The work the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department and their trusties are accomplishing has now been recognized statewide by the Sheriff’s Association of Texas.
Sheriff Lewis Tatum presented to the county commissioners regarding a presentation he gave to 254 Texas sheriffs.
“The Sheriff’s Association out of Austin heard about our programs and asked if we would present what we’ve been doing out here,” Tatum said.
Tatum along with chief deputy Tanner Crump, jail administrator Kenneth Dean and Hopkins County Texas Ranger John Vance presented a 55-minute slideshow presentation to those assembled.
“It was about our commissary, farm, give them teeth, get them jobs when they get out, just everything we do to try and help the inmates,” Tatum said. “Our programs try to get them back into the county.”
Another main aim of the programs, Tatum noted, is to subsidize the cost to the county of housing inmates.
“Inmates are always the biggest cost for a county,” he said. “We’re just trying to find a way to make that not the case.”
According to Tatum, many other Texas counties, especially larger counties, have difficulty earning money from their jail rather than losing money.
“It’s a big burden,” Tatum told the court.
“We’re excited to be recognized as one of the finest in Texas,” County judge Robert Newsom said. Newsom hailed the project as both innovative and creative, benefitting both the trusties and the county.
According to Tatum, it’s not easy creating pioneering programs. The jail support staff, jailers and deputies of HCSO work 12-14 hour-days, Tatum said, “but once you sit down and work out the numbers, we’ve done something amazing down there.”
“It helps the county’s workforce in many sectors, including the roads, schools and the city,” Newsom said. “It saves costs, but also gives the trusties the skills they’ll need to be employed when they are released.”
“Everybody’s got to work together on this,” Tatum pointed out. “We work with you and y’all work with us. In the last few years, we’ve done so much working together.”
“It works so much better when we work together,” Newsom agreed.
The response from the Sheriff’s Association was overwhelmingly good, Tatum said.
“But we’ve kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” he joked. “We’ve now got to go teach our class all over.”
“Other counties are watching us now,” County judge Robert Newsom concluded. “The eyes of Texas are upon us. People are very interested in our trustie program.”
By Taylor Nye