FALLS COUNTY, Texas – It’s been a little over a month since Sheriff Joe Lopez took over leading the Falls County Sheriff’s Office. He says his number one priority is to renew community trust within the agency.
Now that the election cycle is in his rear view mirror, Sheriff Lopez’s focus is shifting. He has plans to re-train officers to better serve their communities, to expand patrol to offer 24-hour coverage for county residents, and to build a new and improved staff.
Lopez says the key to success as Sheriff is meeting those goals he’s outlined.
“You’ve got to have the right folks around you. That’s just the way it is,” Lopez said.
Lopez brought an old friend and familiar Falls County face out of retirement and into the mix to help with his efforts. He hired a former Falls County Sheriff who served from 2001 to 2016, and at one point served as his supervisor at the Sheriff’s Office.
“I have to admit, it feels great to be back. And I will do the best job that I can for the sheriff and the citizens of this county,” said Ben Kirk.
“He’s a good man at heart. Tends to his business. And he’s a vital individual in this department,” Lopez told FOX44.
Lopez says Ben Kirk’s mannerisms and approach to law enforcement could be a positive influence on officers coming up the ranks, ultimately recreating a culture of trust and accountability within the agency.
“That’s very personal. In our line of work, you have to gain trus. You have to be upfront. You have to be honest in your dealings, and I think that carries a long ways,” Kirk shared.
Lopez says residents are taking notice of both the visible around-the-clock presence and the change in posture of sheriff deputies.
“We’re starting to get a lot of folks that would approach us and tell us that they’re now seeing the deputies out in different areas of the county [at] 2, 3 ,4, 5 o’ clock in the morning,” Lopez said.
He’s confident the new standard they are setting as an agency will weed out any bad apples.
“Those who do wrong, realize who’s here now. And the staff that I’ve got. And we tend to business, and we find out what you’re into, and we’re going to put a stop to it,” he added.