Constable Troy Nehls has officially announced he is entering the race for Fort Bend County sheriff.
A 19-year law enforcement veteran, Nehls has served two terms as the elected constable in Fort Bend County, Pct. 4.
The election to replace retiring veteran Sheriff Milton Wright will be held March 6, 2012.
In making the announcement, Nehls said several factors motivated him to run for sheriff, the most pressing of which were a lack of adequate customer service provided to crime victims, the lack of sufficient focus on residential burglaries, and the “improper use of the resources currently allocated to the sheriff’s office.”
Nehls said he believes the issues existed due to “a failure of leadership, a lack of vision and apathy of the current upper management at the sheriff’s office.”
“I know that the street-level employees of the sheriff’s office exemplify the best in law enforcement,” Nehls stressed. “But the senior staff is not performing up to expectations.”
The veteran constable also said residents should always feel confident they will receive courteous and professional service from the sheriff’s office.
“Anyone who has been a victim of crime in Fort Bend knows they rarely received even a courtesy call from the sheriff’s office after their case is filed,” Nehls noted.
He also said that in the past 10 years, the sheriff’s office has never solved more than 5 percent of burglaries. Nehls called that statistic “unacceptable” and said he planned to create a culture focused on serving residents by solving property crimes.
“It is unacceptable that Fort Bend County has the worst burglary crime solved rate in the State of Texas among counties populations over 100,000 people,” said Nehls.
Nehls stressed that upper management has failed to properly allocate resources within the sheriff’s office.
“Detectives must be available when residents are available, and we all know that is not just 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday,” he said.
Nehls also said he believes upper management has taken advantage of the use of county-owned “take home” vehicles and pledged to carefully evaluate the practice if elected sheriff.
“These vehicle deployments will be reviewed to ensure that vehicles only go home with personnel who are subject to being called out to serve residents in emergency situations,” Nehls said.
One example he gave was that of jail and training academy personnel taking home sheriff’s vehicles but are rarely subject to being called out after hours. Nehls said elected officials have a responsibility to ensure employees are “fiscally responsible” with assets entrusted to them.
Troy lives with his wife Jill and two children outside of Richmond.
In addition to his law enforcement experience, Nehls served 21 years in the Army Reserve with overseas combat assignments in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. In that time, he earned several awards, including two Bronze Stars.
Nehls received a BA from Liberty University and is scheduled to receive a Masters in Criminal Justice from the University of Houston-Downtown next month.