San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

February 15th, 2010
Huddleston takes offensive in Democrats’ sheriff debate

021410sheriffdebateChallenger Bill Huddleston, left, and incumbent Hays County Sheriff Tommy Ratliff, right, squared off last week at the League of Women Voters debate. The two men are vying for the Democratic nomination for Hays County Sheriff in the March 2 primary election. San Marcos Local News photo.

News Reporter

In perhaps the most aggressive performance at last week’s San Marcos Area League of Women Voters (LWV) debate of Hays County primary candidates, Democratic Hays County sheriff challenger Bill Huddleston drew rhetorical steel and hacked at what he perceived to be incumbent Tommy Ratliff’s weak points. Ratliff launched no attacks, but dismissed Huddleston’s criticisms as being inaccurate.

Huddleston launched his first strike as he answered the LWV question about how to prevent future maintenance problems associated with the Hays County Jail, which failed four different state inspections last year before the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) ordered the county to close the jail kitchen.

Huddleston said Ratliff unnecessarily brought state scrutiny on the jail. Ratliff said the jail had been neglected for too many years and needed serious attention.

“As sheriff, I would never have called the state jail commission … to come down, do an unscheduled inspection of that facility, which cut off our ability to have any flexibility in the continued maintenance of that facility,” Huddleston said. “It put us in a bind. Thank you, commissioners, for bailing us out of that. But I know that facility can be maintained with good management.”

Said Ratliff, “This jail is 22 years old, and there are a lot of problems with the jail. They certainly didn’t happen overnight. This is something that’s been ongoing for a long time. The issue with the roof has been ongoing for over ten years. If it had been fixed over ten years ago, then a lot of these problems wouldn’t have happened. So, we’re working with the commissioners court, and we’re taking care of business, and we getting it done and taking care of the Hays County Jail.”

Huddleston said that if the commissioners court had known about jail deficiencies for ten years, it would have budgeted for repairs at some point, which, he said, it did not.

Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton (D-Kyle) also recently criticized Ratliff’s decision in April 2009 to invite the TCJS to inspect the jail.

On Nov. 5, TCJS ordered the jail’s kitchen closed, which put a crimp in the county’s timeline for repairs. The county had initiated various repairs after receiving notices of noncompliance from TCJS in April and September.

Through an administrative loophole, the county forestalled the kitchen closure in November, saving tens of thousands of dollars in mobile kitchen rental fees. The kitchen has since been shut down and is undergoing repairs.

More than two weeks before the TCJS inspection that Ratliff invited, he presented the commissioners court with a report detailing jail problems, such as prisoner overcrowding and a caved-in ceiling, which, he said, resulted in more inmates being shipped to Guadalupe County. Ratliff also told commissioners that the county had neglected jail repairs “for several years,” and that the court needed to “step forward” and fix the problems. Ratliff warned commissioners of increasing costs for shipping prisoners out-of-county.

Guadalupe County has charged Hays County more than $255,900 this fiscal year for housing prisoners, with more prisoners than normal being sent out-of-county due to ongoing jail repairs. Hays County budgeted $350,000 this fiscal year for housing prisoners out-of-county.

The jail’s deteriorating roof is in the midst of being replaced. Repairs associated with the jail roof may cost $665,100, minus possibly as much as $293,442 in settlement money. Ratliff said recently that the commissioners court became aware of the availability of settlement money on Dec. 13, 2000. The commissioners court did not engage in discussion or cast votes regarding jail fixes in the two weeks following Ratliff’s presentation.

During the portion of the debate involving questions from the public, an audience member asked Ratliff about the Buda patrol, a sub-department of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) devoted to patrolling Buda. Buda Patrol was created by contract between the county and the city, the latter of which chose last August to let the contract expire in April.

The audience member asked Ratliff if Buda city councilmembers cancelled the contract because Ratliff demoted and reassigned then-Buda patrol Captain Bo Kidd without first consulting them. The audience member said something he read indicated the council had been “furious” at Ratliff. Ratliff said “it was a real long story” which could not be told fully, given the time constraints of the debate.

“I can tell you this: it wasn’t because I demoted anybody,” Ratliff said. “That person took another position at the department at his request.”

Ratliff said the questioner was “certainly misinformed about a lot of things.” Ratliff said he has a “good relationship” with Buda’s mayor, city manager, and city council, adding that his department will continue to provide law enforcement services to Buda just as it would to other parts of the county, whether or not Buda patrol disbands.

Huddleston lost the November 2008 election for Hays County sheriff to the Republican incumbent, the late Allen Bridges. After Bridges passed away from a heart attack in a month, Ratliff and Kidd were among those considered for interim appointment to the sheriff position. The Hays County Law Enforcement Association endorsed Kidd. The commissioners court voted, 4-1, to select Ratliff.

