Soon-to-be Smith County Sheriff talks plans for the future - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Soon-to-be Smith County Sheriff talks plans for the future

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -

In four days, Sheriff-elect Larry Smith will be taking office. He'll be the first new sheriff Smith County has seen in 36 years, as Sheriff J.B. Smith goes into retirement.
   

Larry Smith says a number of changes are in order for the Smith County Sheriff's Office.
Some of them, he describes as any good department's foundation, like communication and patrol. Next year, county-wide, the number of deputies on the streets is set to triple.

"You can do proactive law enforcement if you can put 12 men and women out there in patrol cars during a 12 hour shift," Smith says.

Smith says those deputies will stop serving civil process papers and that'll give them more time to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to crime in the county. Soon, Smith says, they'll no longer have to fill up at the county's gas station. He expects that to save time and money while on patrol.

"We're still using that $3.67 gas at the bulk fuel tank when we could be using [cheaper gas,]" Smith says.

Smith's Office of Professional Responsibility will oversee hiring, promotions, and internal investigations to ensure fairness within the department.

"We want to have consistency and make sure we're not utilizing the 'good ole boy system' of promotions or of who we're hiring," Smith says.

Smith says one of the worst things for morale is not treating people equally.

"Regardless of who it is, everyone needs to be treated the same. We don't need to play favorites or anything like that," he says.

A chaplain program, lead by Green Acres Baptist Church Dr. David Dykes, will be put in place to provide employees support and counseling for any job or family related hardships.

"One of the world's worst people to deal with [hardships]... that say they don't need help, they can handle all of this, is law enforcement. That's the farthest thing from the truth," Smith says.

With just days left until he's sworn into office one Sheriff Smith is sending well wishes and thanks to the other.

"Sheriff [J.B.] Smith has been very generous in this transition. He has been very helpful and I appreciate the service he has provided the citizens of Smith County for 36 years and I hope he has a great retirement," says Larry Smith.

Smith says other plans like housing federal inmates in the new jail for a profit and implementing an aggressive drug enforcement program are also in the works.

Larry Smith will be sworn into office on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Smith County Courthouse.

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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