Candidate Profile: Clay County sheriff race

Local News

CLAY COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Two candidates with lengthy law enforcement careers are making their cases for why they deserve to be the next Clay County sheriff.

For nearly 12 years, Sheriff Kenny Lemons has dedicated his life to serving the people of Clay County as its sheriff. That could all end in this upcoming election as he faces a new challenger for his position.

Jeff Lyde started as a trooper in the Texas Highway Patrol from 1998 to 2012. From 2003 to 2012, Lyde also commanded the highway patrol station in Seguin as a sergeant with the Texas Highway Patrol. He said he now hopes to take a more proactive instead of reactive approach to law enforcement procedures if elected sheriff.

“I would like to change the enforcement procedures from reactive to proactive,” Lyde said. “I believe in getting out and meeting those people head-on and especially with regards to our community here in Henrietta and throughout Clay County, the crime, in my opinion, is driven by the drug trade.”

Lemons has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and more than 20 of those years have been in Clay County. During his tenure, Lemons said, there are several things he’s done to be proud of.

“I don’t have the advantage of telling the voters what I’m going to do,” Lemons said. “But what I can do is show them what I have done. I’ve saved over a million dollars in 10 years in taxes. We’ve got one of the best workforces ever. We are patrolling more miles now than we’ve ever patrolled before.”

One thing Lemons would like to continue working on is adding more deputies in the county to provide adequate safety for residents and prevent deputies from covering large areas of the county on their own.

“We’ve had great success adding personnel to the rural areas of Clay County, all of the outside parts, outside of Henrietta,” Lemons said. “We’re getting two positions this year and we are going to try to work for three more and eventually have five more positions which enables us to have more patrol out there in different parts of the county.”

Meanwhile, Lyde feels everybody always wants more but said there is a way they can still increase patrol with the current staff.

“You can increase patrols immediately by eliminating what I perceive to be a top-heavy supervision there at the place and also requiring the sheriff himself and the chief deputy to conduct patrols,” Lyde said.

Two different perspectives with the same goal in mind, to protect and serve.

Since there are no Democrats running for sheriff whoever wins the primary on March 3, 2020, will become sheriff.

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