In July, Kidd asked Barton, who represents the Buda area, to place a request for two upgraded mobile radar units on the commissioners court agenda. During the July 21 meeting at which the court would have decided whether to buy the equipment, Barton announced he was pulling the item at Ratliff’s request.

The next week, Ratliff demoted Kidd to detective and reassigned him to the Narcotics Investigation Division. As a result of the demotion, Kidd’s salary shrank by $14,183.64. His earlier salary was $78,320.76.

In August, Buda Councilmember Ron Fletcher said that though the Buda patrol contract, according to the city’s attorney, is based completely on the goodwill of all parties, “we’ve seen no sign that we should expect any goodwill whatsoever from the sheriff.”

Huddleston told the questioner at last week’s debate that he was “not entirely misinformed” about what happened.

“I think we all know what it’s like to have a supervisor tell you, ‘You do want to request a transfer, don’t you?'” Huddleston said. “As sheriff, I would never have offended the people of Buda to the point that they voted to break a contract for service with the Hays County Sheriff’s Office that Sheriff Bridges worked so hard to establish.”

Responding to the league’s question of how to mitigate the problems of excessive driving speeds and noise, Ratliff replied that he became active in a program — Project Graduation — aimed at fostering responsible driving behavior in public school students age 17-25.

“I think education is very important,” Ratliff said. “That’s why I became involved in that. We have an enforcement division … in the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, and we have people enforcing the law and using good judgment out there.”

Ratliff expressed confidence that county law enforcement policies, coupled with continued educational outreach, will “keep people safe on the roads.”

Huddleston said the county provides good law enforcement services to residents, but said there is always room for improvement. He said one way to improve services is for residents to provide more customer feedback. Huddleston said though he is not working for the HCSO right now, he still considers it his department. Huddleston worked for more than two decades in a variety of capacities for the HCSO.

“Because I helped build it for over 20 years, and I helped train the people there,” Huddleston said. “And the input from you, the relationships that we have with you, are what (will) dictate, and help us provide the services that you want, including traffic services.”

Answering an audience member’s question of how to change what he said is the public’s perception of an overly-political sheriff’s office, Huddleston said it is not perception, but reality.

“The way the issue with the jail was addressed and was conducted, that must have been all political,” Huddleston said. “What possible reason do you call for an unscheduled inspection that you know is going to fail, unless it is not manipulative and political?”

Huddleston said “the buck stops” at his desk, and vowed to keep politics out of the sheriff’s office should he be elected.

“I have really good employees at the Hays County Sheriff’s Office,” Ratliff said. “There’s no politics in play at all there, we’re just protecting the citizens of this county. There is no politics being played on the jail issue. We followed exactly what we were supposed to do. The commissioners court is responsible for maintaining the jail, and I’m responsible for maintaining the safety of the people that work there, and inmates. It’s the commissioners court’s responsibility to provide the funds, not mine … Once they did provide the funds, then the jail started getting fixed.”

Hays County commissioners voted in October to spend $1,455,388 in short-term repairs to the jail and about $246,400 for consultant firm Broaddus and Associates (B&A) to conduct a physical assessment of the jail.

As of November, the county paid Broaddus and Associates (B&A) about $61,581.81 for overseeing repairs to the jail, plus about $70,244.70 for related consultant fees to MGT for that firm’s analysis of the county’s justice system. The MGT study, recently released, is intended to find ways to move people through the justice system faster, saving space in and wear and tear on the jail.

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26 thoughts on “Huddleston takes offensive in Democrats’ sheriff debate

  1. By all accounts, Sheriff Bridges left a stable, highly functioning Sheriff’s Office in place when he tragically died in December 2008. In one year, appointed interim Sheriff Ratliff “lost” three senior members of his command staff for questionable reasons. During the debate, Ratliff outright mislead if not lied when asked about Captain Bo Kidd and the Buda fiasco. Captain Bo Kidd only “requested” a demotion and transfer to the narcotics task force in order to keep his job when told by Ratliff that it was either a demotion or firing. I guess that was supposed to make it look better since Ratliff wanted him gone every since Kidd had thrown his name in the hat to be the appointed interim Sheriff. A Lieutenant in the investigation division also “requested” a demotion not long after Ratliff took over and from what I’m told, another tenured Lieutenant has “requested” a demotion recently. These were all senior, tenured members of the Sheriff’s Office who either former Sheriff Don Montague or Sheriff Bridges had put in place because of their knowledge, skills and abilities. Something is not right when this many senior management team members walk away (or are told to walk away or be fired).

