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Ok. Sheriff Resigns After Judge Allegedly Attempts Bribe

by Law Officer | Mar 19, 2019 | Leadership, News

 

The Nowata County (OK) Sheriff and all of her patrol deputies resigned Monday, rather than obey an order to move prisoners back into the county jail, which was closed after a carbon monoxide leak was discovered. The Sheriff said no repairs had been made and the order would jeopardize the lives of prisoners. “I believe in doing the right thing and I am not going to stand down from doing the right thing” said Barnett.
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Sheriff Barnett resigned effective at 11 am, two hours after the judge’s order. She said she had not considered resigning until a meeting with the judge last Thursday when she says he suggested the prisoners be moved back into the jail to save money. Last month, Nowata County transferred 14 prisoners to Washington County after the jail was evacuated. The now-former Undersheriff, Mark Kirschner, said today it was actually cheaper to house the small number of prisoners elsewhere than to operate the jail.
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Barnett was elected and took office five months ago, but today was spent packing boxes to leave. “I guess Nowata County will continue their search for a sheriff who will do what they want because I am not that sheriff,” said Barnett. “To have a judge order you to bring inmates back to that facility when nothing has been done is inexcusable.”
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The Undersheriff, five deputies, the head dispatcher, the jailers, and even the K-9, “Ranger” quit. His handler worked to get a paw print on a resignation letter. Several volunteer dispatchers said they plan to stay and answer the phones, though the office is otherwise empty. The Sheriff said she leaves with her honor intact. “I will not sweep things under the rug for Nowata County, I am not going to do the wrong thing,” she said.
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In February the jail was evacuated because of a carbon monoxide leak. Barnett said last week, Judge Carl Gibson suggested she could be sent on a vacation and get a pay raise if the jail reopened, and he would create paperwork to address her concerns about liability. Barnett said that was the moment she knew could not stay, after what she called a bribe was offered by the judge.

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King of Country Releases ‘Weight of the Badge’

George Straight, the King of Country Music, has released a new song honoring law enforcement. The song is called “The Weight of the Badge.”

LE strategies for addressing and preventing cyberbullying

Protecting youths from cyberbullying and exploitation requires a concerted effort

 

By Michele Coppola 
TechBeat Magazine


Protecting youths from cyberbullying and exploitation requires a concerted effort by parents, law enforcement, schools and the community. That was a message conveyed by law enforcement presenters during a webinar held in the fall of 2018.

The webinar, Cyberbullying: The Law Enforcement Perspective, was hosted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a program of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.



RELATED ARTICLE

Presenters from the OJJDP-funded Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF) program discussed strategies for addressing and preventing cyberbullying. They discussed internet safety, the effects of social media and cyberbullying on a youth’s brain, and the impact of sexting and sextortion on youth. ICACTF helps state and local law enforcement agencies develop an effective response to technology facilitated child exploitation and internet crimes against children.

Supervisory Senior Special Agent Johnny Hall is with the Virginia State Police and Northern Virginia/Washington, DC ICACTF. He noted that some bullying occurs in the digital world, which presents challenges for law enforcement.

He said most states have laws related to bullying, but can lack policy addressing some of the cyber component. Schools and law enforcement work together to reduce the number of cyberbullying incidents, but they need more resources. School resource officer programs can educate and monitor cyberbullying, but those resources are often strained.

Concerns include:

  • Digital devices offer the ability to communicate 24 hours day, making it difficult for children experiencing cyberbullying to find relief.
  • Most information communicated electronically is permanent and public because of the way it is stored and kept. If not reported in time it can be difficult to remove.
  • Cyberbullying is hard to notice because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking place.
  • Common places where cyberbullying occurs include social media, which offers excellent ways to communicate, but can also be easily abused and used for harassment (e.g., WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Skype).

He cited the following community outreach program challenges:

  • 39 percent of children or teenagers have given their personal information (e.g., name, sex, age) over the digital world.
  • 11 percent have met someone face to face they previously met through the digital world.
  • 29 percent say their parents would disapprove if they knew what they did, where they went or with whom they chatted online.
  • 36 percent do not discuss online safety with their parents.

(Source: https://www.isafe.org/outreach/media/media_curriculum_effectiveness)


During a question and answer session, Hall agreed that schools and educators should incorporate social media and understanding of the use of social media and digital citizenship as part of an educational curriculum, but noted it may take time to accomplish that.

