Sheriff Carl Squyres was born in Coleman County and grew up in Santa Anna. After graduating high school Carl worked at Stimple Manufacturing for 14 years making his way up to Supervisor where he had anywhere from 150-200 people underneath him depending on the time of year. When the company moved to Amarillo Carl stayed behind in Santa Anna to care for his mother and received a severance package from the company.
Using the severance package Carl pursued a lifelong dream of a career in law enforcement and began attending the Council of Governments in Abilene in 1994. Upon graduating Carl was hired on to the Coleman Police Department where he served for seven years, achieving the rank of Detective Sergeant before he left. While serving in Coleman Carl served on the West Central Texas Crime Force out of Abilene for narcotics.
In 2001 there was an opening at the Runnels County Sheriff’s Department that led to Carl leaving Coleman behind. He became the investigator for the department and specifically worked narcotics for the next 14 years working hand in hand with Coke, Concho, Coleman, Tom Green and Taylor counties. Carl received his Master Peace Officer License in 2014, the highest rating attainable by the State of Texas.
Bill Baird retired from the Sheriff’s Department in 2016 and Carl ran for Sheriff to fill the vacancy. He was elected in to the office in 2016 and took office on January 1, 2017.
There have been several large strides in the technological infrastructure of the office, jail and dispatch since Squyres has been Sheriff of Runnels County. Runnels County Sheriff’s Department has been able to upgrade their systems with COPsync. The system puts data right at their fingertips without having to run it back through dispatch. Putting in a name or license plate can alert any nearby units with COPsync if there is a subject to be on the lookout for that might have been stopped. With other local law enforcement agencies such as Ballinger and Winters Police Departments already utilizing COPsync this allows the departments to communicate seamlessly.
Records, jail and computer dispatch systems have all received much needed upgrades. Many redundancies have been eliminated. For instance in the case of an arrest, the records are transferred to the jail so when the inmate arrives their information is already there. This saves time and energy from the officers and jail staff that they can be spending on other tasks. Security at the Runnels County Jail has also been upgraded. Upon his hiring there were just seven total cameras at the jail that did not record. If no one was watching the camera they would not see an event take place. Now there are 47 combined indoor and outdoor cameras that record audio and video. This has curbed many illegal activities from inside the jail as inmates know they are being monitored at all times.
One item of improvement for the department is the radio systems. There is currently just one law enforcement channel on our radio systems that is shared by city police, parks and wildlife and the fire department among others. It is the intention of Squyres to utilize State Grants that are available to upgrade radio systems allowing not only all agencies to have separate channels, but to also allow for a combined channel in the event of a mass emergency all major agencies, including the school, would be able to communicate effortlessly.
Currently the department is allocated for five Deputies, but just four are on staff and until recently there were only three. The County Commissions Court determines how many officers it takes to maintain the community as well as their pay. Squyres said, “I would love to have more deputies, but I would settle for better pay. Something we could use to incentivize good deputies to want to come work here. I don’t want this community to end up with someone that has no business wearing a badge because we can’t afford anyone better.” Ultimately it is up to the Commissioners Court and the people that elect them on what we pay these men and women that serve our community. Currently the department is allotted for 5 people to cover an area of over 1,000 square miles and a population of over 10,000.
Question: What is the biggest challenge of law enforcement in Runnels County?
Squyres: Getting pay for our deputies up. Also, drugs and the drug trade. Drugs fuel 90% of our crime here. Whether it be a murder or a theft from a department store most every time it can be traced back to drugs as being the root cause of it. It is getting harder to stop with no task force and the courts make it hard. We have to prove guilt to the courts so even if we know what they’re doing we have to prove what they’re doing. The Seriff’s Office and the local Police Departments work as closely as we can on the illegal drug trade. From my years in narcotics I have contacts and resources with DPS CID, Rangers Service, DEA and others who also work with not only with narcotics issues but other crimes as well.
Question: What are some relationships you have made as Sheriff?
Squyres: I am a member of the Sheriff’s Association. There are only 254 of us so we do have a little bit of pull in Austin. I specifically talked to the Governor about some of the mandates that are able to work in the big cities that can afford it, but that are killing rural counties.
Since I took office I have signed contracts with Tom Green County, Callahan County and Comal County to house their over flow inmates. We have always house inmates for Coke and Callahan Counties and still continue to do so. We are currently in negotiations with the Federal Marshals Office to possibly begin housing Federal Inmates. All of which brings money into Runnels County.
Question: Do you have anything to say about the current department staff?
Squyres: The deputies, dispatch and jailers all do an incredible job. The jail staff in particular have to deal with people 12 hours a day every day that most people would rather avoid. They deserve praise for what they do. All of us here want to take good care of Runnels County the best that we can.
Question: Is there anything you would like to say to the voters?
Squyres: I was honored and humbled to be elected as Sheriff during the last election. I can only hope that I have done enough in the last three years since to be elected again. It is a very honored position to be a county Sheriff.