    I didn’t really know Ratliff as a Texas Ranger, but what I do know about Rangers is that they are Detectives just like Detectives at the Sheriff’s Office, SMPD or Kyle PD. They manage cases, not people. The political commissioner’s court, led by Sumter, appointed a detective to be Sheriff. There is a very big difference between managing investigations and managing an $8 million budget, a jail, and a staff of over 250 people. Imagine taking a waiter from a local restaurant chain who has been a waiter for 25 years and then making him/her the CEO of the entire chain managing 10 restaurants, preparing budgets, hiring/firing managers, ordering food, negotiating contracts, etc. Can you see the train wreck coming? It is unfair to not only the owners/shareholders of the restaurant chain, but to the waiter who was appointed as well. That person has been set up for failure just as Ratliff was. For the life of me I cannot understand why the Court thinks just because someone was a good Detective or “Ranger” that they should somehow be qualified to be Sheriff over a large, fast growing, law enforcement agency.

    Ratliff said during the debate that he has “very good employees at the Sheriff’s Office”. I think most will agree with that. However, I’m not sure Ratliff really believes this himself. In the past year, he has hired one manager (Lieutenant) and one first line supervisor (Sergeant) from outside the agency. Both of these officers came from smaller and much less progressive agencies than the Sheriff’s Office. Current Sheriff’s Office employees were not even given an opportunity to interview or apply for either of these positions. Obviously Ratliff does not think too highly of his current employees if he is not willing to even entertain the idea of promoting from within the ranks (which is the standard in law enforcement agencies). The least he could do would be interview within the agency and then fill the supervisors slot from outside if and only if no internal candidate was viable.

    Someone with previous management experience would not have made the rookie management mistakes Ratliff has made. An experience administrator would have communicated with the Buda City Manager and Council if there was indeed a personnel issue which needed to be addressed internally with the Buda Captain. Senior management would not be “asking” for demotions and running as fast as they can. Ratliff would be recognizing the talent from within the Department and not brining in outsiders for first line supervisor positions.

    The Sheriff’s Office needs stability. Between Montague leaving, Bridges tragically dying, and Ratliff running people off, the citizens of Hays County will ultimately be paying the price if things do not change soon.

  2. Bill Huddleston can win the general elction agaisnt the Republican candidate (who is a former Williamson county deputy as I understand it). I dont’ think Sheriff Ratliff can do so. If the Democrats don’t elect Bill in the primary, they very well may get a Republican Sheriff elected in the general election, who was a Williamson County Sheriff deputy.
    As anyone who has ever read the Austin Statesman realizes, Williamson County is famous for declaring that if people don’t want to be subject to having their fourth and fifth amendment rights violated by “checkpoints” (announced by their DA) then we are to “…stay out of Williamson County”.
    Kinda hard to do, with U.S. Highway 35 running through it, but I personally have managed to stay out of Williamson County, and have spent ZERO dollars there since 2002, after the NEOCONS there elected as District Attorney, a fellow who either does not care, or has never bothered to read Texas Penal Code 39.03, the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or the Bill of Rights attached to, and made part of, that Constitution by it ratification.

    Now, we are faced with Williamson county LEO type management/training coming here, when we have a perfectly good Hays County Sheriff veteren, who has more diverse experience and training than anyone in the races .

    I hope and pray the average Joe voter does some actual research into the candidates experience, and stances a little more than looking at red, white and blue post cards you get in the mail saying “Vote for Republican Values” and “Vote for Democrat values”. With Homeland Security “Fusion Centers” and federal “laison” officers taking over departments by way of handing out toys and funding, it is high time we elect a Sheriff who can run the department on an annual planned budget, so our local law enforcment agencies are not completely and totally coopted by the feds. We need to elect a Constitutioanlist as sherrif. If not, I predict within two years, we will all be getting a knock at the door (such as is happening in Dallas ) to do a “Knock and talk” about “…what type of firearms do you have in your collection” and “…how much ammunition would you estimate you keep on hand?” for their “surveys”.
    Wake up.
    Vote for Bill Huddleston. He wants the department back like it was when we all knew our deputites, and were not scared to death of driving down the damned road. It was that way at one time people.

  3. Gary Cutler spent his career with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, retiring as a captain. After retirement, he took a job as a Lieutenant with Williamson County in the Criminal Investigations Division. I think we’d agree that Travis County, where he spent the majority of his career, has a much different philosophy than Williamson. Regardless, he supervised detectives with Williamson County and would have nothing to do with the so-called checkpoints of which you speak. What you have working against you is Sheriff Bridges was an elected Republican. Sheriff Ratliff was an appointed Democrat. You can see how the voters of Hays County could take that as a slap in the face by the cronies in commissioner’s court. I don’t know to what rank Huddleston rose with Hays County. But, a captain with Travis Co. is 3 or 4 promotions from patrol deputy. A captain is responsible for the budget within his division, along with any other issue in his division. He usually only answers to a chief or assistant chief. It’s very good management experience.

  4. Also, referring to the Statesman for your facts isn’t probably the most accurate, unbiased source of information. You need to also realize that deputies and police officers take an oath to uphold the constitution of TX and the U.S. I personally know officers and deputies who’ve stated that if someone told them to start obtaining firearm information from citizens, just for the sake of doing it, they’d turn their badges in right then. You’re right regarding voters needing to do some research. This includes you (about Cutler) and I (about Huddleston).

