To the Editor,

This is a response to the mailer I sent out and I posted this on Wess Winn for Sheriff on Feb. 13.

My letter to the voters is not a criticism of the hardworking deputies and jailers of the sheriff department. My issue is with the leadership and decisions made by the current sheriff. Below is just one example:

On the evening of Dec. 26, 2015 a tornado ripped through northern parts of Ellis County. Almost every neighborhood affected in Ellis County was in the sheriff department’s jurisdiction. There were six Ellis County deputies on patrol in Ellis County when the tornado struck. All six of those deputies responded but because of the limited number of deputies on duty, other law enforcement agencies were requested by the Incident Commander and Emergency Management. I called my Lieutenant to see if I was needed that night. My Lieutenant requested I come in and cover the city since five Waxahachie PD units were sent to the tornado zone, because of the limited response by the sheriff’s department.

During the same evening there were five sheriff deputies (working off duty but scheduled by the sheriff’s office) at the Lakeview Camp guarding the refugees, along with seven other law enforcement officers from other agencies. When the statement was made about “making deputies and resources available,” I was correct. When you have 12 officers standing by at a camp with 800 teenagers and 200 staff members, there is no reason to believe the five deputies at the camp could not have pulled off this job (only by the sheriff) and moved to the tornado zone along with all the other deputies and law enforcement officers. The first hour is critical in an emergency operations and they needed all the help they could get.

Now people may ask, “How can the deputies leave the camp and respond where needed. Will the camp be left shorthanded?” The answer is “No.”. The Waxahachie PD has nine officers per patrol shift and we serve over 30,000 residents. The camp would have been fine with the remaining seven law officers standing by at the camp with 800 teenagers and 200 staff members.

A Unified Command was established at the Red Oak Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The purpose was for all the department heads of the assisting agencies to be together so the needed resources were given immediately to the Incident Commander and the residents needing help. Instead, the sheriff sent a subordinate to the EOC that had to get approval for sheriff department resources from the sheriff, who was not there. The sheriff denied some of the request for additional resources.

As your sheriff, I pledge to do whatever it takes to make sure the Incident Commander and the citizens needing help receive ALL the resources available from your sheriff department. All elected officials and first responder organizations must work together in these situations.

It’s not about the deputies and never has been but the sheriff and his lack of willingness to call people from other locations immediately.

You can also see this article posted on my Wess Winn for Sheriff Facebook page. It has additional information.

Wess Winn

GOP candidate for

Ellis County Sheriff