The candidates for Ellis County Sheriff include Republicans Charles E. "Chuck" Edge and Charles "Charlie" Daniels.
1. What is your background in law enforcement and what experience do you bring to the job?
Edge: I have over 32 years of law enforcement experience, including being the Chief of Police for the Cities of Palestine and Waxahachie, and interim Chief for the City of Kyle. I have been the Sheriff of Ellis County for almost 10 months. As a result of being the head of the listed agencies, I have extensive experience in preparing and managing multi-million-dollar budgets.
My career has included patrol, narcotics, training, supervision and administration. I hold a Master Peace Officer license, an Instructor certificate, and a Firearms Instructor certificate. I am a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the Leadership and Command College of the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas.
Daniels: I, have 20 years of law enforcement experience, I am a former field training officer for new recruits, coordinator for the City of Ovilla Police Dept, "National Night Out," worked as Investigator D.F.W. airport for City of Dallas, handled financial crimes Dallas Water Utilities by employees, mostluy theft. Public Information Officer Dallas Water Utilities, liaison for Dallas Independent School District, owner of phone marketing company, office on Main Street, 16th floor downtown, former President of The City of Ovilla Municipal Development District, in charge of distribution of funds derived from 25% tax assessment to Police and Fire departments. Supervisor Field Collections, Code Enforcement, responsible for daily, emcee of special events Dallas Water Utilities. Entertainment Director three top night clubs Dallas, promotion of local events, concerts, media promotions, in charge of hiring, music top selections by record companies, purchasing and maintenance of club sound systems and voice for commercials in the Dallas, Ft. Worth markets. Owner of Transportation company for short jaunts out of Galveston Harbor. I bring, common sense, compassion, service to the community, purpose, empathy, honoring the golden rule treat employees, with praise, respect and basically treat folks the way you want to be treated.
2. What do you see as the biggest need or needs facing the sheriff’s office and the jail today and in the future? What is your plan to meet that need or needs?
Edge: One of them is addressed by question number five, recruiting and retaining experienced personnel, so I will discuss that later. Another need relates to the radio system. As Ellis County continues to grow, all of the law enforcement agencies in the county will need to work more closely together. We currently work well together, but we can’t talk to each other. Waxahachie is on a different frequency range than Midlothian, and the Sheriff’s Office (SO) is on a different range than either of them.
We are currently working on this situation. The current County Judge and Commissioners Court have been apprised of this need and are receptive of the needed “fix.” Members of the SO have already talked with members of WPD and MPD to discuss the issue as well.
Daniels: One of the biggest needs is to talk to elementary school children, teach them about law enforcement, respect for each other, we got to help future generations understand, morals, ethics, to support law, not steal, honesty, sense of purpose, honor of Mother and father, don't bully, report unlawful acts, be a good citizen, love family, God, country, respect for themselves and others always. Jails are beginning to overflow with young people.
3. What role does community-policing play in the operations of sheriff’s office?
Edge: Community-policing is not a new concept, in fact, it dates back to Robert Peel and 1829. We all know that law enforcement can’t do our job without the public’s help. The public and law enforcement haven’t always enjoyed the best relationship. That’s where community-policing comes in, fostering a good relationship.
Many agencies created a community-policing unit to help do this. I have a different view. Community-policing shouldn’t be a box on an organizational chart, it needs to be a mindset of all the employees of the agency. We are fostering this mindset within our organization, so that the employees will carry that on with the community.
Daniels: Community policing is a very important and an inegral part of any law enforcement agency, citizens on patrol, National Night Out, involvement by all citizen, young and older is a must, through community involvement, events, radio programs, social media, goal is to reduce crime, increase crime reporting, lessen criminal activities in every community, the operation of the Sheriff Department focus must be a priority of community interaction and a responsibility.
4. Over the past few years, the sheriff’s office has issues concerning its staff. One such incident was the theft of firearms from the property room. How do you intend to solve or prevent these types personnel issues?
Edge: Responsibility and accountability start at the top. “The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.” (Gruenter and Whitaker) We are making the SO into a professional organization, and implementing policies and practices that will help to prevent the type of activity referenced above and hold employees accountable. The property room issue was one of the first to be addressed, and that issue has been resolved.
Daniels: First the thefts should have never occurred, with the proper checks and balances, chain of custody, inventory controls, photographing of every logged item, the thefts were a blight on the Sheriff office. No one or even two persons would be responsible for any items, firearms etc.. Years ago I was going to college in hopes of becoming an F.B.I. agent, my focus was to be financial crimes and thefts, working at night I became aware that anyone could come to the warehouse of which I was in charge of at night and get rolls of copper, tools, housekeeping supplies, without any questions or identification, finally one day I contacted a manager about accountability for all supplies by issuance of cards, well months later cards were issued and inventory control and accountability was implemented, saved tax payers thousands of dollars. At the Sheriff dept, I would evaluate and implement tighter controls and tracking all items in custody.
5. One issue facing many law enforcement agencies is retention of experienced personnel due to issues like lack of opportunities for advancement or low pay, how are you looking to address this issue if elected?
Edge: Not every employee works for the biggest paycheck, but yes, an agency does need to be competitive with similar agencies around them. This is especially true in law enforcement, because as you mentioned, there is also little room for advancement. I worked on the pay issue in the last budget, and will continue to do so in each budget.
We recently started hiring deputies from the ranks of our detention officers. With the help of the Judge and Commissioners, we are upgrading our equipment. Most notable there is the recent purchase of new patrol vehicles. We are increasing, and diversifying our training. These measures do help in retention of personnel.
Another thing we are doing is changing the culture of the SO. We are making it an agency that people want to be associated with. We have seen this help already, as we have had former employees come back to the SO.
Daniels: I would have to meet with The County Judge and Commissioners to ascertain budget information, comparative pay scales for other local Sheriff Departments, evaluate opening of more higher pay scales, avenues of advancements all with the approval of The County Judge and Commissioners Court.