Q&A with Paul Tyus for Erath County sheriff

Staff Writer
Stephenville Empire-Tribune
Paul Tyus

1. What are the duties of sheriff?

The duties of the sheriff are too extensive to list if you want to be successful and properly serve the people who elect you, However, the statutory requirements of any sheriff in Texas includes 1) Serve as a licensed peace officer and enforce criminal laws of the state, 2) Provide security for the courts, 3) Serve warrants and civil papers, 4)

Run the county jail while maintaining the standards set forth by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards, and 5) In Erath County, serve, or cause to serve as the head of the Bail Bond Board,

Above are the statutory requirements but a successful sheriff should do much, much more in serving the county. Nowhere in the statutes does it mention being an active member of his community. Nowhere does it mention being a positive role model for a child. Nowhere does it mention being compassionate to those in need. To me, it is the unwritten requirements that are as great, if not greater, of a role to be a successful sheriff. Given the restrictions for this piece, I encourage people to meet with me, so I can fully explain what a sheriff is responsible for.

2. What is the most pressing challenge facing the Erath County Sheriff's Office? How would you overcome it?

Crime is, and always should be, the most pressing challenge for any law enforcement agency, Too many times it is easy to forget that with crime comes victims. I want to be an advocate for victims, I want to be a sheriff that anyone will be comfortable coming to in their time of need. I want to bring to justice those who hurt others whether it's financial, physical or emotional hurt.

I also want to see more transparency in our sheriff's office. I believe that scandals, or the mere appearance of scandals, are a detriment to a department and erodes faith within the community. I believe in brutal honesty between the sheriff's office and the people we take an oath to serve. I truly believe that I can do a better job in being open and honest with the people of Erath County. After the tragic passing of our long-time sheriff, Tommy Bryant, I feel as if the citizens, me included, have not been able to understand some of the changes that have been made. I want to be more open and honest with the people who place their trust in an elected official.

3. What is your background in law enforcement?

I graduated the Tarleton State University police academy in May of 1992. I began working as a full-time police officer for Dublin Police Department in January of 1995 where I proudly served the people of my home town, After leaving the Dublin Police Department I was accepted to be a Reserve Deputy for the Erath County Sheriff's Office where I eventually rose from being a reserve patrol deputy up through Lieutenant running the Reserve program, My whole career has been right here in Erath County, something I am very proud of. Through the years I have learned valuable lessons from law enforcement. The law is the law and it's in black and white. What I'm most proud of is my desire to help others. That's why I'm wanting to be your sheriff. I want to enforce the law in the fairest conceivable way while helping my community in a way that is not printed in a big book. Again, it's the unwritten things that will not only be the most fulfilling for me but the things that will continue to demonstrate why Erath County is the best place in Texas to live.

4. In terms of the county budget, do you feel the county is heading in the right direction or do you have specific ideas that would improve it?

In terms of the overall county budget I think we are in a good place. There have been many before me that have made good, sound judgements regarding the budget. I want to focus on the budget for the sheriff's office. I am not arrogant enough to think that I should offer opinions on issues that I'm not qualified to speak about. For example, I am not a road commissioner, I think those county officials who deal with those day to day issues are the best ones to make those calls. All I can promise is that I will always put forth a budget for the sheriff's office that is fiscally conservative while keeping the good of the residents in mind, In the grand scheme of things, the entire county budget is other people's money, I will not forget that, and it is a responsibility that I will take very seriously, My philosophy on the budget is spend every single dollar like it's coming out of my back pocket because every single dollar is coming out of someone's back pocket. I want to make sure that there is no waste or misuse of county money within the sheriff's office.

5. What strengths do you possess that would make you a good sheriff?

I pride myself in compassion for other people, that's why I got into law enforcement. It's not all about throwing people in jail. I've said before that for most every crime there is a victim, It's the victims I want to be there for.

I am a very honest person, another thing I pride myself in, I've learned throughout my life that sometimes the hard thing to do is the right thing to do.

I am a fair person with common sense, The penal code is a guide, a set of rules. Nowhere in that big book does it address fairness and common sense. Those are two qualities that I think any law enforcement officer should have, especially a sheriff.

I have work ethic, another thing I am proud that I was taught as a child. I love to work, it's a hobby of mine.

I guess my campaign slogan, Honesty, Integrity, Ethics is the best answer to this question, I absolutely do not like to brag on me, so this is a hard question for me to answer, All I can ask is that if you elect me as your sheriff I will spend every day showing you.