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Denton County Sheriff

https://www.county.org/About-Texas-Counties/%E2%80%8BAbout-Texas-County-Officials/%E2%80%8BTexas-County-Sheriff

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  • Tracy Murphree
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Freya Odinsdottir (Write-in)

Biographical Information

1. Please explain your plan for deportation of undocumented persons?

2. What are your proposals for enhancing collaboration among the Sheriff’s Office, City and Town Councils, the County Commissioners, and the community?

3. Please explain how you think the Sheriff’s Office can contribute to improving race relations.

4. Many mentally ill persons are in jail instead of treatment. How do you propose to remedy this situation?

5. What issues within your County need the most attention? What solutions will you pursue?

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Education B.A. Yoga and TaichiQuan- Naropa University Currently studying for M.S. in Exercise Physiology at Texas Woman's university
Experience 2007-2011 United States Marine Corps infantry. 2015-2019 Corrections supervisor, special operations response team, Denton County Sheriff's Office
The Sheriff’s office has no jurisdiction over deportation. However, it is the Sheriff’s office’s cooperation with ICE that causes separation from families. Denton County Sheriff’s Office under my leadership will not cooperate with ICE, except in the instances of violent offenders, who make up a minority of those being held for ICE. An ICE detainer restricts individuals from posting bail, or receiving a Personal Recognizance bond, and from appearing for court dates and hearings. It forces taxpayers to pay more money to hold individuals longer than their sentences mandate. I have no interest in my office doing the federal government’s dirty work.
I recognize and acknowledge that many of the things I hope to accomplish will require my officers to work in tandem and cohesion with local legislators. Additionally, I want to be able to best serve the people of Denton County. I have a firm conviction that sitting down in together, listening to what all sides of a discussion want, and coming to an agreement where everyone is moving in the direction of their goals, is the best way to do that. I want to know from city and town legislators what they want from me in the fulfillment of my duty, how they think that I can best fill my role as a public servant. I want to talk to the leaders within the communities of Denton County, particularly those of marginalized groups, but also of the majority, to find out what the people want. I want to be able to bridge those needs and wants with those presented by the legislators, so that I and those under me are not only serving the will of the government, but the will of the people.
3. I think law enforcement’s biggest problem is that not enough attention is paid to inclusion and tolerance. That must be a primary focus of hiring and training. There are too many people in the Sheriff’s office who think protecting themselves and their subordinates from accountability is how business is done. I want those people out. I want full transparency with the public. I want everyone from bottom to top held accountable for their actions.

I want my actions under a microscope, and theirs, too. And if people find me or a member of my staff failing somehow, I need to know who, where, and how to fix it. There’s a deputy I respect deeply. When people were wearing safety pins to show that they were a safe space for oppressed and marginalized people, he said, “No, thank you; I pin mine on every day.” I think that’s noble. But I think it’s more important that every officer and deputy feel like that, and that the people we serve feel that the Office of the Sheriff is a safe space.
4. A lot of people who are incarcerated for mental-health related incidents can’t be sent to treatment because there are not enough treatment beds available. The Office of the Sheriff must constantly work with the county officials and county commissioners. I am prepared to ask them for this kind of help. Those mental health services available to inmates are woefully inadequate. Deputies simply need to have better training. Perhaps one option is to reach out to facilities out of the county that might have more space.

I think, ultimately, the most basic, fundamental answer is that we need to increase training for detention officers, and also increase the level of mental health care that is provided within the jail. The Sheriff’s Office may not have the budget for additional people or programs. We must open a discussion with county commissioners and appeal for help. If we can’t place the mentally ill in proper care, we can do a better job of caring for them while they are in our custody.
The most pressing issues are unnecessary arrests and lack of oversight and accountability within the sheriff’s office. I want to create an oversight committee made up of individuals from the public, ideally representing groups who most often experience inappropriate behavior from officers. I have a zero-tolerance policy for bad behavior. I want to increase the number of cameras for monitoring activities and personnel at DCSO, specifically in break rooms and supervisor offices. I will work with legislators to end prosecution of victimless crimes. This will reduce both the number of arrests and the financial burden on the county. Reducing arrests also has the benefit of reducing police brutality. If officers are trained to rely on resolving situations with calmness, compassion, and respect, we can avoid the problems around resisting arrest. Often, solutions are dependent upon budgets and money. I am ready to propose innovative ways to manage a budget to help provide these solutions.