  5. Sheriff Ratliff has made changes to his staff of supervisors and that is his right. Just like the President brings in his cabinet the Sheriff has the right to pick who he is going to place in key positions within the department to help run it the way he wants to. Yes the Sheriff brought in people from the outside and their resumes speak for themselves and they are perfectly qualified for the positions they are in.

    It also seems that the more aggressive approach to law enforcement that Sheriff Ratliff has taken within the Sheriffs Department is paying off. The amount of vehicle burglaries is down drastically in Buda. It seemed for a while that every week cars were being broken into in our neighborhoods. Step out to go to work and a deputy was taking a report for some sort of theft and criminal damage to vehicle. There also appear to be more deputies on the street patrolling neighborhoods and not sitting at the substation or in front of Cabela’s. Obviously these steps are making a difference.

    It does not seem right that in the last election Huddleston was critical of Sheriff Bridges and now he speaks so highly of him. Huddleston routinely commented on Bridges lack of leadership and cited that as a reason deputies were leaving for other agencies. In the debate against Ratliff, he verified what the Sheriff was saying about the jail. As everyone knows the Sheriff was brought into problems with the jail. He addressed them and know they are being fixed. Ratliff stated the problem had been going on for 10 years. Huddleston then confirmed that the problem had been going on for 10 years but tried to blame Ratliff for it.

    It will be interesting to see how everything plays out in both primary and general elections. To this point I have only heard Sheriff Ratliff speak about the future or Hays County law enforcement and the steps he has taken to progres the department. I have not heard him make any personal attacks against either Huddleston or Cutler. I like the fact that Sheriff Ratliff is focused on the law enforcement and not politics. He has stepped up to make difficult decisions and not political or popular ones. Ratliff has has made those decisions aimed towards running the department the best way he is able and the results are showing positively.

  6. I personally don’t see where party affiliation matters when discussing the Sherriff’s race. Of all elected positions, I would hope that this is one where the rule of law matters more than donkeys or elephants.

    With that in mind, “even more concerned”, I really don’t know why you care which Democrat has the better chance of beating the Republican in the election. Are you just shilling for the Democrat party here?

  7. I don’t understand the importance of party affiliation here either. Then again, I don’t really place much value on it anywhere. Honestly, anyone whose top qualification for any job is his/her party affiliation is immensely under qualified, IMO.

  8. Ted and Dano:

    You are both absolutely correct. But unfortunately, that is what happened here with the appointment of Ratliff in the first place. The CC appointed a Democrat who did not have the qualifications to be Sheriff simply because he was a Democrat. Party should not matter in this race.

    Gonzo, I respectfully disagree in part. I see no problem with a Sheriff bringing in a Chief Deputy or someone at that Command level to help realize their management vision for the agency. However, bringing in a first line supervisor such as a Sergeant is an absolute slap in the face to every hard working Deputy working at the Dept. The Sheriff is saying loud and clear that he has absolutely NO confidence in ANY of his Deputies and does not want to develop those employees into future leaders within the Dept. From what I understand, these two new supervisors do not live and have never lived in Hays County. I could be wrong, but that might be a good question for Sheriff Ratliff. Is Ratliff bringing in outside supervisors for every promotion? Will ANY current Sheriff’s Dept Deputy ever be promoted or have a chance to be promoted to Sergeant? If so, why this one and not that one?

    Don’t mistake usual crime trends with any specific activity which Ratliff may or may not be implementing. Car burglaries come and go. You can have the best Sheriff in office and still have tons of car burglaries or other crimes. Citizens should look at the experience and management experience of the person they elect Sheriff. Ratliff does not have the management experience to be Sheriff. He is continually making rookie management mistakes and seems to have a problem communicating with other stakeholders directly involved in his decisions (Buda, City of San Marcos, and others). Our Sheriff’s Dept. does not need to bring in outsiders from smaller agencies who do not live in our County to be managers and first line supervisors in our Sheriff’s Dept. We have good people at the Dept. If you have any doubt about how the Deputies feel, ask them. I will warn you in advance that they will probably be very guarded and may not answer honestly because the fear for their jobs if Ratliff finds out they are speaking out about his management style and the current state of the Dept. Listen carefully to their words and you will probably see that there are major problems which are being repressed by fear of loosing their jobs….

