Sheriff Carl Squyers was a Runnels County deputy sergeant for 15 years before assuming the mantle of sheriff in January of 2017. He replaced Bill Baird, a man who had been in office for 33 years.
Since he’s been elected Sheriff Squyers says that the most significant accomplishment for the sheriff’s department and jail are in the area of technology.
“Technology has been our biggest improvement,” he said. “We now have computers in all of the cars and CopSync. Each car also has a printer and DL scanner. Everything is now computerized. We got CopSync through a grant written by chief deputy Steven Gray. It’s really helped us out a lot. They can basically do everything in their car that they need to do.”
Sheriff’s offices where deputies are sometimes in remote locations and find themselves several minutes from the nearest backup officer acutely feel the inherent dangers of law enforcement. One single minute can be a lifetime for a deputy in a struggle. Every second brings hope that another officer will soon arrive to help out. But, in some remote locations off the beaten path it can take even longer, “We get calls out in the county where the house may be a mile from the roadway or where we might be in a back area without an address. CopSync helps us with those issues,” Squyers points out. The program automatically tracks a deputy’s position and gives his location to other units in the area. It’s not just Runnels County that is on CopSync but other counties around the state as well as police departments within the county such as Ballinger, Miles and Winters are on it.
The program is also going to be at the jail as well as at dispatch where once integrated the system will have computer-automated dispatch (CAD). The program cost was $100,000 paid by the county commissioners with $65,000 paid for by the grant and was integrated at the end of 2017. Squyers says that the county commissioners have supported his office 100% with acquiring the new technology.
The increase in safety is felt by both the law enforcement officers and the county residents since the reduced amount of time on reports and calls means an increase in the amount of time that deputies spend patrolling the streets and communities. Another benefit is that if a deputy from another agency using CopSync is transporting an inmate across the county and has trouble he or she will only need to push their emergency button to summon help. At any time an officer on the street or at their desk can click on the CopSync link and pull up the locations of every officer in the state if their agency is using the program.
Squyers says the officer-safety benefit can’t be overstated, “The system will automatically notify an officer if there is a warrant issued in either TCIC or NCIC on subject that they’re performing a warrant search on. It will flash a warning and notify other officers. It will also notify you of stolen vehicles. Plus, if you’re taking a stolen vehicle report you can enter it and immediately send it out to the area as a BOLO (Be On Look Out).”
Squyers has increased the safety of his officers and community, as well as the jail since he took office. He’s continually improved and never rests on yesterday’s accomplishments. Squyers has to foster relationships with other police departments within the community, departments such as Miles, Ballinger and Winters, “The county is safer when we all work together, when we all communicate. Keeping those lines of communication open is central to providing the best service to the community. We all have to work together, the sheriff’s department, the police department and the community. I always tell my deputies to make sure they’re out interacting with the community, talking to people and visiting the businesses.”
Squyers is not only following in the worthy footsteps of his predecessor, he’s blazing his own path and is continually looking for better ways the people of the county.