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 to Feb. 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.
With a 36-year law enforcement career that spans from correctional officer to narcotics investigator, Jeffery Taylor said he has the experience necessary to help Anderson County Sheriff's Office reach it's full potential – but it will take time – and money.
“Training is most important,” Taylor, 57, told the Herald-Press Wednesday. “Currently, the county has budgeted only $10,000 annually for training for the entire sheriff's office. Roughly half of that is used by those with rank, leaving only about $5,000 for all deputies and jailers.”
Taylor said he is aware an increased budget requires Anderson County Commissioners Court approval, but he's willing to fight to get it, and more.
“We need higher recruitment numbers,” he said. “I'm in favor of upping deputies' pay-scale to at least what the local police are paid. Right now, a deputy starts off at about $6,000 less per year than a new officr. The police also get a signing bonus; deputies don't.”
If Taylor wins, he said, his first priority after money is the re-evaluation of all ACSO deputies and staff from the top down.
“I intend to hold everyone accountable for their actions,” he said. “That said, accountability has to start with the leadership. That's what they're paid for.
“I will say this: no suspected criminal activity will ever be investigated in-house if I am elected. If there's an incident, particularly in our jail, the Texas Rangers will be called immediately.”
The immediate reporting of suspected crimes within the ACSO and jail, Taylor said, is part of his overall plan for transparency in the department.
“It's something we don't have now,” he said. “Any media can be a help. Papers and television can help deter crime, or at the very least keep the tax payers informed of how their money is being spent by the sheriff's office.”
Texas state Representative Garnet Coleman (R-Houston) told the Herald-Press last month he will be looking strongly at criminal justice reform until the 2021 session of the Texas House, when he intends to make it a cornerstone issue.
Taylor said he supports Coleman's plan.
“Reform is necessary from time to time,” he said. “Re-evaluating our standards and how we meet them is reassuring to residents, and helpful to both law enforcement officers and community members.”
Crime, unfortunately, is everywhere, Taylor said; even in small towns. Residents of Anderson County should always be on the alert, and if they see something suspicious, should phone the police.
“Burglaries and narcotics are the two biggest epidemics plaguing Anderson County right now,” he said. “Combating these is where my experience and knowledge lie. I hope the residents of Anderson County decide to let me serve them the best way I know how.”