FORT BEND CO., Texas - There's a new sheriff in town in Fort Bend County and he happens to be the first African American to hold the title since the 1800s. At a time when there's a movement across America against racial injustice, the newly elected Sheriff Eric Fagan says he plans to directly address it.
"I want to bring 21st century policing to Fort Bend County's Sheriff Department."
What does that mean to the Fort Bend County Sheriff-elect? For starters, he wants to get rid of the wedge between law enforcement and the community.
"By doing Community Oriented Policing, starting a Citizens Review Board and bringing mediation to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department."
Fagan also plans to increase training on de-escalation and dealing with the mentally ill. "Officers need to learn these type of techniques."
The long-time lawman, who spent more than 30 years with the Houston Police Department, defeated Trever Nehls the brother of former Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls.
Fagan will be just the second African American Fort Bend County Sheriff.
151 years ago Walter Moses Burton was elected in 1869 after the Civil War during turbulent times for blacks in America.
"He went on to become a Senator and as a senator, he authored a bill to start a Negro College. That Institution turned out to be Prairie View A&M University my Alma Mater where I got my Bachelor's and Master's Degrees.”
Fagan is now among several elected officials of color in the county including District Attorney Brian Middleton, County Judge KP George, County Attorney Elect Bridgette Smith-Lawson and Tax Assessor Elect Carmen Turner.
"Fort Bend County is the most diverse county in the nation and among the most educated. So they are electing people who look like them who are highly qualified.”
When he takes over in January 2021 Fagan plans to diversify the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Command Staff and immediately address extensive accusations of racial profiling against Hispanic drivers. "It's illegal and it's not right. We can do our job properly without racial profiling."
Fagan says as Sheriff, his department will also join the Human Trafficking Task Force to help fight modern-day slavery.