This year, the people of Anderson County will electing a new sheriff. Republican candidates Rudy Flores and Jeffery Taylor will square off in the primaries on March 3, with early voting from Feb. 18-28. There are no other candidates for Anderson County Sheriff at this time. The 2020General election is set for Nov. 3, with early voting from Oct. 19-30.
Long-time Texas Ranger, and contender for Anderson County Sheriff Rudy Flores said, if elected, his first order of business would be to evaluate all sheriff's office personnel, and put people where they belong.
Flores, 56, a Palestine resident, told the Herald-Press Wednesday his overall goal is that of a responsive and accessible sheriff's office. This can only be attained, he said, with the right people in the right positions.
“Not everyone can be the quarterback,” Flores, wearing his signature white cowboy hat said. “We're going to identify the abilities and attributes of all ACSO employees, and assess their strengths with a complete and thorough investigation.”
Where his 30-plus years of law enforcement experience, 19 of them as a Texas Ranger, Flores said his experience brings with it valuable relationships with other agencies with whom he has worked. Still, though, he said – being a sheriff is a world apart from being a Ranger.
“A Ranger's duty is to provide services to the community for which he or she is assigned,” he said. “A sheriff works as part of the community. A sheriff helps mold, shape, mentor and provide support to deputies and staff.”
To serve the community properly, Flores said, deputies must be properly trained, and held accountable for their actions. The accountability, however, must come from the top.
“Actions are reflections of leadership,” he said. “But, if elected, I intend to hold everyone to a standard according to the laws, policies and procedures. Law enforcement officers must operate under a standard of ethical conduct.
“Someone once said, 'with integrity, nothing else matters; without integrity, nothing else matters.' That's what I mean by ethical conduct.”
Such conduct, Flores said, must be viewed by the public in order to be effective. A department that is as transparent as possible would help make that happen.
“Of course, there's always going to be things law enforcement can't talk about, particularly in open investigations,” he said. “But yes, open communication and press releases are an important tool; being transparent as possible is good not only for the sheriff's office and the community, but for the officers and jailers, as well.”
Staffing the ACSO with personnel to hold accountable, Flores said, is a challenge. Although the new sheriff won't take office until January 2021, he has already begun working on plans to increase deputy recruitment.
“We have to work with the resources we have,” he said. “Capitalize on things like the awesome programs our local schools have to offer, and show them to potential candidates who have families. We can set up talks with real estate agents who can show candidates how much further their dollar stretches in Anderson County, compared with places like Dallas County.
“Also, not being bound by civil service as is the police department, I can recruit people with experience – retirees who have worked crime scenes for twenty years.”
During his decades wearing a badge, Flores said he's seen society change with the times. With each change, he said, law enforcement policies must be re-evaluated to determine their efficacy.
“We need a periodic review of our policies and procedures,” he said. “We have to ensure we are meeting the standard of ethical conduct for our residents.”
During his candidacy, and into his tenure as sheriff if elected, Flores said he wants to hear from the people of Anderson County.
“I want to hear your thoughts and concerns of what you all feel needs to be addressed,” he said. “I am humbled and honored by the volume of support I've received from the people of Anderson County.”