would address the issue with advocacy to ensure each situation is addressed by involving more professional resources before they are part of a population of inmates. [We need to] ensure evaluations are done to ensure the person having the crisis has met the criteria for mental health issues and can get mental health treatment in a proper facility.

2. What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing Fort Bend County right now from a public safety standpoint?

As a resident and an executive public servant, I believe collaboration between jurisdictions is one of our major challenges. Non-communication cuts into full assistance with necessary programs that can eliminate human-trafficking in our area. Communication can reduce the use of force with a person in crisis.

3. In what area do you believe Fort Bend County needs to allocate more funds when it comes to public safety?

There are several areas that could use allocated funds, and the best way to figure that out is with statistics which change at times. Law enforcement has several crime data resources that provide accurate areas that need assistance.

Holland Jones (D)

Years in Fort Bend County: 7

Campaign website: www.hollandjones4sheriff.com

If elected, I would: change public perception of the sheriff’s office and improve community relations.

1. If elected, what would you do to address the rising population of inmates with mental illnesses?

I would mandate that all sworn and non-sworn personnel attend both Crisis Intervention Training as well as Mental Health Certification training [to] ensure that all inmates and residents of Fort Bend County receive the highest quality care and treatment from all staff in the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. Accountability will also have a more concentrated focus applied to staff, should an investigation ensue in the jail or the county, regarding mental illness.

2. What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing Fort Bend County right now from a public safety standpoint?

The biggest challenge is the lack of trust and communication between the members of the community and the sheriff’s office. If the public doesn’t trust its sheriff’s office, the chances of solving crime or aiding will be hindered. The communication gap must be closed. ... I will create a Proactive Community Engagement Division to expedite [this].

3. In what area do you believe Fort Bend County needs to allocate more funds when it comes to public safety?

More funds should be allocated to improve pay rates for members of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office (commensurate with their experience and training levels). More funds should also be allocated for the immediate hiring of personnel for the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Patrol, C.I.D., and Jail Divisions across the board. By hiring more personnel, at better pay rates, we can provide relief to the currently overworked staff while improving morale.

Trever Nehls (R)

Years in Fort Bend County: 27

Campaign website: www.facebook.com/TreverForSheriff

If elected, I would: continue to sustain the great work being done at the FBC Sheriff’s Office.

1. If elected, what would you do to address the rising population of inmates with mental illnesses?

[I would] continue the excellent integrated approach between the Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), jail personnel, and the county behavioral health team to identify situations where incarceration is not the best approach to overall public safety. In those cases where incarceration is the only option, I will insure that this same team approach is utilized to provide excellent medical/psychological services in the most cost-efficient manner.

2. What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing Fort Bend County right now from a public safety standpoint?

Illegal Immigration: Law enforcement agencies continue to arrest individuals that have committed serious crimes only to find they have been deported before and then reentered the country illegally. This is dangerous and must be addressed. The immigration argument should not be a partisan issue. Republicans and Democrats alike support safety and security, and the current immigration policies in our country are broken.

3. In what area do you believe Fort Bend County needs to allocate more funds when it comes to public safety?

Crisis Intervention is an area that all law enforcement agencies deal with on a daily basis, and having the personnel and training for this is and should remain a top priority. As Sheriff I will continue to advocate for appropriate funding in this area. [Fort Bend County] Commissioners Court has been supportive on this issue, and I will work with them to continue this collaborative effort.

Siddiqi Muzaffar (R)

Years in Fort Bend County: 15

Campaign website: siddiqiforsheriff.com

If elected, I would: ensure every citizen in Fort Bend County will get even-handed treatment and protection with respect.

1. If elected, what would you do to address the rising population of inmates with mental illnesses?

I would address the rising population of inmates with mental illness by partnering with [nongovernmental organizations] and specialized organizations that provide proper mental health treatment. I would also engage in conversations with the district attorney’s office to discuss possible diversion programs for low level criminal offenders that suffer from mental illness. There [needs] to be collaboration with crisis intervention team, courts and local mental health facilities.

2. What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing Fort Bend County right now from a public safety standpoint?

The largest challenge facing Fort Bend County is the increasing population and limited number of resources in the law enforcement, social organizations and accessible services. Staffing the department with quality personnel and keeping them [is also a challenge]. The county is suffering from lack of qualified applicants. Morale is also key to keeping the staff focused on providing a service to taxpayers.

3. In what area do you believe Fort Bend County needs to allocate more funds when it comes to public safety?

I believe that Fort Bend County must allocate more resources within the sheriff’s department. The most populous area in the county, Precinct 3 Katy/Cinco Ranch, has seen population growth unlike any other area of the county. Mental health services and community interaction programs for youth [also need more funds].

John Minchew (R)

Candidate did not respond to questionnaire
By Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.


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