“It is critical for all of the community to have a participation and understanding of the interactions with social media. They are a part of everyday life and are not going away anytime soon, and it’s better that parents and school systems along with law enforcement take a more proactive role and a more collaborative effort to continue to educate ourselves and at the same time to guide our children,” Hall said.


Lt. John Pizzuro is with the New Jersey State police and is the New Jersey ICAC Task Force commander. He discussed the effects of social media and cyberbullying on a youth’s brain, and the importance of providing guidance to young people on use of digital tools. Too much time online can disconnect and isolate youth from traditional social interaction.

“When children are called something on social media and everyone is talking about them with a certain term, it has severe impact on them,” Pizzuro said. “When children are being cyberbullied, and being told they are not popular or a nerd, that story becomes their personal story and that is what they believe, and it is difficult for them to get out of that. You have to teach children to reframe and give them the ability to not leave it in that context, because kids can be cruel, and online, that information is there forever. Conversely, if you tell yourself that you are not subject to that in a story, it has a more positive impact.”

He said adults need to be more proactive and spend more time educating youth and developing policies. Suggested proactive programs to equip children in navigating the online environment:

  • Teach them how to handle cyberbullying and self-care options.
  • Focus equal feeling – reframe and don’t engage.
  • Unplug – focus on other feelings and neurotransmitters.
  • Social media and school cellphone policies.
  • Be proactive – educators should look for students who are isolated.
  • Employ a social media monitor.


Lt. Brian Spears is with the San Jose Police Department and the Silicon Valley ICAC Task Force. He discussed sexting and sextortion.

Sexting typically refers to the sharing of nude or semi-nude and sexually provocative photos or sexually explicit text messages via electronic devices.

Challenges:

  • Young people who receive nude/semi-nude sexually suggestive images and sexually suggestive texts and emails are sharing them with other people for whom they were never intended.
  • Teens are sending sexually explicit messages and images, even though they know such content often gets shared with those other than the intended recipient.
  • Although most teens who send sexually suggestive content are sending it to boyfriends and girlfriends, others say they are sending such materials to those they want to hook up with or even to someone they only know online.

(Source: https://internetsafety101.org/sexting)


Some teens worry about body image. He noted that on YouTube, kids ask the internet audience to tell them if they are pretty or ugly. They rate each other on Instagram.

Digital dating abuse is a form of domestic violence in which youths track others’ movements.

“We have junior high and high school students tracking one another’s passwords, checking text messages and sending constant messages,” Spears said. “The constant control and manipulation, the pressure and coercion is huge, and this has to be recognized now.”

Child sex offenders are utilizing technology to further victimize youth. They are capitalizing on the anonymity the internet offers to make direct contact.

Sextortion is the practice of forcing someone to do something, particularly to perform sexual acts, by threatening to publish naked pictures of them or sexual information about them.

Who are the child victims? [National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline sextortion reports, October 2013 through April 2016]

  • 78 percent of the reports involved female children and 15 percent involved male children (in 8 percent of the reports, child gender could not be determined).
  • Male and female children each ranged in age from 8-17 and had an average age of 15; however, compared to female children, it was less common for male children to be on the younger end of the spectrum.
  • In 24 percent of the reports, reporters mentioned that they suspected or knew that additional children were targeted by the same offender.

(Source: https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/pdfs/ncmec-analysis/sextortionfactsheet.pdf)


The most common tactic by offenders were the offender threatening to post previously acquired sexual content online (67 percent), and often specifically threatening to post it in a place for family and friends to see (29 percent) if the child did not comply.

Sextortion most commonly occurred via phone/tablet messaging apps, social networking sites and video chats. In a typical incident involving multiple platforms, the offender approached the child on a social networking site where they learn personal information about the child such as who their family and friends are, or where they go to school. The offender then attempted to move the communication to an anonymous messaging app or live stream video chat where they obtained sexually explicit content from the child.

As a result of sextortion, child victims commonly experience negative outcomes, including hopelessness, fear, anxiety and depression. Overall it was indicated in 13 percent of CyberTipline sextortion reports received by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the child victim had experienced some type of negative outcome. Of those reports with some type of negative outcome, it was indicated that about 1 in 3 children (31 percent; 4 percent of all sextortion reports) had engaged in self harm, threatened suicide or attempted suicide as a result of the victimization.

