Maurice Cook will succeed Interim Sheriff Rosanna L. Abreo, voters in Bastrop County decided Tuesday.
Cook was elected by 58 percent of the vote, beating Democratic candidate Mike Renck.
The two first-time nominees placed their names in the running for the county's top law enforcement position after it was announced former Sheriff Terry Pickering would not seek a third term and was stepping down to pursue a career as a consultant for a statewide non-profit, according to the Austin-American Statesman.
Abreo was chosen as Pickering's replacement unanimously by the commissioners, the Statesman reports. Judge Paul Pape told the Statesman she was one of their top choices because she had already held the job before in the late 2000s.
However, Abreo's role was only short term, with the county leaving it up to the voters to decide who would be next to secure the position.
According to the Statesman, Republican candidate, Maurice Cook pulled off a close win over Matt Henderson during the May primary, only securing the nomination by 16 votes.
Currently, Cook works as an attorney and consultant to other lawyers about law enforcement matters, according to the Statesman. Prior to that, he worked for nearly 30 years at the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers.
According to Cook's website, his platform includes the following:
- Community Involvement
- Proper Training
- Budget management to promote public safety
Read more about his ideologies, here.
On the other side of the race, Democratic candidate Mike Renck comes from a family in the law enforcement business. He served with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Prisons for 21 years before retiring in 2012, according to the Statesman.
According to Renck's website, his platform includes the following:
- Mutual trust and respect
- Improving efficiency
- Getting the community involved
- Teaching firearm safety
Read more about his plan, here.
One of the issues deputies in the sheriff's office say they face is low morale, with many city long hours and underpay as contributing factors.
According to the Statesman, both candidates addressed this issue, as well as others, at a candidate forum Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. Cook said deputies would benefit from higher salaries; while Renck agreed, he also added more staffing could help alleviate problems too.
Both candidates said they plan to tackle crimes like burglaries, possession of controlled substances, domestic violence and abuses if elected, the Statesman reports.
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