The first forum of the political primaries was conducted recently and incumbent sheriff Henry Patterson was there to make his case to the voters to give him four more years.
In the forum, Patterson explained he has 33 years at the Cleveland Police Department. He said that he started at the bottom and rose up from a Cleveland patrolman to assistant chief. As assistant chief of the Cleveland Police Department Patterson decided more of the focus of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department needed to be on helping fight crime in the Cleveland area. With that in mind, Patterson ran and lost in the 2004 Democratic primary. With four more years experience in the Cleveland Police Department, Patterson decided to run again in 2008.
“I decided to run four years ago to improve on equal law enforcement throughout the county,” said Patterson. “It was selective and lacking on the north end.”
Patterson has now served as the Liberty county sheriff for 38 months. When each candidate was asked to identify their goals for the department for the next four years, Patterson said, “I’d like to continue the route we are on now”.
When challenged that the “route we are on now” is not all it has been cracked up to be, Patterson pointed to case clearance rates for his department. Patterson noted that the percentage of cleared cases in 2009 - 2011 were 34%, 40%, and 37% respectfully. When Patterson pointed out that those clearance numbers are calculated by the state and signed off on by Rick Perry, it was pointed out that the actual raw data comes from Henry Patterson and the LCSO. There are ways to improve a rating without actually solving a crime. Cases can be cleared by being dismissed or when people die.
When Patterson was challenged again on his decision to not utilize training opportunities for his deputies, he again refuted the charge. He claims his deputies were not under trained. He said that more than 50 percent of deputies have intermediate or advanced certifications in law enforcement. Patterson never addressed why the sheriff’s department, under his leadership no longer attends joint meetings and training with other law enforcement agencies.
"The one thing you have got out of me in the last three years is the best I have to offer,” said Patterson. “Our numbers are factual. We are working hard and arresting a lot of people. There are things we have no control over. If you want things the way they are, in control, I’m the person for the job.”
For more of the story see the Cleveland Advocate.