Image: The reorganized Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and its Leadership Team.
Conroe, April 15 – Montgomery Count Sheriff Rand Henderson, celebrating his 100th day in office earlier this week, presented his “Strategic Plan 2017-2020” to the citizens of Montgomery County as well as to the members of the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. Henderson revealed a remarkable level of knowledge and preparation during the presentation, as he was easily able to answer every question regardless of its depth. Henderson took the oath of office at 12:01 a.m., January 1, 2017, to succeed Tommy Gage as Sheriff.
Henderson outlined three Strategic Goals over the next three years for the Sheriff’s Office:
- Strategic Goal 1: Reduce crime and the fear of crime
- Strategic Goal 2: Provide high-quality professional service
- Strategic Goal 3: Prepare for future population growth and emerging crime trends.
He announced that the Sheriff’s Department and its 847 employees hold the core values of P-A-C-T: Professional, Accountable, Compassionate, and Trusted. Henderson has urged those values as an “unspoken and implicit agreement between citizens and their peace officers.” As of 2017, Montgomery County has a population just over 560,000 people with more than 175,000 households.
Henderson has instituted a number of major changes in the Sheriff’s Office just during the first 100 days in office of the new Sheriff and his Leadership Team:
Detention Operations – Henderson and Jail Administrator and Captain Oliver Coward have introduced a new employee orientation and pre-training program in order to increase overall job performance and reduce Jail staff turnover. Henderson and Coward are establishing a new “Military Veteran Program” to provide counseling and support to veterans behind bars to reduce the recidivism among that important group of citizens. They are preparing a new “pod” for veterans to give them special treatment and counseling and to recognize their service to the United States. Approval of the “Military Veteran Program” was to have been an item on the Commissioners Court Agenda for April 11 but was inadvertently excluded.
Compensatory Time Reduction – By the end of March, 2017, through better organization and coordination among the Sheriff’s Office divisions, Henderson and his team were able to reduce compensatory time liability by 11% and achieve a savings of $475,000 to Montgomery County! This type of management is what other County Departments should emulate. Since County Judge Craig Doyal claims to “manage” all County Departments, perhaps he ought to attend some tutoring with Henderson.
Career Development and Directed Training – The Executive Division of the Sheriff’s Office under Captain Bryan Carlisle has worked closely with Sheriff Henderson and Chief Deputy Ken Culbreath to professionalize employee development and implement promotional testing throughout the Department. Carlisle’s staff will assist every employee within the Department to develop Individual Development Plans to assist employees’ efforts to reach specific career goals in a logical manner that minimizes agency expenditures on unnecessary training programs and increases employee retention and morale. For example, if a peace officer wants to become an investigator in the Gang Investigations Unit, the Department will assist that officer to take the actions to reach that goal.
Homeland Security – This Division is new to the Sheriff’s Office and brings specialized units, such as the SWAT, under one group. The breadth of this Division makes one question whether the citizens could achieve substantial cost savings by bringing the tiny and ineffective County “Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management” under the Sheriff’s Department’s umbrella.
Patrol and Criminal Investigations – The Sheriff’s Office now has three patrol Divisions rather than the two under Sheriff Gage. There is a West Division under Captain Melvin Franklin, an East Division under Captain Kevin Ray, and a Woodlands Township Division under Captain Allison Allen. Henderson and Culbreath are increasing the application of computer-based crime analysis, social media efforts, enhanced community policing and partnership, and better-coordinated patrol and investigation efforts to lower crime rates.
As Henderson’s presentation noted, the “hot spots” for crime in Montgomery County are The Woodlands and the southeastern portion of Montgomery County, both the fastest growing areas of our community. Murder rates are slightly increasing, while sexual assault rates and robberies are declining. Auto thefts and property crimes in general are increasing slightly.
Sheriff Henderson, Chief Culbreath, and Finance Division Director Carol Thompson have all attended training to implement “zero-based budgeting” for the Sheriff’s Department. As Henderson explained in the presentation, “Zero-based budgeting…focuses on line-item justification during each and every budget process. Money is not allocated based on what a division, section or function received last year, but what they need this year.”
Henderson, Culbreath, and the entire Leadership Team of the Sheriff’s Department are implement numerous analytical tools to make the Sheriff’s Department both more effective and more efficient.
Henderson’s first 100 days have shown that he’s a leader who tries to keep his promises in a professional manner that will improve public safety and the quality of life in our community.