(Source: https://www.missingkids.org/content/dam/pdfs/ncmec-analysis/sextortionfactsheet.pdf)


During a question and answer session, a listener asked how police handle sexting in schools. Lt. Spears said it often depends on which agency is handling it and in which state. He tells his school resource officers to first determine whether the other sexting recipient is an adult or a known juvenile.

“If it is a known juvenile, I encourage the school resource officer to reach out to the parent and bring this information to the forefront at home,” Spears said. “The reason I say that is the parent is the one who furnished the device; usually it is a smartphone. And all too often, parents, I find, constantly want to depend on the school system to provide sex education, and that is a parent’s job. I truly believe it is a parent’s job to talk about sex and the birds and the bees, and the school does facilitate training. We encourage parents and have them respond to the school; that way the phone can be turned over to the parents, and prior to that we erase or factory reset the information. We also tell the parent that the images may be stored on their cloud system at home, and depending on those images, we notify them that they may be in possession of child pornography if they do not take a proactive approach on erasing this. Usually that really grabs the parents’ attention and they respond to the school. We try to keep the parents involved.”

Although apps are available to parents to limit what children can see on their phones, presenters said parents need to be vigilant and involved.

“It goes back to, is this child old enough to be given a smartphone? They still make regular phones that you can dial out for safety reasons,” Spears said. “I would not just leave it up to an app to monitor and be the virtual parent. It has to be a collaborative effort between the parent and the app and constant communication with the child even on these difficult subjects.”

In response to a suggestion that youth/peer leaders (such as older siblings) could educate other children on limiting use of electronic devices, Hall said it could be a good approach to get children to reduce their online activity because youth will listen to their peers.

“Without boundaries, we are not helping the children. We need to work on how that works from within the home, and then include those other resources that are available to us to reinforce that, because the more that children become aware that not only does it start from the home but is also out there in our community and our world around us, they are more accepting to take that approach and eventually those peers will help educate their own, which is really a healthy approach. Community peer groups with other teenagers and kids is a huge benefit because obviously they’re going to listen to them.”

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Beeville officer recognized for saving life of choking baby

It turns out, the baby was choking on a binder clip

 

BEEVILLE, Texas — A Beeville police officer received some well-deserved praise Monday after saving the life of a baby.

It happened a few weeks ago. Police said baby less than a year old was choking when Sgt. Greg Baron arrived on the scene and knew exactly what to do.

It turns out, the baby was choking on a binder clip.


The call came in around 11 p.m. on Feb. 24. baron was only a minute away when it happened, and when he pulled up to the home family members were frantic in the front yard with the child.

Body cam footage showed Baron grab the baby and begin performing a variation of the Heimlich maneuver, patting the child's back and using his fingers to try and grab the object from her throat.

After less than a minute, Baron successfully removed the clip.

Baron said he doesn't consider himself a hero. He was just doing his job like many others.

"The farmer that produces the food that we eat, the rancher that produces the protein, it's no difference for us," Baron said. "We're members of society doing a job."

Baron said the department is proud of the outcome and is happy to know they make a difference.

The baby did go to the hospital for small cuts in her throat but is now home and doing well.

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Blast From The Past Training Video

Police Training Video 1968 W/Martin Milner of Adam 12 Fame.

Former So Texas sheriff, 93, made honorary Nueces Co.Deputy

In The News

 , Corpus Christi Caller Times 


 

Edward Ogdee clutched his walker with both hands and leaned in to listen to Nueces County Sheriff J.C. Hooper. 


"I would like to ask you today to be a deputy, an honorary deputy of the Nueces County Sheriff's Office," Hooper said, as he shook the 93-year-old's hand. "Do you accept that?"


He did. And he did it with a slight, proud smile as his family cheered him on Wednesday morning.

Hooper and several sheriff's office deputies brought their patrol cars to Elan Corpus Christi Assisted Living & Memory Care Community, where Ogdee lives. 


The deputies took time out of their busy days and came into city limits to show their appreciation to their fellow law enforcement brother, Lt. Roland Martinez said. 

Ogdee was a law enforcement officer for three decades in South Texas. He was elected sheriff of Brooks County from 1976 to 1981. Ogdee then served as a law enforcement officer in Falfurrias. 


The assisted living home's event, called "Miracle Moment," celebrates the special times in the residents' lives. For Ogdee, it was being a public servant.

So when he sat in a Nueces County Sheriff's Office patrol pickup, the memories of his days keeping the community safe came rushing back.

