2020 Republican candidates Troy Guidry, R. Glenn Smith, Dan Porter for Waller County sheriff

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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Here is what you need to know if you're voting.

This year's Republican primaries include three candidates for Waller County sheriff, who oversees public safety across the county, which covers a portion of the Katy area.

Community Impact Newspaper asked the candidates for their thoughts about the county's most pressing public safety issue and mental health. Early voting runs Feb. 18-28, and election day is March 3.

The winner of this race will proceed to the November general election against candidate Cedric D. Watson, the only Democratic candidate who filed for the 2020 primaries for the position. Community Impact Newspaper only publishes candidate Q&A's for contested races.

In this Q&A, candidates are listed in alphabetical order by last name. Their responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

*Indicates incumbent candidate

Troy Guidry

Top priorities: patrol division, agency restructure and deputy pay scale

Occupation: deputy sheriff

Years in Waller County: 14

Campaign contact information: 281-382-8989, troy.guidry@electtroyguidry.com, www.electtroyguidry.com

Why are you motivated to seek this public office?

I am running for Waller County Sheriff to provide the citizens of Waller County the service, dedication and protection they deserve. I plan on doing this while also keeping our small town values to build a stronger, more productive sheriff's office.

What is the most pressing public safety issue in Waller County?

The lack of an appropriate amount of patrol deputies within the county. Recently, we have had a high volume of equipment theft from both residential property and local businesses. I feel a higher visibility and presence of patrol deputies is one of the best deterrents to this issue. I plan to enforce community policing where the deputies interact more with the community in a positive manner. We can then work together to reduce the criminal element within the county. The patrol deputies cannot be everywhere at all times. At the end of the day, the citizens know their environment best. When our deputies interact with the citizens in this manner, we can all work together to make Waller County a safe place to live.

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

When elected, my goal is to ensure the Waller County Sheriff's Office implements and enforces more structured job duties, positions and policies. One common statement from citizens I have spoken with throughout my campaign is the feel of a "good ole boy network" within the current office. I plan to remove this stigma by incorporating all of the citizens of Waller County into my network. I plan to serve all the citizens of Waller County, not a select few. I will also ensure an appropriate pay scale for each position as well implement pay standards for promotions based on merit. Taking a quote from one of my mentors, I want to train the employees of the Waller County Sheriff's Office to be able to leave to work for any other agency, but treat them so they do not want to go anywhere else.

What can Waller County do ensure the safety and mental well-being of inmates?

The best way Waller County can ensure the safety and mental well-being of citizens and inmates is to become more informed as a community with regard to mental illness. One in 5 adults in Texas have some sort of mental illness. The majority of all calls to the sheriff's office is for a citizen in distress. The responding deputy does not know the mental health status of the complainant and/or suspect on the scene. All employees will be trained to identify visual and verbal signs of a mentally ill person. The training will also include thorough screening by medical personnel when processing a prisoner into the jail. This is a screening process. If the prisoner is not in the system from prior arrests it is up to the prisoner or his/her family to advise the jail employees of any history of mental illness. It is a proven fact that mental illness and the criminal element are closely related. With that being said, we as citizens need to be sure criminals are held accountable for their actions.

Dan Porter

Top priorities: professional image, transparency and community trust

Occupation: Self-employed with a background in law enforcement, emergency medial service and fire services

Years in Waller County: 3

Campaign contact information: 281-705-0347, info@porterforsheriff.com, www.porterforsheriff.com

Why are you motivated to seek this public office?

After several years of complaining about the issues inside our sheriff's office, I decided to stop complaining and be the solution. That's the best part of our government, if you don't like it, you can run for office to try and fix it. So that is what I am doing!

What is the most pressing public safety issue in Waller County?

Waller County is well funded; However, the funds are not properly being utilized by the current elected sheriff. My plan is to reorganize the office to place more patrol vehicles on the streets where they belong. Our county is growing by the day, and we need more deputies on the streets protecting those who are moving here and those who are already here.

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

During my first term, my focus will be on reorganizing the office; bringing in modern technology for patrol, jail and dispatch divisions' as well as finding grants for these improvements. I will also work closely with the community, holding bi-monthly town hall meetings so the residents can have an opportunity to share their comments, compliments, complaints and concerns!

What can Waller County do ensure the safety and mental well-being of inmates?

Training and oversight. I believe we need to hire and train the proper personnel for the proper positions and make sure they are receiving continued training and education for the mental health as well as new disorders we are seeing from different social, ethnic and economic cultures. Mental health is ever changing. Just like many things, we need to make sure we are current on these new findings.

R. Glenn Smith*

Top priorities: safety and security of all citizens and their property

Occupation: Waller County Sheriff

Years in Waller County: 18

Campaign contact information: 281-831-0680, rglennsmith@sbcglobal.net, www.sheriffrglennsmith2020.com

Why are you motivated to seek this public office?

At 15 or 16 years of age, I knew that law enforcement was where I wanted to be. I am honored to get the opportunity to do public service work in this field. The constitutional position of sheriff is the true representative of the people and their first line of law enforcement.

What is the most pressing public safety issue in Waller County?

Our population growth has created a major increase in need of a progressive law enforcement office that stays in tune with fighting crime and maintaining a safe environment, including our roadways.

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

I want to continue my goal of preparing this county for the next generation. We have accomplished everything from new divisions to office for state officers. There is much more to do and I want to stay the course for Waller County.

What can Waller County do ensure the safety and mental well-being of inmates?

We have already implemented procedures and a better way to serve the clients of mental health issues. Some of these are state required; however, we are going beyond what is required with more training of staff and easier access to the mental health field. Also, we are in the process of creating our own mental health unit of trained individuals to work with not only our inmates but also with the general public in order to better understand their individual needs.