  9. It concerns me that an appointee for the sheriff’s office would take the promotions from inside the department and
    give them to outsiders from other cities. for what every the reasons it appears that consideration should be given to our own first. During the last several months I have listened to a great deal of complaints about the sheriff and his management style, often times the complaints are low key comments with people looking over their shoulders and in one comment from a local citizen was how the sheriff could hurt you. Another person talked about how rude the sheriff was in the commissioners court to her and in fact she said he was just down right disrespectful. and no one controlled his behavior including the judge. Citizens for the most part takes a dim view of law enforcement as is and the level of trust for police is always a ? mark. Heavy handed law enforcement has no place in this office or any other law enforcement departments. On the other hand, With LWV this is never a real debate in the first place, it’s a question and answer session. You leave this event not really knowing who the people really are running for office, or the real issues and answers. You leave the debate thirsty, it’s that dry. The time limit is simply to little, and it appears that every one is rushed to say it and leave. This format is not fair to the canidates or the citizens. Let’s face it there are real issues out there and we need real answers. Let’s have a real debate and allow real questions to be presented. Allow follow-up questions, get the public involved more, If no body want the job, let me at-em.

  10. I agree witth you Arthur. The LWV “debate” is better than nothing, but it could be much more. I also heard many of the same things about Ratliff you mention.
    Gonzo how about posting the resumes of those two supervisors Ratliff brought in from smaller agencies you mention. Im curious about the management experience of the investigations Lieutenant (I think that is where he is?) that was brought in. I don’t know all the credentials of the current Sheriff’s Dept officers but I feel confident there is at least one over that is equal to or more qualified than this person. If these two outside officers have such great credentials, you would think Ratliff would be singing their praises and putting that information out there for the voters.

  11. There were plenty of articles about the lieutenant’s hiring and qualifications when it happened. Besides it sounds like you probably already know his background. Ratliff is the type of Sheriff I want for Buda and the rest of Hays County. He is not a politician and says things point blank. There is nothing wrong with that. It is not being rude he is just a straight shooter. I will leave the internet comlpaining to y’all and I will go vote for Sheriff Ratliff.

  12. There are some problems “Concerned” with your statements. Sheriff’s Dept. Patrol Capt. just moved into Hays County from Caldwell County where he lived for most of his career with the Sheriff Dept., a Sergeant with Narc. also just recently bought a house and moved into the county, and Sgt Stock does not live in Hays County as many deputies do not live in the county, so your argument about the two new supervisor not living in the county has no real merit. As far as Sheriff Bridges leaving a stable and highly functioning Sheriff’s Department that’s questionable because he also lost 3 senior members during his command and he had plans for more before his untimely death. You state that Sheriff Ratliff did not let Sheriff’s Office employees have an opportunity to interview for the positions, I put to you sir that from what I have seen with some of the current officers with this department they’re is only a small hand full of people that may be qualified to be supervisors. As I read your comments it appears that you either don’t work at the Sheriff’s Department or have an ill-informed friend that works there. Which ever it is, just man up and STOP your whining about how you or your friends are being mistreated and not being made supervisor. I dought that you really know what real leadership is, nor have you ever been a leader and thats the real problem you have with those that have been or currently are your boss. Instead of doing your job better and it easier for you to complain about everyone else. You have no idea about the the others that are running for Sheriff and have placed you faith in those that will leave you out in the cold when it gets down to where the rubber meets the road and. If you are employeed with the Sheriff’s Department HOW ABOUTJUST PUTTING ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES AND DOING WHAT YOUR PAID TO DO “YOUR JOB”.

  13. Scuttlebutt,

    from what I have heard about the management “style” and after reading your post, you are typical of the way things are run there at the sheriff’s office. you don’t like what someone else says so you resort to capital letters (yelling) and derrogitory statements. he says things point blank all right…the wrong things at the wrong times to the wrong people. spare us your babbling about leadership.

  14. FYI, the above post was not me. It was another “whatever.” I’m the “whatever” who left the posts about Cutler and Huddleston. But, I do agree with the new “whatever’s” post. I don’t care where the employees live. The sheriff should live in his county, which all candidates do (I think). So that’s not an issue. The most sgts, lts, and capts that live out of county have experience that has given them the knowledge to be prepared for they’re current positions. For example, the spent time as a patrol deputy, were promoted to patrol sgt, then transferred to another unit as a sgt. Then, they were promoted to lt. and then capt. From reading these posts, assuming they’re correct, there is a sgt. and lt. that were brought in from outside. My only issue about the sgt. is that’s not right for deputies who’ve been loyal to the citizens of Hays County by staying and not moving to another agency not to get a shot at that promotion. That doesn’t mean that the sgt. isn’t qualified. Was he a patrol sgt. first? If not, I say he may not be as qualified as someone who has been . Now if there’s a lt. who’s never been a sgt., he is ill-prepared for that promotion. He should have spent time supervising a patrol shift before being placed in charge of a unit. For that matter, how many detectives does Hays County have? Why on earth is there a lt. AND a sgt.? Seems somewhat top heavy to me. Anyway, I consider that a “rookie mistake” made by someone who’s never been a supervisor and is now in charge of all of the operations of a sheriff’s office.