"I used to wear a big black Stetson. I used to wear it all the time," Odgee said as he sat in the passenger seat of the pickup.


Martinez drove Ogdee around town for most of the morning into the afternoon. The two talked about radar, traffic stops and the patrol pickup. 

The two even shared a laugh at Ogdee's dislike of traffic stops. 

As they drove around, Ogdee's family was invited to sit in the back of the patrol pickup with him.

That moment was priceless to Ogdee's grandson.


"It brought back memories of when I was little. I used to ride around with him in Falfurrias," DJ Palmore said. "I hope it reminds him of the many years of great service he did for the town of Falfurrias and Brooks County, and I hope he remembers this day for the rest of his life."


As Ogdee took another drive with Martinez in Corpus Christi, he looked at the passing streets, trees and vehicles and nodded in silence. He looked at Martinez and the laptop inside the pickup before he spoke for the first time in a while.


"This is very nice," he said. "Very nice."

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San Patricio County Sheriff Leroy Moody Announces Retirement

Career at San Patricio County Sheriff's Office Spanned Almost 54 Years

 

After a career as Sheriff of San Patricio County, Texas, Sheriff Leroy Moody has announced his retirement effective March 31, 2019.  On behalf of ALL of the directors and members of the Coastal Bend Peace Officers Association, we wish Sheriff Moody a happy and fulfilling retirement.  Sheriff, we look forward to seeing you at all of our future meetings.  Thank you for your many years of dedication to law enforcement and to the residents of San Patricio County, Texas.


"Today, I announced that after almost 54 years of service with the San Patricio County Sheriff’s Department I will be retiring on March 31, 2019. With the support of my family I have been truly blessed to serve all these years in a job I love. Thank you to all the men and women of the San Patricio County Sheriff’s Department for your loyalty and dedication and to the citizens of San Patricio County thank you for all the years of support. This has been great ride, but I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and enjoying my retirement. God Bless You All!"

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Deaf Sensitivity Training Video for Police Officers

How do you handle communication issues when facing deaf and hard of hearing citizens?   DEAF Inc., with collaboration with St. Louis County Police Academy, created a training video for police officers and other responders. Special thanks goes to St. Louis University for providing intern and sound support for this project. 

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For 3rd Year, Police Suicides Outnumber Line-Of-Duty Deaths

Law enforcement agencies across the country lost at least 159 officers to suicide in 2018.

 

AVID_CREATIVE VIA GETTY IMAGES

The estimated number of law enforcement officers who died by suicide outnumbered those who died in the line of duty for the third straight year in 2018, a newly released study shows.

Blue H.E.L.P., a Massachusetts-based nonprofit run by active and retired police officers, medical professionals and victims’ families, compiled and released the grim data this week.

According to the organization, at least 159 officers took their own lives in 2018 — the same number of suicide fatalities it tracked in 2017 and 19 more than in 2016.

By contrast, the estimated number of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year was 145, according to an annual report released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.


In December alone, 20 officers died by suicide, whereas only 10 line-of-duty deaths were reported.

“The single greatest cause of death for law enforcement officers each year is suicide,” said Jeff McGill, vice president of Blue H.E.L.P.

The suicide fatalities include 151 men and eight women. The average age was 41, with an average length of service of 15 years.

Four states – California, Florida, New York, and Texas – had the highest number of officer suicides, with each state reporting at least 10 fatalities in 2018.


Because the federal government does not mandate the reporting of officer suicides, Blue H.E.L.P. must obtain and verify raw data from a number of sources, including individual law enforcement agencies and surviving family members.

“We know there are other tragic deaths by suicide that we don’t know about,” said Steven Hough, co-founder of Blue H.E.L.P. “So as bad a number as we have this year, we’re saddened by the fact that we know in reality the number is higher.”

According to experts, law enforcement officers die by suicide at a higher rate than those in other occupations, aside from the military. Common threads between suicides have been cited, including pressures of the job.

The Ruderman Family Foundation, a philanthropic institution, also found that first responders die by suicide at a higher rate than people in the general population, according to an April 2018 report.


Blue H.E.L.P. advocates for increased availability of mental health resources for law enforcement. The organization also seeks to normalize the treatment of post-traumatic stress symptoms.

