Vehicles lined the streets around St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Thursday afternoon as the community made its way to say their goodbyes to the late Erath County sheriff, Tommy Bryant.
The memorial service was officiated by Rev. Curt Norman.
Bryant was found dead inside his home late Monday night of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to city and county officials.
During his almost 20 years in office, Bryant became a popular figure head with a long list of accomplishments including an inmate work program that saved taxpayers thousands of dollars by cleaning up city parks, painting schools and churches and cleaning cemeteries in the county.
His office also started neighborhood watch programs and TRIAD, a program that teaches senior citizens how to avoid becoming victims of crime.
During his last campaign Bryant said one of his proudest moments was in 2007 when the Texas Legislature passed a bill that he backed, which allows law enforcement officials to charge parents who use and manufacture drugs in their child's presence.
"Law enforcement can now punish parents who not only manufacture narcotics in the home, but if their children test positive, we can file on them as well," he said at the time.
Significant renovations to the Erath County Jail also took place under Bryant’s leadership, including a state-of-the-art surveillance system and increased safety measures. The updated facility was completed in 2012 and doubled the number of beds from 72-144 to house more inmates.
Bryant was first elected to office in 1997 after defeating longtime sheriff David Coffee and in March of this year was re-elected to office for a sixth term after receiving nearly 70 percent of the votes.
He is survived by his wife, Donnie; son, Thom Allen; mother, Linda Bryant; sister, Tonya Perez; and brother, Tony Bryant.