Austin County Sheriff

                                                                                        

        

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Our Role in the Community

The Austin County Sheriff's Office is the primary law enforcement agency of Austin County Texas. Located on the west bank of the Brazos River, a one hour drive from Houston, it is mostly an agricultural and cattle raising area. With its proximity to Houston, however, there are quite a number of residents that commute daily.

Comprised of the elected Sheriff, 51 Full Time Commissioned Deputies, 12 Reserve Deputies, and eleven Dispatchers, the Office is responsible for providing services to a county with a population of 26,903 covering an area of 656.252 square miles.

The Sheriff is also responsible for the operation of the only jail facility in the County. With 31 Jail Officers, the Austin County Jail can house 86 inmates for pre and post trial confinement.

The Emergency Communications system for the County is also the responsibility of the Sheriff. The county's Emergency-911 telephone answering point is located in the Sheriff's Office and dispatching of the Police Departments of the cities of Sealy, Bellville, Wallis and San Felipe are done from that point. The Sheriff's Office is also responsible for dispatching all Fire and EMS units in the County.

 

 

History and Austin County

The Colonial Capital of Texas

Site of Stephen F. Austin's "Old 300 Colony"

Birthplace of the Texas Rangers

Home of the Bellville Brahmas, Sealy Tigers, and Wallis (Brazos) Cougars.

 (Click here to learn more about Austin County)

History of the Office of Sheriff

The Office of the Sheriff is the oldest law enforcement office known within the English common-law system. Some historians date the Office the Sheriff to ancient Roman times

There is no law enforcement authority in Anglo-American law as ancient as that of the County Sheriff. Today, as in the past, the County Sheriff is a peace officer entrusted with the maintenance of law and order and the preservation of peace for all.

Around 700 A.D., the Anglo-Saxons, living in largely rural areas, organized for self defense by forming self-government in groups of ten families. Such groups, called "tuns", formed the source for the word "town." These "tuns" formed further groups of ten, or one hundred families, and elected their own chief called a gerefa. This term was later shortened to the word "reeve."

The groups of hundreds then banded together and formed shires, the forerunners of the modern-day county. The sixteen ancient counties in central England still carry the shire name, such as Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, and so on. As the principal person in each shire was called a reeve, the title shire reeve gradually ran together into a single word. The shire-reeve, or sheriff, was the chief law enforcement officer of each shire by the year 1000 A.D.

After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, when Saxon King Harold was defeated by the Normans, the latter, not trusting the local governments, centralized their power. Their authority was consolidated under the king and his appointees, one of the principals of which was the sheriff. One of the sheriff's new duties was that of tax collector. Set in the late 1100s, the legendary story of Robin Hood accurately reflects the Saxon attitudes toward the Norman nobility. It was in this climate that the Magna Carta was forced upon King John. The power of the sheriff in 1215 is evident from the mention of the term seven times in the Magna Carta. The document is addressed to King John and his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justiciaries, foresters, sheriffs, reeves, ministers, all bailiffs and faithful subjects. The next mention states that if any heir of the baron shall have been committed in warship to the sheriff, and the heir commits destruction, he will make amends.

Another reference to the sheriff in the Magna Carta states that if anyone holding a late fee to a baron shall die, and the sheriff has a summons for the debt due, it shall be lawful for the sheriff to seize the chattels of the deceased to the extent of the value of the debt assessed by worthy men. This appears to be the forerunner of modern-day replevin and seizure laws entrusted to the Office of the Sheriff by State Statutes.

From the Magna Carta through the colonization of America, duties of the Sheriff in England consisted of executing writs, precepts and warrants, as well as apprehending law violators. During this period, the sheriff was the leading law enforcer and tax collector in the English country. The sheriff had financial responsibility to the king if the county citizens did not pay the fines as the taxes demanded.

During the colonization of America, the sheriff became an integral part of our government. American sheriffs undertook the English responsibilities of law enforcement and tax collection, as well as new responsibilities such as chief executive officer of the county and overseeing jails. The duties of serving criminal and civil process, summoning juries, executing judgments and conducting judicial sales soon evolved. The term "high sheriff" was used to distinguish the sheriff from deputies, assistants or undersheriffs.

 

Sheriffs of Austin County

  (Before Statehood)  

 

   
 N. Cleveland - 2/6/1837    Benjamin S. Grayson - 2/6/1843

 

   
McHenry Winburn - 2/4/1839   Charles Railey - 2/3/1844

 

   
Jacob H. Catten - 5/23/1840   Asa Robinson - 12/15/1845

 

   
J. Harris Catten - 2/1/1841    

 

   

 

   

 

(After Statehood)  

 

   

 

   
 James J. Jackson - 1848--1854 (?)   George Koy--1932-1937

 

   
J.T. Edwards - 1855   E. Reinecker--1937-1948

 

   
Newt Cloyd - 1864-1865   M. W. Steck - 1948-1953

 

   
J.V. Lewis - 1879   Truman Maddox--1953-1988

 

   
W. B. Glenn – 1896   Vernon Brzozowski--1988-1996

 

   
William Palm - 1897--1898   R. Dewayne Burger--1997-2013

 

   
L. L. Johnson--1918-1921   Jack W. Brandes - 2013 -
     

A.J. Remmert--1921-1932

   

   

      

 

13 May 2016

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