“There is very little money being spent to reduce the numbers of officer suicides,” said Karen Solomon, president and co-founder of Blue H.E.L.P. “We hope that by raising awareness about the scope of this problem — and shining a light on the need for increased mental health resources directed to officers approaching crisis — we can ultimately reduce the number of officers who die by suicide.”

The organization said the number of deaths could change as it tabulates incidents from the end of the year.


As for 2019, on New Year’s Day at least one officer has already reportedly died by suicide.

“Taking a real stance on officer safety will require us to address the elephant in the room,” Solomon said. “Addressing officer wellness which includes spiritual, mental, social, and physical health should be the number one priority for each agency head in 2019.

Learn More

 If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.  

In The News

Law Enforcement In The News

 January 1, 2019

Total Of 144 Police Officers Killed In Line Of Duty In 2018, 52 From Firearms, The Highest Rate In Two Decades

BENNIAN / SHUTTERSTOCK

NEWS

More police officers were killed in the line of duty by firearms during 2018 than during any other year in the past two decades. A total of 144 officers died this year, a 12 percent increase over the previous one, with 52 of those individuals killed in shootings, according to the Boston Herald.


The non-profit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund tracks the number of officers killed each year. According to this year’s report, 134 men and 10 women were killed in the line of duty, with the average age of 41. Last year, their annual report revealed that 129 people were killed in federal, state, local, territorial and tribal departments. That was a steep drop from 2016’s 159 fatalities.


Craig W. Floyd, CEO of the memorial fund, noted that the increase was a discouraging shift after last year’s improvement.

“The rising number of law enforcement officer deaths in 2018 is disappointing news after a decline in 2017,” he said. “Sadly, this reminds us that public safety is a dangerous job and can come at a very steep price.”

Even more discouraging is the number of officers killed by firearms, which reached its highest number in two decades. During 2017, the leading cause of death was traffic fatalities, but in 2018, 52 people were killed by guns. Of those, two-thirds were killed by a handgun and four were killed by their own weapons after being disarmed."


Yarmouth, Massachusettes police Chief Frank Frederickson said that they have felt the impact of these deaths first-hand. The state lost two officers last year to gun violence.

“Statistics don’t lie. We have obviously become very aware of the increase in violence and more so when it strikes you as one of your own, you see the spiderweb of damage that continues,” Frederickson said. “It’s one thing to read about it when it happens far away but when you see it firsthand, it’s pretty amazing how much this impacts so many people.”


Vehicle-related injuries were the second cause of officer deaths in 2018, with 50 people injured in motorcycle and car accidents. Thirty-two of those involved another vehicle, while 14 officers were struck while standing outside of their own vehicle. The rest of the fatalities were made up of heart attacks, strokes, drownings, cancer, and other illnesses related to officers who served in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Texas, Florida, New York, and California tied for the most fatalities, with 11 officers killed in each state.

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CBPOA Mystery History

Can You Identify Early These CBPOA Members?

Do you know who any of these CBPOA members are?  Click on the "OUR DIRECTORS/HISTORY" tab to find out more.

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In the News

Law Enforcement In The News

 

In a Small Texas County, a Sheriff Battles With Illegal Immigrant Crime

Vehicle pursuits, drug trafficking, and dead bodies cast out by human smugglers are common occurrences in Refugio County


BY CHARLOTTE CUTHBERTSONDecember 17, 2018 Updated: December 17, 2018


REFUGIO, Texas—An illegal alien must travel through at least five counties beyond the U.S.–Mexico border to reach Refugio, Texas, population around 7,300.

Most illegal aliens nabbed by local law enforcement were on their way to Houston, just 165 miles northeast, said Sheriff Raul “Pinky” Gonzales.

“Houston is like a staging area for them. And from there, some of them go to California, some go to New York, a lot of them go up north to Boston,” he said in an interview on Nov. 8. Vehicle pursuits are a common occurrence in Refugio County, which is just one of 254 counties in the state.

Just that morning, two different groups of illegal aliens were captured. In one instance, a vigilant driver saw a hand sticking out of the bed of a pickup truck and called authorities.

Nine illegal aliens and the smuggler, or “coyote,” were subsequently arrested.

In a second incident on the same morning, a vehicle pursuit from a neighboring county entered Refugio. The chase ended when the vehicle, carrying nine illegal aliens and their coyote, stopped and all 10 tried to flee on foot. Law enforcement scooped them all up.

Gonzales said he also has found the bodies of illegal immigrants dumped by smugglers.

