Republican sheriff candidates to fight terror in Denton County

Republican sheriff candidates to fight terror in Denton County

February 13
02:46 2016

Adalberto Toledo | Staff Writer

@adaltoledo29

The two Republicans gunning for county sheriff differ in ideology, but they agree on the importance of fighting terrorism on the local level. Both pledge to establish close relations with the FBI as well as UNT and Texas Woman’s University to make sure students are safe.

The Texas primary is March 1.

Here’s what you need to know before you vote.

Incumbent ready to continue

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Sheriff William Travis Courtesy | City of Denton website

Sheriff William Travis, elected in 2012, has spent four years battling crime in Denton County using “tough-on-crime” policies, making sure criminals are in jail and keeping with his staunch anti-marijuana policies.

Travis explained that in the fight against terrorism, the two universities in Denton pose a big threat. He added that if there are any terrorist cells in Denton County, knowing who and where they are is of utmost importance. 

College campuses, he said, are prime targets for terror attacks. He feels international students who “come from countries that don’t agree with the U.S.” should be watched closely.

“I want to make sure we’re in constant contact with these universities,” Travis said. “Constant contact with Homeland Security and the FBI so we know what these students are doing at all times.”

He said the campaign has been “messy.” The Tracy Murphree campaign, Travis said, has been “slinging more mud than [he] knows what to do with,” but he did not elaborate on what specific claims were inaccurate.

“I’m just trying to run a clean campaign,” Travis said. “I’ve done an enormous amount while in office and I want to continue that.”

Travis boasted he has increased bookings while decreasing aggravated assaults and property crimes. To Travis, his most important accomplishment is confiscating $100 million worth of K2, methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs.

At a Feb. 4 Republican forum in Lewisville, Travis reminded attendees (as he does on his website) that his ancestor, Will Travis, fought at the Alamo. Travis often mentions his care for children in every endeavor he takes as sheriff, carrying on the tradition of his family’s 179-year military and law enforcement service.

“I want to do something that’s going to help our kids,” Travis said. “We don’t want our kids to pass through our detention facilities.”

Travis has many years of law enforcement experience with the Dallas Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Air Force. He stumps on his leadership roles in local organizations including the Flower Mound YMCA. If re-elected, Travis said he hopes to stay vigilant and do everything he can to get “every ounce of narcotics off our highways.”

Travis said he will try everything he can to remain “frugal” with the tax payer money if re-elected, and will attempt to address a pay equity issue in the sheriff’s office that he said is 17 percent below market value in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

It is this pay equity issue, as well as other internal issues, that made candidate Murphree run against Travis.

Murphree ready for the sheriff’s badge

Tracy Murphree has 28 years of law enforcement experience and claims he has three times the amount of state training than Travis.

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Tracy Murphree Courtesy | Tracy Murphree campaign website

He has been a highway patrolman, an undercover narcotics agent, a Texas Ranger assigned to Denton County and a supervisor in the sheriff’s office for the last three years. Murphree believes his experience will help right the “morale issue” he sees in the sheriff’s office, though he didn’t detail the particulars of the morale problem.

He wants to reduce the 38 percent turnover in the sheriff’s office, and is endorsed by multiple mayors, as well as state and local law enforcement unions and organizations. He also boasts an endorsement from the Denton County Law Enforcement Association, claiming it highlights the concerns in the sheriff’s office. Travis denies this is the opinion of his officers.

He was also awarded the 2012 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Denton County Crime Victims’ Rights group.

In an effort to bring integrity to the sheriff’s office, he has made it his goal to keep an open and transparent campaign. His Facebook page, Tracy Murphree for Sheriff, has more than 9,000 likes and is often trafficked by members of the public leaving comments he addresses personally.

Murphree periodically posts evidence of his endorsements on the Facebook page, and has put many of Travis’ claims on blast.

Like Travis, Murphree said he wants to conserve the taxpayers’ money. Murphee said the turnover rate forces the sheriff’s office to use money unnecessarily.

The home front fight against terrorism is also a major goal for Murphree.

“We need to re-establish our relationship with the FBI,” Murphree said. “Denton County has the opportunity to be on the front lines in the fight against terrorism.”

He agreed with Travis that college campuses are targets for terrorist attacks and plans to work side by side with the UNT police.

“[The UNT police department] needs to know we’re going to be there for them,” Murphree said. “We will provide the manpower necessary. We’re partners in this fight.”

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