Editor Note: I got a request from a friend in law enforcement who asked to write a blog post focusing on changes at the HCSO.
I have many friends who walk the halls of the CJC, conducting their daily business. Some always seem to have a smile on their face, and some have that eternal scowl. However, recently, I noticed that people’s nonverbal cues have become disheartening. I work for another part of the justice system, and have been a part of the justice system for over 20 years. I have been a part of quite a few regime changes, and have been an onlooker to several regime changes at the CJC.
Murray has been quite eloquent, and has usually been on-point, in regards to the politics at the CJC. However, even he realizes he is not an expert in the politics of the law enforcement side of the CJC. So, I decided to step up to the computer and write some comments.
When Adrian Garcia took office years ago, those two words from the beginning of my post were very prevalent. The Sheriff’s Office had gone through many years of the likes of Johnny Klevenhagen and Tommy Thomas. The agency had gone through some tough times, with the fiscal problems with Commissioner’s Court, to a string of deputies losing their lives on duty. But, the agency had some good times as well, through most of Sheriff’s Thomas’ tenure. But, when Garcia took office, nobody had a clue that there were going to be as many problems that actually materialized. From low morale to jail problems, budget cuts, to the department becoming more top-heavy than it had ever been, I watched as the HCSO went downhill, and fast. But, then Garcia went to run for mayor and Ron Hickman was appointed.
Now, the general consensus was that we couldn’t do any worse than Garcia, even though the rank and file knew that Hickman came over from Precinct 4 Constable’s Office with some baggage. But, in the short amount of time that Constable Hickman became Sheriff Hickman, I saw firsthand that many of the problems from the previous administration started to change. People were generally happy to be a part of the Sheriff’s Office. With the pending election, many employees of the HCSO started saying, not if, but when Hickman gets elected, the department will finally get back on the path to becoming one of the top law enforcement agencies in the State of Texas. But, as Lee Corso says on Saturdays, “not so fast my friend.” Hickman lost to Ed Gonzalez.
Now, with the election over, I was immediately drawn to the following quote, “Those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.” For the rank and file of the Sheriff’s Office, we believe that we are back in 2008, with the promises being the same and the results starting to look more disastrous.
So, now when those of you who read Murray’s wonderful column, and thank you Murray for letting me hijack it for a time, walk through the CJC and see a deputy with a long face and a disconcerting scowl, you now have some insight into our plight. So, for all my friends in the CJC, on both sides of the table, as well as my friends, brothers and sisters who wear the badge, please don’t forget that we are all in this together, whether you want to believe that or not. Hopefully, we have learned from the past.