Tarrant County Sheriff Seeks Fifth Term

Sheriff election takes place March 1, 2016

Longtime Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson says he's seeking a fifth term in office, but it'll be his last wearing the uniform.

For the second time, Bill Waybourn is challenging Anderson for the job.

"Just felt like it was time go out and take a run at it," said Waybourn, the former longtime police chief of Dalworthington Gardens.

The task ahead of him is large. Anderson is well known and well respected, but Waybourn has big backing. The police associations in Fort Worth and Arlington are supporting him. He is winning the money race as of the July filing deadline, when Waybourn had $12,919 while Anderson had about $7,241.

Waybourn, who is well known for instituting the first mandatory blood draws for drunken driving suspects when they refuse breathalyzers, is excited about the race and said being chief prepared him for being the sheriff.

"It is a much bigger area, but leadership is a science whether it is done on a local level or a large level," Waybourn said.

Anderson, going for a fifth term, is hard at work in the race, too. He had a fundraiser this week.

"Certainly, we take any challenge seriously. I don't ever take anybody lightly if they run for office. I think that is a mistake you make as an elected official," said Anderson.

Anderson gained notoriety in the Arlington Police Department when he launched the Amber Alert System. He went on to become sheriff and said the jail system is much better than when he took office.

When asked about the strong backing Waybourn is getting from police associations, Anderson said he is not surprised.

"Any time you are in a leadership role with an organization like this, there seems to be an adversarial relationship with labor unions and people like that. They are always pushing for more and more for the rank and file folks, and although I have been supportive of that there is always the belief that the head of the office is not supporting them enough and does not do enough for them. I have not always followed their requests, their demands, some of which you tend to find unreasonable if you sit where I sit and look at it, so I am not surprised by that at all," he said.

The sheriff also has some competition from one of his own.

John Garris, who has been a corrections officer for nine-and-a-half years, is considered a long shot to win. He currently has $1,500 in campaign money at the last filing.

But Garris thinks since he worked inside, he has the best insight. His campaign is completely digital. He is sending daily messages to supporters and encouraging them to share those.

"I am willing to take a chance and do what is right, to change the department," said Garris.

Voting for Tarrant County Sheriff, and a number of other races, will be done March 1, 2016.

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