“They put them in trunks in cars, they put them in trucks—where the temperature gets to 130, 120 something degrees—no water, no food, no air. And they die. And they’ll just throw them out on the side of the road,” he said.


Small Violation, Big Crime

On patrol, Sheriff’s Deputy Luis Flores aims for making two vehicle stops per hour—24 in a shift.

With 276 possible traffic violations in Texas, he has a lot to work with. Over several hours, he stopped vehicles that didn’t have a license plate light, or were missing a tail light, or whose plates were partially obscured, as well as drivers who were speeding, and more.

“I look for small violations, which gives probable cause for stopping,” he said. “I have a conversation—see where they’re going and what they’re up to. I look for cues and indications of other activity.”

But his goal isn’t to hand out tickets—most of the time, drivers get a simple warning or citation. The goal is to find the bigger crime—drugs, illegal aliens, warrants out for arrest, and so on.

“I love picking apart people’s stories,” Flores said. He listens for too much or too little detail in their explanations. Flores is ex-military and has spent two years as a deputy in Refugio. One of his most satisfying finds was during a traffic stop of an elderly women driving an old Nissan.

“I felt very victorious when we found $500,000 hidden in her bumper,” he said. “Money is super hard to find—it doesn’t have an odor and it’s easy to hide.”

The deputies patrol alone, but there are usually at least two vehicles out, as well as the local police officer. They back each other up constantly.

Flores said he calls for backup at the first sign of trouble, “ever since a group of aliens that I stopped told me that if my backup didn’t arrive so quickly, they would’ve got in a gun fight with me,” he said.

What the deputies do in Refugio might seem like small potatoes, but considering three of the 19 terrorists involved in 9/11 were pulled over in four separate incidents in the months prior to the terror attacks, a traffic stop could turn into something significant.


‘They’re Not All Good’

Gonzales said that if he wanted to, he could probably round up hundreds of illegal immigrants living in his county, but as a law enforcement officer, he concentrates on illegal activity.

“I don’t care if you come from Mars, if you’re committing a crime here in my state or my county, I’m going to tend to you accordingly,” he said.


On Nov. 8, local Refugio City police officer Tammy Gregory picked up a man for going 50 miles per hour in a 35 zone.

She discovered the man, Jose Carrasco Leon, was from Mexico. He didn’t have a U.S. driver’s license, but had lived in the United States for 16 years and was married to a U.S. citizen.

Gregory said it’s likely the man had not legalized his status, because Border Patrol contacted her to request custody of him once the police had finished processing him.

Gonzales said drug trafficking was common in his county. “We catch a lot of illegals with drugs,” he said. “We caught the cartel No. 2 drug runner here in my county. He was on a train smuggling drugs.”

In May last year, deputies seized 500 pounds of marijuana and a cartel member, after railroad officials noticed three people traveling on a Southern Pacific freight train that had originated at the border.

“They loaded up in Brownsville, heading to Houston. How much of that goes on and how much do we miss?” Gonzales said.


Recently, the sheriff had to deal with the slaying of two of his dogs by illegal aliens trying to evade law enforcement.

The two tracking dogs were trained to find lost children or Alzheimer’s patients, and they would bark once they located the person.

But this time, when the dogs found the group of illegal aliens in the brush and barked to alert the deputies where they were, they were killed.

“They strangled two of our dogs for no reason. These guys that killed these dogs, they could have very well killed one of my deputies or any other law enforcement,” Gonzales said.

“And these are the type of illegals that we deal with. … Not all of them come here in good faith. A lot of them come here to do wrong, get in gangs, and get involved with sex trafficking—they’re not all good.”


On the Border

Gonzales is all too familiar with illegal activity on the southwest border. Before coming to Refugio County, he spent years as a boat captain on the Rio Grande in Texas—the dividing line between the United States and Mexico.

“We picked up bodies. Like in a week, we’d pick up to 10 bodies,” he said. “A lot of times we’d see kids that had drowned, trying to swim across by themselves. The parents are the ones that sent them by themselves.”

He said he helped a lot of teenage girls and would ask them how they got across, and why they were there without parents.

He was often told, ‘Well, our parents told us to come here.’”

“And they’d tell me horror stories about what they had to go through to come here. They were raped, they were vandalized, a lot of them. They’re used as sex slaves. [The smugglers] bring them across and use them as sex slaves here in the United States,” Gonzales said.

