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Two square off for Sheriff’s post

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By Tony Farkas
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Two long-time peace officers face each other in the Tuesday primary election for the GOP nomination for San Jacinto County Sheriff — Precinct 3 Constable Sam Houston and incumbent Sheriff Greg Capers.

Since there are no Democrat candidates for sheriff, the primary election essentially will decide the race.

Sam Houston

Houston has been in law enforcement for about 37 years, and in 2012 was elected as constable.

As Sheriff, he said he wants to get the department back to what is should be doing, patrolling the neighborhoods.

“I’m all about community policing; as constable, I’m familiar with people calling me with their problems, but I would have to refer them to dispatch,” Houston said. “When you police in the public, it gains trust and makes the people feel safe.”

In order to do that, Houston said as sheriff he would get a good reserve lieutenant and build a reserve corps — have them out into the community and use full-time officers as back-up. Additionally, he wants to create more dialogue between law enforcement agencies.

“I feel that working across the table with other agencies is key,” he said. “As constable, I’m usually the last person to hear about things. I want to integrate with all agencies — schools, constables, Parks, DPS — we should reach out and utilize any agency that wants to be on board with us.

“I don’t feel that has been done,” Houston said. “The only time (constables) hear of things is through other people, neighbors or the news.”

Houston also said that he will be a full-time sheriff, willing to hear the needs of the people.

Other main goals Houston has is to revisit cold cases and getting all equipment, especially communications, up to snuff.

A full-time deputy becoming sheriff has a different view of the job than a constable; Houston said that to be elected from a smaller position, like constable, gives a person a better grasp on how to deal with people.

“We work for you, and we need to have time for you,” he said. “I would appreciate everyone not to just visit social media, but to get out and meet the candidates. Find out what they’re about from them. Study about their past.”

Greg Capers

Capers said that he has been in law enforcement for 41 of his 61 years, working every day because he has a passion for policing, and every day “I wake up I try to do better than the day before.”

Capers has been in San Jacinto County a little more than 9 years.

“My first goal is public safety, it’s my foremost goal — always has been, always will be,” he said. “We will continue to make San Jacinto County a better place to live, work and play. That has been my motto ever since I first ran.”

Capers has years of supervisory experience, necessary for the 73 people working in the department.

Should the county gain funds through the Lone Star Grant program, the department will get nine personnel — six SJC deputies and three from other agencies, along with a leadership position and an analyst.

Capers said the county looks good to receive the grant this year, as last year it did not make the cut.

The additional officers and equipment will be necessary, he said, since there are cartels living in the county, which is 5 miles from 90,000 illegal immigrants.

“We’re trying to stop the drugs and influx of crime from the immigrants crossing border,” he said. “We have things that need to be updated, like the wiring and communications.”

Capers said that as part of his leadership education, he has attended the National Sheriff’s Academy in Colorado, and is one of 32 sheriffs in the past that have graduated. He also was in the inaugural class of the Texas Association of Counties leadership school.

Also, he is second vice president of the Texas Sheriff’s Association, and in July will be first vice president. From there, in 2025, he will be president. He sits on two national committees, one dealing with drugs and one with traffic safety. Additionally, he has been asked to be national spokesperson for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.

Capers said he has taken FEMA courses to help in emergencies and has structured his career for the last 20 years to becoming a better leader. He said he works with every agency he can throughout the state and country and works closely with every sheriff in the state.

“This county has seen a lot of that benefit from that interagency coordination,” he said. “Nine years ago, we stopped gambling in SJC by hitting 21 locations in 2015, with 208 police officers.”

Capers said he would appreciate every vote out there.

“I appreciate that in this country men and women have died for the right to vote, and they don’t have to vote for me, but get out and vote,” he said. “I still believe in this county; if we can’t help this county, how can we help Texas, and from there, how can we help the country?”

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