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Smith Co. Sheriff Larry Smith discusses highlights of 1st year in office with KETK

KETK
News

POSTED: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 2:50pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 7:52pm

When Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith took the oath of office on January 1, 2013, he brought with him many campaign pledges and commitments, including integrity, efficiency and transparency.

Sheriff Smith tells KETK the transparency pledge included keeping the news media and the public informed through news releases, updates, and when necessary, news conferences.

“We’re now over one year into my first term and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of Smith County for electing me as their sheriff, and update the public on what all has taken place, good and bad,” said Sheriff Smith. “The support I’ve received throughout the county is very much appreciated and I hope to continue receiving input and suggestions on how the Smith County Sheriff's Office can better serve them.”

Recap of Commitments/Accomplishments in 2013

Transparency
 

  • Hired a Public Information Officer to work with News Media
     
  • News Conferences when appropriate
     
  • Using Social Media – Facebook & Twitter
     
  • Implemented tip411, a web-based system allowing the public to report information while remaining anonymous
     
  • Created Human Resources & Office of Professional Responsibility
     
  • Employees of the Smith County Sheriff’s Office are being held to a higher standard than the general public/Since January 1, 2013, hiring standards have been raised. Of 1,106 applications, 97 have been hired.
     
  • In the process of rebuilding the Sheriff’s Office website for more detailed and current information
     
  • Will provide a listing of seized drug assets 

More Deputies on the Streets

  • Now have 40 patrol deputies and 8 patrol sergeants. Their shifts overlap to ensure continuous coverage.
     
  • This allows for proactive law enforcement instead of reactive law enforcement.
     
  • Two sergeants per shift allow for better access to a supervisor by having one north and one south.
     
  • 12-Hour Shifts have put more deputies on the streets and improved response times.
     
  • 12-Hour Shifts with more personnel per shift also allows for special projects such as residential burglary patrols
     
  • In January of 2013, Patrol Deputies were serving all civil process - Now we have two civil deputies which allows patrol deputies the time they need for proactive law enforcement
     
  • Removed all administrative tasks from Patrol and the Criminal Investigation Division such as transporting mail, transporting trustys and tasks not related to their positions.

Focus on Major Drug Issues

  • Most violent crimes are drug-related.
     
  • In the process of adding more Narcotics Investigators.
     
  • Sending a message to drug dealers that they are not welcome in Smith County
     
  • Met with all area Local & State Law Enforcement agencies regarding the potential establishment of a Countywide Drug Investigation Unit & Criminal Interdiction Unit

Focus on Major Crimes

  • Created an Intelligence Officer position
     
  • Reorganized our Criminal Investigation Division & they are performing exceptionally well
     
  • Created a Special Services Division
     
  • Recently started a monthly Criminal Intelligence meeting for all area law enforcement officers
     
  • Utilizing Experienced Volunteers to supplement Cold Case Investigations
     
  • Criminal Investigation Division Property Detectives have arrested and disrupted numerous residential and vehicle burglary operations which has resulted in the recovery of a large quantity of property & the arrest of numerous individuals
     
  • Focus on Unsolved Homicides
     
  • Criminal Investigation Division solved 100% of homicide cases from January 1, 2013 to date (3) and two homicides from 2012. Many of the unsolved homicides date back to the 1980s

Training

  • Providing the training and tools Sheriff’s Office employees need to do their jobs
     
  • K-9 training
     
  • SWAT Training
     
  • Taser Training
     
  • Sheriff’s Association of Texas Conference
     
  • Jail Management Training
     
  • Jail Certification Training – Reached agreement with East Texas Police Academy to provide jail certification training in Tyler at no cost to Smith County Taxpayers
     
  • Will create Patrol Investigator position(s). These deputies will receive a great deal of training in Crime Scene, Interview & Interrogation as well as Criminal Investigation. The Patrol Investigator will also take a great deal of the misdemeanor case workload from the Detectives, allowing Detectives to focus more on major crimes
     
  • The personnel who need training relative to their particular job are receiving that training from subject matter experts
     
  • Require that training received is related to the current job held or new job being sought. No training for the sake of simply recei
    ving training hours

Tools

  • 49 Tasers purchased – From private donations & redirected grant funds. A total of $62,000
     
  • Two Multipurpose Canines purchased (tracking, drug detection & patrol)
     
  • Seven donated 2007 Dodge Chargers
     
  • SCSO received a 23-foot 2012 Skeeter Center Console boat with 360° sonar at no cost to Smith County Taxpayers. Utilized to patrol local lakes during peak times and holidays and also locate submerged evidence
     
  • Eight SCSO employees have received Water Safety Training in order to utilize the newly acquired boat and equipment in our area lakes
     
  • Over 60 new radios for jail communication, paid for entirely with proceeds generated from inmate commissary sales

Cost Savings

  • Patrol Unit striping and insignia cost reduced from $2,700 to $500 per vehicle
     
  • Restructuring SCSO Reserves
     
  • Increased the number of Jail Ministry volunteers & added the Law Enforcement Chaplain Program
     
  • East Texas Food Bank Garden(Will double in size this year)
     
  • Gas fleet cards for patrol to save fuel costs and allow the deputies to remain on the street instead of returning to Tyler to refuel

Plans For The Future

  • Video briefing for patrol
     
  • Video linking for detectives to the crime scene prior to conducting interviews
     
  • Continue to strive to improve patrol response times
     
  • Rebuilding of Sheriff's Office website to allow current information & more timely transparency
     
  • New Jail Construction
     
  • Spillman CAD implementation
     
  • Form an Intelligence Fusion Center in Smith County for participation by Smith, Wood, Van Zandt, Henderson, Anderson, Cherokee, Rusk, Gregg & Upshur Counties

To report a crime or criminal activity, call the Smith County Sheriff's Office at 903-566-6600 or call 911.

 

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