Trinity Co. sheriff faces opponent in Democratic primary

GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - A former interim sheriff in Trinity County is challenging the current sheriff to reclaim the position.

Both candidates have a common bond that ties them to the department.

"I don't have a personal agenda," said challenger Don Fisher. "My agenda is for the people, to give them the best quality service that they could possibly get and I don't believe that's being done at this time."

To restructure or not to restructure is the question in the Trinity County Sheriff's Office.

Democratic candidate Donald Fisher has worked in law enforcement since 1999 and is a deputy in Harris County. However, he lives in Groveton.

He believes realignment in the department is a must to better serve the community.

"I'm not making a big drastic change," Fisher said. "Restructure the department, the dispatches, the deputies, the policy reviewing their current policy procedure and see if it needs to be updated."

Fisher is vying for the Democratic nomination against incumbent sheriff, Ralph Montemayor .

Montemayor says since taking the position in 2008, changes in the office have already been made and he's happy with the results.

"I felt we needed a lot more policy, procedures," Montemayor said. "I wanted to bring the highest quality of people to the department to work for the county that I possibly could. I feel like people are more protected, I feel like they can make a call and we'll be there ASAP."

These candidates have a common bond. they both had the chance to work with the late sheriff, Brent Lee. Each served as interim sheriff after he died.

Both integrated some of Lee's values into their style of leadership, from office activity to communicating with the community.

"He was my boss, I was his chief deputy," Fisher said. "He instilled in me the knowledge and the supervisory skills to run the day-to-day department."

"Knowing people on a first-name basis is also very key," Montemayor said. "They trust you, they give you more information, they feel confidence in your office and you as a person and that's what I strive to do."

While Fisher supports communication with the community, he feels there is a need for a consistent, active patrol in the county.

And more needs to be done to educate deputies, he said.

"I believe just taking little small steps will have a big impact on Trinity County," Fisher said. "I'm not trying to bring the big-city style of law enforcement to a small county, that's not what I'm about and I don't believe that's what the citizens of Trinity County want."

Montemayor says he works every day to improve the quality of the office and that started with educating the staff.

"Just recently we've had two officers certified in toxilizer," Montemayor said. "Certified and we're just making more improvements in our staff trying to build up and have the best knowledge they can about the laws and assist the county. If an officer has all this knowledge and experience and school behind them, then they can help these people."

Fisher says there is a real need for change in leadership and hopes to become the new face of an office the county can depend on.

"I've been on the front lines all my life in law enforcement, so I think I've got a feel of what they want, they expect and most importantly what they deserve," Fisher said.

Montemayor believes Trinity County citizens are already receiving quality service from his department, he's just happy to help.

"It makes us feel good when we make a drug bust, a theft bust, whenever we putting the bad guys behind bars, where they can't be out harming anyone else," Montemayor said.

Both Fisher and Montemayor are at the mercy of voters, depending on their best judgment.

"I encourage them to seek the best qualified candidate that's out there, not just the good old boy, not just the person they know," Fisher said.

"They're the ones that pull the lever or mark the mark for the person they want in position," Montemayor said.

The winner of the Democratic Primary will face Republican Woody Wallace in November.  Wallace is running unopposed in the Primary.

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