The Sheriffs’ Association of Texas (SAT) held its 143rd Annual Training Conference and Expo Aug. 1-4 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in Bexar County. SAT began annual training conferences in 1878. Currently, these training conferences are the largest composite gathering of law enforcement officers in Texas. More than 1,400 sheriffs and other county and local law enforcement officers, federal and state officers, and major industry security personnel attended this year.
Conference goers received continuing education hours by attending presentations by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS), the Southwestern Border Sheriffs’ Coalition, the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition and the Texas Association of Counties (TAC). TAC legislative and legal staff attended to assist in training on SAT priority legislation from the 87th Legislature.
In addition to continuing education courses, vendor exposition and camaraderie, the new SAT Board of Directors was sworn in, including new association president, Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe. Sheriff Rowe replaces Sabine County Sheriff Tom Maddox. Sheriff Rowe began his tenure with the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office in 1999 as the administrative lieutenant of the Detention Division. He was promoted to captain and later transferred to law enforcement. Rowe then was promoted to the position of chief administrator, which had overall fiscal responsibility for budgets and funds in the Sheriff’s Office. In addition, he was a member of the Tactical Operations Unit and was the commander of the Honor Guard until his 2009 appointment by the Lubbock County Commissioners Court to the position of Sheriff. Rowe is a U.S. Army veteran and graduated Basic Peace Officers Academy in 1992.
“I want to thank Sheriff Tom Maddox for his leadership over the last two years, and during a difficult legislative session. Our law enforcement community seemed to be under attack from all sides during the 87th legislative session,” Rowe said. “Through his leadership, and the efforts of sheriffs who actively lobbied their representatives and senators on behalf of SAT, we were able to stand our ground and prevail on some of the most important issues that affect our profession.”
Traditionally a one-year post, Sheriff Maddox served as association president for two years due to the cancelation of the 2020 SAT conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 conference will be held in Tarrant County from July 22 to 25.
After being sworn in as President, Rowe laid out his priorities for SAT in the coming year, including addressing officer and jail staff retention rates, focusing on steps to significantly decrease the volume of illicit narcotics and corresponding addiction issues in communities, and improving mental health services within county jails. Rowe emphasized the need for sheriffs to communicate with the public and elected officials about the needs of their departments to be more effective at shaping public policy that will address these critical issues.
The Sheriffs' Association of Texas is one of the oldest law enforcement associations in the nation, meeting for the first time on Aug. 14, 1874, in the Navarro County Courthouse in Corsicana. For more information about this article, please contact Austin McCarty.