By Kati Walker
As a former Hockley Couny Sheriff’s Deputy himself, newly elected sheriff Ray Scifres spent his first week in office becoming reacquainted with his staff and gearing their focus towards the future of Hockley County.
Though the staff has changed since Scifres inception as sheriff, he says there has been no interruption of service to the citizens of Hockley County.
“Some didn’t elect to stay and that’s okay,” Scifres said. “Deputies are still out as they should be and there should be no break of service to the public.”
Scifres said the department will be advertising for two detention officer positions and two law enforcement positions. He expects the department to be fully staffed by the end of the month.
One position Scifres said the department will be advertising for will be for Chief Deputy.
“We are going to advertise for it,” Scifres said. “It will be open to internal candidates. Even though you go through an election, you can’t go offering jobs to people. We need to see who’s going to be here…We will set up interview boards made up of outside people to decide who is best choice for the position.”
The department will be developing a new policy and procedure manual for the entire agency, including a new mission statement along with strategic goals for 2017 and beyond.
“It is important to have defined and attainable goals for the agency that are effectively communicated to inform our citizens about who we are, what we believe and what we want to accomplish,” Scifres said. “It is our goal to have a new manual in place within the first 90 days.”
Scifres said something he wants to achieve as the new sheriff is to ensure reports are complete before going to the Hockley County District Attorney’s office, to ensure the cases are thoroughly investigated.
“All reports are going to go through my office before they go to the prosecutor,” Scifres said. “We will not submit something that is partially completed. It only slows things down.”
He also intends to help his department turn cases around quicker to make sure inmates’ constitutional rights aren’t being infringed upon.
“As part of our new policies, for an on view arrest, that report will be submitted within seven days,” Scifres said. “That really has to do with allocation of time and time management. We all have to do that.”
However, right now, Scifres said his focus is team building and creating a sense of unity among his staff members.
“We’re all learning each other’s tendencies,” Scifres said. “It’s been a few years since I’ve been here so we’re trying to learn each other again. It’s a fun and interesting process.”
To encourage that unity among deputies, Scifres insists on wearing the traditional sheriff’s department uniform as a sign of solidarity.
“If I’m asking them to wear a uniform,” Scifres said. “It’s an important thing to show I’m aligned with them. I will lead from the front, not from behind a desk, I’m willing to do the job with you and I’ll be right alongside you.”
Scifres began his law enforcement career working for the Wolforth Police Department in 2006. In 2010, he interview with former Hockley County Sheriff, Kevin Davis, for a job as a detention officer.
“After I left the interview with Kevin, I left knowing this is something special, I want to be a part of something bigger than myself,” Scifres said. “I had to come here.”
Scifres began working for the Hockley County Sheriff’s Department in 2010. From there, he worked his way through the ranks to patrol deputy, and then to investigations.
“I spent a year straight as the only on call investigator,” Scifres said. “I went to every scene and gained a lot of experience.”
Once Davis left the department, Scifres continued working for the department under Paul Scarborough and then under R.C. Cheek who he ultimately beat in the election for Hockley County Sheriff this year.
“I worked under three sheriffs in three years, that’s a lot of uncertainty,” Scifres said. “That’s something I hope to bring back, some stability, and have policies in place for several years to see the benefits of them.”
Scifres said citizens can be sure that is exactly what he intends to do since Levelland and Hockley County are his and his family’s home.
“We came here and we wanted to stay here, we’re raising our family here,” Scifres said. “We have no plans to go anywhere, this is our home.”
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