Behind the Badge: Lubbock Law Enforcement Citizen's Academy

Published: Apr. 5, 2017 at 2:59 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2017 at 5:16 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - This is the second year of the Lubbock Law Enforcement Citizens' Academy.

The 12-week course includes visits to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Lubbock Police Department, the Lubbock County Sheriff's Department Training Academy, the Lubbock County Detention Center and the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office Firing Range.

On Tuesday, Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe and Lt. Jason Stewart kicked things off with presentations breaking down the responsibilities of the sheriff's office.

According to Lt. Stewart, In 2016, their patrol division responded to 2,251 reports of crimes including 871 assaults, 1,453 residential and commercial alarms, and they were the first responders on 50 death investigations.

In addition, patrolmen responded to 132 calls involving suicidal persons.

Lt. Stewart said the patrol division also responded to 418 burglaries last year, many of which were in progress.

They took 561 theft calls and responded to 216 shots fired calls.

Patrol also made 2,020 traffic stops, served more than 400 warrants, and made 635 arrests.

By the end of last year, the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office Patrol division had responded to 11,747 calls for service.

Lt. Stewart said he gives the same speech to every recruit, reminding them to go the extra mile, tell the truth, always be respectful, follow lawful orders and talk to every citizen the way you would want your mother, father or other loved ones talked to.

He tells them the job is not personal. Some will love the badge and others will hate it, but understand it is the badge and not you as a person.

Lastly, he tells them to do their job and come home safe.

Lt. Stewart and Sheriff Rowe also gave us a better idea of their scope of jurisdiction.

They patrol 901 square miles of Lubbock County.

Patrolmen also offer assistance to incorporated city limits of Lubbock, the division also provides assistance to other municipal departments inside Lubbock County including Lubbock, Shallowater, Abernathy, New Deal, Idalou, Buffalo Springs/Ransom Canyon, Slaton, Wolfforth, and numerous independent school districts.

Lt. Stewart said their response times to calls for service have reduced significantly over the last several years from roughly 25 minutes to just over 13 minutes.

There are 32 deputies assigned to patrol consisting of one lieutenant, three sergeants, six corporals and 22 deputies.

Lt. Stewart said the average age of a sergeant is 54-years-old, the average age of a corporal is 39-years-old and the average age of a deputy is 27-years-old.

Unlike the police department and Texas Department of Public Safety, there is not an academy for the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office.

It staffs the patrol division by taking external applications from existing Texas Peace Officers as well as internal transfers from other sheriff's office divisions.

The sheriff said the department employees just over 500 people and operates on a $38 million budget.

He said the Lubbock County Detention Center operates on a $101 million budget.

The sheriff said it costs about $55 a day for an inmate who is relatively healthy, and roughly 18,000 to 20,000 people are booked into the detention center annually.

According to the sheriff, the average stay of an inmate at their facility is 17 days.

The sheriff said right now, a tray of food runs about .90.

Sheriff Rowe said about 60 percent of the current jail population is in custody for an addiction related offense.

He said nearly 50 percent of the population has been identified with some level of mental health disorder or having received some level of client services.

Sheriff  Rowe said the number of female inmates is increasing at an alarming rate.

He said the national average for female inmates has nearly doubled from 10% to 17%.

One of the department's main concerns is drug trafficking.

He said along with drugs, are roughly 1,500 gang members from 55 different gangs.

Sheriff Rowe said the money from commissary funds is required to go back to benefit the inmates.

He said they use those funds on religious, educational, rehabilitative and re-entry programming.

There are about five full-time personnel responsible for running those programs, but they are assisted by more than 150 volunteers.

The sheriff said those programs are making a positive impact and helping lower the recidivism rate.

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