“So a lot of time, these people are victimizing their own people for revenue, for money, and that’s what people don’t understand.”

Gonzales said he would often stop at the grocery store before a shift to buy extra drinks and food for the illegal aliens he would undoubtedly encounter.

“I feel very sorry” for them, he said. “They’re human beings, you know. We’re supposed to love them. But we as law enforcement, we took an oath that we would abide by the law and protect and serve our people.”

He said it’s very hard to do that when you can’t track people who cross illegally and evade law enforcement.

“You know once they blend in with the population, they’re gone,” he said. “They can commit serious crimes, [then] they can just pack up and go back home and we’ll never find them.”


Gonzales said 80 to 90 percent of the illegal aliens he picked up on the river were not from Mexico.

“They were from El Salvador, Honduras, from India, China—we’d catch a lot of Chinese—people from all over the world,” he said. Many said they traveled by boat to Brazil, where they met a smuggler who escorted them through Mexico and to the United States.

“Some people are here to better their lives—and it doesn’t make it right—but not all of them,” he said.

Gonzales said he has caught a lot of gang members, especially MS-13, as well as criminals who had been deported. In one case, two men who had been deported after serving prison sentences were back a week later, illegally, with a group of Hondurans.

“These Hondurans weren’t the type of guys that came to look for work. They were tattooed up, you know. One of them didn’t have an ear, they were just scar-faced. I mean, you could tell they weren’t good hombres,” he said.


The Dream Act Effect

Gonzales said he is glad President Donald Trump has enhanced border security and sent active-duty military to help stop illegal crossings.

“We can’t [have] this group of people come and invade our country. This caravan, the majority of them are males—flying their flag,” he said. “To me, that’s intimidating.”

He said he thinks many of the politicians who often side with illegal immigrants are looking for future votes.

“The difference between these [illegal] immigrants coming in now, they’re trying to bring their country into our country,” he said. “We are the United States of America, and I think this oughta be a Christian country the way our forefathers perceived it to be.”

However, Gonzales said the illegal immigrants he catches aren’t as confident as they were during the Obama era.

“When Obama was in office, these illegal immigrants were very cocky with us. They went on about ‘the Dream Act, Obama, the Dream Act,’” he said.

“They were very cocky. Like, ‘hey, we’ve got our rights and we’re going to become citizens because of the Dream Act Obama’s introducing.’”


‘We Already Have Bad People’

Gonzales said most Americans don’t understand what law enforcement deals with as far as illegal alien crime.

“It’s very, very hard to do our job,” he said. “We already have thugs that are citizens here, we already have bad people—we don’t need any more.”

“As a sheriff, as a leader in law enforcement, I’m very concerned about my people’s safety. I’d feel horrible if somebody got injured, seriously injured, or killed, because [of]—I don’t care if they’re illegal or not, but especially—an illegal person. They shouldn’t have been here to begin with.”

The sheriff provided a snapshot of what it takes for law enforcement to deal with one vehicle pursuit of an illegal alien.

“It costs a lot of taxpayers’ money chasing these people, [it] costs a lot of man hours. When a county deputy or a DPS state trooper gets on the chase, you get all different law enforcement agencies involved in the chase—you know, we’re trying to back each other up. There could be 12 officers for one chase, for four or five hours. A lot of times, they’ll wreck their vehicles, damage their vehicles,” he said.

“It’s a burden to us, it’s a burden to the people of the United States.”


Follow Charlotte on Twitter: @charlottecuthbo 

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About Us

Serving the Coastal Bend and it's Officers Since 1966

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"The purpose of the CBPOA shall be to promote the cooperation and understanding of all persons involved in the enforcement of laws of the State of Texas and of the United States; the continued and convenient interchange of information and training between various Federal, State and local agencies, and to conduct ourselves in a manner that will gain the respect of those we serve and to constantly strive to improve our position.'

Scholarships

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The Coastal Bend Peace Officers Association is responsible for awarding thousands of dollars of scholarship money each year to qualified and responsible sons and daughters of CBPOA members who wish to carry on the tradition of law enforcement and law enforcement related fields.

Our Members

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Whether you help through provide meeting locations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of members like you. 

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CBPOA MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION (docx)

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UPDATED COASTAL BEND PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION (docx)

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UPDATED COASTAL BEND PEACE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION SCHOLARSHIP REQUIREMENTS (docx)

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