  15. I was summoned by a constituent to read these posting. Are you serious “concerned and whatever?” You are questioning the resumes’ of Lt. Ficke and Sgt. Castro. You say the Sheriff isn’t willing to share that information. You must have been the loud mouth, whinny, employee that that was so busy complaining about how you or one of your friend’s wasn’t promoted to notice that Lt. Fickes’ resume was posted on the Hays County website during his hiring phase. You must have also missed the fact that the Commissioners voted and approved his hiring, not just Sheriff Ratliff. While we are on that topic, who cares that the Sheriff brought in an outside hire, he had to find someone he could trust to implement some order and integrity back in to the Investigation Division. I’m sure your are part of that problem. I have known Lt Ficke in a professional capacity for over a decade and can tell you and all others, there is NOT a finer, more respectful, dedicated, hard working individual to have filled that role. Lt. Ficke has proven consistently throughout his 15 years serving his communities, that his morals, integrity, and professional judgment are intact, something you should probably work on. It is very easy to be given the title of Lt. or any other administrative position and be a lousy and unfit supervisor, just ask him, he dealt with it for years at his previous job. Lt. Ficke was not brought over to Hays County as a favor or a “good ol’ boy hand shake.” HE EARNED IT. From I hear he has made tremendous progress to that department, and has in his future much more. I could go on about what Lt. Ficke has done in his almost year with the Department, but his list of accomplishments is already too long. I would be honored to have him as my supervisor, and would and have taken every opportunity to listen and learn from him. He speaks little, but he does, he is most likely to found correct. Sgt. Castro is of the same “blood line” as Lt. Ficke, he has a vast knowledge of criminal investigations. His credentials’ also speak for themselves. Let me guess, you were just about to sign up for the FBI training academy, and sign up to learn Spanish right. I agree with “Gonzo and Scuttlebutt,” you have either been very misinformed, or you play an intricate role in the chaos, my guess is both.
    Is this really what you believe the main topic should be in the forum of the Sheriffs campaign platform? One would think that things such as the budget, the jail that is falling apart, new cars for the deputies, meeting the needs of the truly concerned citizens, lowering crime where and when he can, would be a more suitable conversation and area for debate. The hiring of 2 fully qualified and VERY well respected men to serve under the Sheriff is a done deal. So to add to “whatever’s” comments the direct answer is NO, there were no qualified detectives to fill those roles, and the need to have a Lt, and Sgt is for support to the division. It’s all part of future planning and the things to come to the Hays County Sheriff’s Department. It’s called progression! You say they both come from less progressive Departments, last time I checked the Guadalupe County S.O. has less investigators, and currently has a Lt, and 2 Sgt. Positions. I also agree with “Gonzo and Scuttlebutt,” if you were spending your time and effort focusing on your own life, family, and career, you might have been in the running for a promotion, but you keep on your path of badgering and bad mouthing and complaining that seems to be working out for you, or NOT.

  16. Whoa, back the truck up. No need to go personal here. I never questioned anyone’s integrity and believe it very immature for you to question mine. If you would’ve taken time to comprehend, not just read, my post, you would’ve noticed that I posted in reference to what I read (which was in my post). I have no clue about the Hays Co. Sheriff’s Office or the names of the employees that were being talked about until now. But, i do know about the inner-workings of law enforcement agencies, as I have friends who are in law enforcement (no where near Hays Co.) and enjoy listening to them about their jobs. (A few are sergeants). All I was saying was IF (and I don’t know they’re histories) they didn’t have prior supervisory experience, there may have been better choices. However, you seem to know a lot, actually knowing the names of these supervisors. Just make sure you comprehend my post before making outlandish comments about my character. Oh, and for the record, I’m just a student at TSU and work at a home remodling facility.

  17. i guess yall beat that horse to death. still dont know why sheriff wont promote one of his own deputies to be a sergeant. there must be some real bad deputies over there. question no one has answered is why did sheriff lie at the debate about kidd? he demoted him and lied about it. why would he lie about it? I dont know. the integrety of the sheriff could be something to talk about in this race. dont know about huddleston and if he tells lies but ratliff did

  18. yes, back up the truck there Whatever. Now we all know that you have no experience as a law enforcement officer and you live the life through your friends. May be until you put on a badge and wear the hardware you should only talk about things you know about like being a student and dong home remodeling (isn’t that sweet).

    Oh and “Because I don’t know” you say the Sheriff lied about the demotion of Bo Kidd. What I Know about this issue is that the Sheriff cannot go into detail about the demotion of any employee with the public. If he does he is liable and can be sued by the employee, and second it is no one business but the Sheriff and the employees. If the employee wants to talk about what happened he can and maybe Bo Kidd should step up and tell the truth about what really hap pend and how he over stepped his authority and then lied about what he did and how he attempted to implicate the Chief Deputy after he got caught.

