WAXAHACHIE — Selected to fulfill 21 months of a two-year term, Charles “Chuck” Edge was officially sworn-in as Ellis County Sheriff by County Judge Carol Bush during the regular session of the Ellis County Commissioners Court Tuesday.
“During the long and thoughtful interview process, we asked Mr. Edge about his vision for Ellis County and his expectation for Sheriff’s Office, and he responded with five words,” Judge Bush began her statement. “He said, ‘Ethics, leadership, loyalty, integrity, and service to the public.’ And then he pointed out that crossword spelled ‘Ellis,’ and that connection, that resonated with me and the Commissioners. It was what we had as a goal for this position."
Throughout the tedious interview process, Edge was chosen for the position out of 16 other finalists. Because of his outstanding character and former experience as Chief of Police for the City of Waxahachie from 2007-14, Edge was the ideal fit for the job, Bush stated Tuesday.
“As we look at the continued urbanization of Ellis County, the way we set order in a Metroplex, we will only be faced with more and more challenges in the days ahead," Bush said. "[…] So we have chosen someone to lead this department, someone who is well-respected, and has a track record of proven leadership.
“And we firmly believe he is going to lead this department with ethics, leadership, loyalty, integrity and service to the public, making that the department’s core mission, and ultimately a source of pride for Ellis County."
During the swearing in process, Edge repeated the Oath of Honor and received his authorized badge from Bush. Immediately following, Edge transitioned into a second courtroom where he, in return, swore-in a large group of Ellis County Sheriff's deputies.
“We’re going to continue to serve,” Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge instructed his deputies. “I believe my record will show and so will the awards I’ve gotten from employees and other entities is that I’m pretty easy to work with.
“As we all know, this county is growing, and we’re going to have to keep up. But I do look forward to working with all of you. It’s going to be a different game for me in some instances, but at the same time it’s a Police Executive position, it’s a Police Officer position, and I’ve been doing that for quite a while. I’m looking forward to it."
Edge also stated his first order of business is to assess and evaluate the department as a whole.
“Obviously we’ll be talking and taking a look at the different operations we have. Once we see what we have to work on, then we’ll get a game plan to get there. I welcome any new ideas, and I’m open to change,” Chief Edge stated.
And when change arises, Edge said he would embrace it head-on.
“When it comes to creating policies, the last people who decide to approve police are you,” Edge explained. “If we create a policy that doesn’t work for the people on the street or in the jail, that’s just a whole bunch of wasted time.
“Once you show us where we’ve messed up and how it won’t work, then we’ll rewrite it. Once everybody sees and agrees with it and understands it, that’s when it becomes policy. It’s not going to be some short little fellow sitting in an office space, typing and saying, ‘Now do this.’ That’s not going to work."
Edge added, “There are a few words I don’t like to hear, and that’s, ‘Because it’s the way we’ve always done it.’ If that’s that way we’ve always done it, don’t expect to see any change. So we’re going to change some things that we might need, and we’re not going to change the stuff that’s working for us."
After making his objectives known, Edge swore-in the group of deputies, determined to improve the police presence in Ellis County while acclimating to his new position.
“It feels a little different this time around, the position and responsibilities are a little different, but it’s exciting. Like it has been for me every time, you’re always going to have your first day jitters, but it’s exciting,” Edge confirmed.
“And you’ll be seeing the sheriff and command staff out and about meeting members of the community,” he assured with a grin.
*This article was updated Friday, April 28 at 11:30 a.m. after an error was brought to the attention of the Daily Light. In the original article, Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge was quoted to say Ellis County is "broken, and we need to keep up." Edge actually stated that county is "growing, and we need to keep up." The Daily Light apologizes to those misled by our error.
Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer