Out-going Sheriff endorses Patterson
Sunday, 29 April 2012 by Justin Cox
Longtime Bell County Jail Administrator Bob Patterson received a big public boost for his bid for the sheriff's office Tuesday night by receiving the public endorsement of outgoing Sheriff Dan Smith, who will retire this year after 28 years at the post.
The announcement came at Patterson's fundraiser at the Bell County Expo Center Tuesday night where a packed assembly of the county's most well-known and influential residents, braving the muggy atmosphere after the facility's electrical system failed less than an hour before the event began.
Sheriff Smith spoke of his simple philosophy in running an administration that practiced common-sense law enforcement and a commitment to integrity and professionalism. Smith said that Patterson embodies those traits and is the candidate who is most ready to take over after his years of experience as a peace officer as well as his extensive knowledge of the system and politics in the area.
"We would not have any success without your support," Smith said. "But it's time for a changing of the guard. I think the best person to replace me is Bob Patterson. Bob is a product of that professional development, and he practices that common sense law enforcement. The combined budget of the sheriff's office is just over $19 million, and about $14 million of that is the jail operation; we have 263 employees, 291 of which work in the jail, and we manage 13,000 inmates year in and year out. Bob has been directly responsible for about 75 percent of the sheriff's office. I'm endorsing Bob Patterson because of his loyalty, his service, and his work record, and I believe he is the best qualified candidate running today."
More than anything, Smith said, "I'm endorsing Bob because I trust Bob."
Patterson, who is new to running for public office but not new to the environment, was clearly moved by the turnout as he addressed the assembled crowd.
"To have the sheriff's endorsement is a great honor, and it also carries a lot of responsibility," Patterson said. "I've had the luxury of working for the citizens of Bell County most of my life; I know what the patrol officers need out there, I know what they go through. It's a team effort."
Patterson added that he has many of the same long-term goals as the outgoing sheriff, and that he will largely follow the path that has been laid out by the 28-year tenure of Smith.