    Bo Kidd was and is an employee of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office and not an employee of the City of Buda.The City Manager of Buda got his feeling hurt because he had no say or control of this issue. In fact Bo Kidd is going around telling people that the City of Buda is going to hire him as Chief of Police in April and that anyone else applying will just wasting their time.

    Bottom line Bo Kidd lied to the Sheriff and he tried to blame the Chief Deputy and was caught in the lie and was demoted.

  19. After watching the debates and reading these posts, it is apparent that some of you are well informed and some not so much.
    There are two main issues with the current management of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office. The first is the Sheriff himself and second is his Chief Deputy Sherman Brodbeck.
    Sheriff Ratliff I’m sure was a great Texas Ranger as stated in earlier posts but it is apparent that he lacks the management experience and necessary “tacked” to be an effective leader. The bigger hammer approach that he has taken to some of the issues within the department and in his dealings with the citizens is not what is needed for a growing department and a fast growing County. Sheriff Ratliff is applying the “one Riot, one Ranger” theories which may have served him well in the Department of Public Safety but will not work in an environment such as a County Sheriff.
    Sheriff Ratliff’s all or nothing attitude with the City of Buda is a kin to a spoiled kid not getting his way and taking his ball and going home. Some folks have posted that the Sheriff is just a hard charger and is just miss understood and I disagree with that. While I agree that the buck has to stop with the Sheriff, he is not all knowing and is subject to the same mistakes we all make; therefore we should try to minimize those mistakes and Sheriff Ratliff has not done that. Sheriff Ratliff’s Chief Deputy is an “old school” manager who is afraid of change. And that is one of Sheriff Ratliff’s mistakes, keeping a Chief Deputy whose management style is based in the early 80’s. This is the 21st Century and Law Enforcement has to progress and grow, however under Chief Deputy Brodbeck this simply cannot happen because he is unwilling to change or adapt to new idea’s and technologies.
    If you combine Sheriff Ratliff’s inexperience and Chief Deputy Brodbeck’s unwillingness to change you arrive at the situation the Sheriff’s Office is currently in.
    I read a post in here that gave praise to the Sheriff for seeing Deputies more often in their subdivisions. Chances are that the person posting that lives in a low or no crime area and taking that Deputy away from High Crime areas which only serves to increase crime in that area and generate more work for the Deputy. The fact that a street Deputy knows where the high crime areas within his beat and he or she would most likely spend the majority of the time in that area makes sense. The latest hand waving and increased patrol of “voter” areas is just a ploy to get more votes in the box by Sheriff Ratliff.
    I heard the Sheriff wants to see his Deputies out in the public and I agree with that, but I understand that Deputies are now asked to do their reports on their in car computer in “public places” for visibility purposes. While this seems like an ideal situation its not, the Officer must concentrate on his paperwork if he or she wishes to do a complete and thorough report. How can that Officer concentrate on his report and maintain awareness around him in a public place. I seem to recall a recent shooting that one Officer was killed and one was wounded while doing “routine” paperwork in a public place seating in their car. Is this what we want to expose our Deputies to? At what point does “politics” place our Deputies at risk for mere visibility or for a vote.
    I have spoken to many Deputies and unanimously they have refused to talk about the current Sheriff’s Office issues. However, many have told me that they are seeking jobs elsewhere do to the current Sheriff’s administration and policies. Most have told me they just want to do their jobs and not be bogged down with politics. Others have told me that inconsistent decision making by management is killing moral which leads to their decision to seek employment elsewhere.
    And on a final note with regard to the “open” Lieutenants spot within the Sheriff’s Office. While Sheriff Ratliff has shown that he has no faith in current employees which is evident by his appointment of a Lieutenant and a Sergeant from outside the Sheriff’s Office. The current open Lieutenant’s position has several qualified persons who have applied from within, but one has not been “chosen” yet. I believe Sheriff Ratliff is waiting for the primary election to be decided before he “appoints” another outsider to this position. Sheriff Ratliff most likely doesn’t want the bad attention for bringing another outsider in and overlooking qualified persons from within before the primary, therefore hurting him in the ballot box. Make no mistake about it folks Sheriff Ratliff is a politician and someone who I’m sure is a champion of the “good ol’ boy system”.
    All of the above seems trivial until you deal with it day in and day out, PLUS dealing with US the public which can sometimes be trying even for the most experience Deputy.
    So what does this have to do with the elections? Chose your candidate based on facts that can be proven, look at all the issues not just who is a Democrat or Republican and where do you want YOUR Sheriff’s Office to be for the next four years. When your life or property is in jeopardy do you want a Deputy who is using antiquated techniques and policies or do you want a Deputy who is trained in the latest techniques and gives you his or her best because they are not worried about politics and repercussions for doing the “right thing”.

