Runnels County Sheriff Candidate Willie Covington is Ballinger born and raised. He graduated in the Ballinger Class of 1998 and joined the United States army in June of 1999. Willie exited military service in March of 2004 and moved back to Ballinger immediately starting work for the City of Ballinger on the Water Department. By August 2004 Willie was enrolled in Police Academy at the Concho Valley Council of Governments in San Angelo where he used his GI Bill while continuing to work full time for the Ballinger Water Department. Willie graduated the academy May 27, 2005 and was hired in June by the Ballinger Police Department. Throughout his law enforcement career Willie has been fully commissioned by Ballinger Police Department, Tom Green County Sheriff Department and Karnes County Sheriff Department. Willie has also reserved with Runnels County Sheriff Department, Winters Police Department and Miles Police Department.
Willie currently holds an Advanced Peace Officers License and almost 2,000 hours of continuing education in law enforcement between TCOLE training hours as well as college credit towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice & Emergency Management from Colorado Technical University.
In 2008 Willie was awarded the Police Commendation Medal for exemplary arrest and investigation while in service to Ballinger.
What made you want to run for Sheriff?
Covington: Basically my passion to serve. It has been a career goal of mine since graduating police academy. I feel that I can make positive changes to Runnels County to help make our communities safer for our families and our children.
What are some of the problems you see that you want to improve?
Covington: Narcotics trafficking and distributing of narcotics is currently the worst that it has ever been. I want to combat the burglaries and thefts that majority are tied to the narcotics. To establish a more proactive patrol.
What would a more proactive patrol do to combat the criminal element?
Covington: Visibility with deputies being out and in contact with the community, the criminal element will be less active in fear of being caught. Also will create a better relationship between the citizens and department.
How does a positive relationship between the community and Sheriffs department affect law enforcement operations?
Covington: A positive relationship builds a report between the citizens and officers. It builds a trust. Having a positive relationship shows the citizens that the officers are also part of the community and that they are approachable.
Should you be elected what is your plan for current department employees?
Covington: As I have stated in previous discussions, everyone is retainable. Both parties have to build a relationship and put 100% effort into doing so. I have no intentions of a wholesale turnover. Like any new boss coming in on the job I would want to evaluate each job position and each person performing that task and ensure that the citizens of Runnels County are getting the best possible services provided to them.
There have recently been allegations on social media that you are planning on firing multiple people. So is there truth to these rumors?
Covington: I have no intention of getting rid of people. I am aware that there is a possibility that some people would be unwilling to work under my administration and I have to entertain all possibilities so that I can effectively hit the ground running on day 1. Even after the recent allegations on social media that has not changed my stance. I continue to have plans to work with the employees whom are in place, but I also need to have plans if they choose not to work for my administration.
There have been several instances where questions have been asked of you on social media and you have not responded. Why is that?
Covington: I have chosen not to respond because the office of the Sheriff, I believe to be a professional position and to maintain the integrity and dignity of the position I believe that social media is not the type pf place to discuss these types of issues. As I have stated before I have an open door policy for anyone to discuss and address any issues or concerns.
Are there any statements you would like to make to the community reading this?
Covington: If given the opportunity to be elected sheriff I will work diligently around the clock with all of my employees to provide the best possible services that the citizens of Runnels County deserve. I will work side by side with all my employees and local agencies to provide a safe and secure Runnels County for all citizens.