  20. I’m not gonna show support for either side, Dem’s or Rep’s. I mainly want to comment on Scuttlebut’s posts. In one of your first posts, you made reference to the new Supervisors living outside of Hays County has no Merit as to thier placement because of Cpt. Davenport, Sgt. Bartch and Sgt. Stock living outside of Hays County. There you are complelety wrong. The point that was trying to be made, is, these three Supervisors, as well as several other employees of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office that live outside of Hays County have served and dedicated their ENTIRE career to the citizens of Hays County. I do realize that this arguement does not fit your “goal” of trying to achieve advancement with the Sheriff’s Office. The point being made, you can not compare apples to oranges when it comes to the service of and to the citizens that we serve here in Hays County.

  21. The Patrol Capt, Sgt Narc and Sgt Stock did and do live outside the county BUT they all promoted and worked their way up through the Hays County Sheriffs Office, so your point is without reference. You take up for one or two outside hires and totally insult the remainder of the fine men and woman that have dedicated themselves to this department. Sounds like if your hires were justified that you wouldn’t spend your time haggling with internet chatter ? Your resumes should speak for themeselves, right ? Shame on you for insulting them.

  22. It’s obvious there are agenda’s in this string from numerous factions within and possibly outside of the Sheriff’s Office. I’ve watched this commentary from inception and while it began as somewhat amusing, comical and even interesting in an attempt to identify the poster it has ultimately done nothing but display the inherent personal dysfunctions associated with any agency, organization, corporation or family. If the intent of some of your postings was to demonstrate division instead of cohesion then kudos and thumbs up, you brought out the “Jerry Springer” in all of us. If you thought your divisive comments would support your cause, I would now question if that really worked for you…..

    Sadly I believe the only truth in any of this string is that we each are simply worried as we always are every four or so years about our positions of employment, our opportunity to continue to make Hays County “our” career and our ability to pay our bills and feed our families. Having said that, I also believe we all are guilty of personal agenda’s and these personal agenda’s create factions within any and all organizations under any leadership. So what, that’s life, strive to do your best, make a difference and drive on.

    Sheriff’s will come and go. They will each bring their own vision to our Office and the community we serve. After watching Sheriff Ratliff and past Sheriff’s “inherit” a multitude of problems to include the jail’s aging physical plant and facilities, budgeting and funding with a commissioners court, staffing, employee issues and community problems, I would question if any one of the candidates will ever live up to the perfection some of you seem to be seeking.

    Why don’t we just end this string, let the voters make the best decision based on what they know or their own perceptions of reality and let’s get back to doing our jobs….


  23. RE: Concerned, I don’t see how you would say Sheriff Bridge left a stable functioning jail. When a inmate died a few days before or after the Sheriff past away. Due to the fact of unprofessional officers as well supervisors. So I don’t see how you would call that stable and functioning jail. The way the jail is being run, that should have been enough to see that things in the jail needed to change. Have better accountable supervisors as well officers. So don’t make it that under Bridges things were fine and dandy. B/c a inmate dying and other things would have not happen if things were stable and functioning. People were in positions that didn’t deserve it, just b/c of how much butt they will kiss. As to people say that Huddleston is better than Ratliff. Yea right, you are going to want a Sheriff that will have to have a couple or more beers before he realizes that he’s Sheriff when shit hits the fan. That seems like he is only known for drinking his life away. You are wanting him in office. Yea, sounds like were dealing with a bunch of genious. Like the saying “it better to have a lion to led a ass, than an ass to led a lion.” Something to that effect. If you don’t see the point. There’s no hope for Hays Cty Resident. Just b/c higher ups got demoted or whatever, probably they didn’t deserve that position in the first place. Quit wasting Hays Cty money on people that don’t belong in those high position and start putting people who deserve to be there. Things will start changing for the better. Commissioner Barton “Shame on you for putting the blame on Ratliff for the problems with the jail” Are you crippled or just plain lazy? It shouldn’t take someone else for you to see the deterioration of the jail. A “REAL” Commissioner would have took it upon himself to see it before things got too far to do things for the jail. Instead of only worrying how much he gets paid for as a Commissioner for doing nothing. We need a Commissioner that doesn’t only think about themselves. Then tries to put blame on someone else.

  24. Way to go literary genious truthbtold. If you read my post you might see that i never suggested huddleston but only pointed out major problems with ratfliff.

    and by the way Scuttlebut thanks for proving my point and putting it in writing that ratliff DID lie when he said he did not demote Kidd. “Bottom line Bo Kidd lied to the Sheriff and he tried to blame the Chief Deputy and was caught in the lie and was demoted.” “you say the Sheriff lied about the demotion of Bo Kidd. What I Know about this issue is that the Sheriff cannot go into detail about the demotion of any employee with the public. If he does he is liable and can be sued by the employee, and second it is no one business but the Sheriff and the employees.”

    does this liable thing extend to other ranking members of the Department as well like lt’s????

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