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ELECTION 2020: Kleberg County Sheriff

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Posted at 11:01 PM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-24 00:02:41-04

Here are candidates running for Kleberg County sheriff in this year's election. Empty bios can and will be filled when the answers to our questionnaires are sent back to us by the candidate. Minor edits have been made for clarity.

RICHARD KIRKPATRICK (INCUMBENT)

Richard Kirkpatrick Kleberg Co. 1.jpg

What is your age?

51

What is your current or past occupation?

Currently, I am the incumbent sheriff

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I have served one term (four years) as the sheriff. I have enjoyed my service to Kleberg County, and am seeking re-election to continue working hard to offer exceptional professional law-enforcement services to all areas of Kleberg County. I have successfully managed a $5 million budget as sheriff, during which time, I have implemented cost-savings plans that have resulted in numerous projects and grants both in the sheriffs office and the county jail. These cost-savings projects have come at no cost to our local taxpayers. I am a working sheriff that leads from the front and not the back. I believe in providing my officers with continued training and the tools to do their job. During the pandemic we have aggressively taken on a multi-phase approach to preventing outbreaks in our facilities.

How has life prepared you for this position?

I have been in law enforcement for 29 years. I am a former Eagle Scout and have held many leadership positions. I have enjoyed a successful career as a former criminal interdiction agent, and I have trained and mentored hundreds of law-enforcement officers worldwide. As sheriff, I have supervised a staff of 75 men and women who are some of the finest law enforcement professionals today.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

Since I am already in office, I will attempt to address this. First and foremost, issues come up all the time. I look at it like this, “There are no problems…only opportunities”. I trust my personnel and I believe taking on issues head-on. There isn’t really anything that can’t be fixed or worked out. As sheriff, I believe it has taught me patience and the ability to think things through to make clear decisions and not make knee-jerk reactions. I believe in making myself available to my constituents. Citizens should be able to speak to their sheriff when needed.

What long-term issues will need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

I would say that there is always room for improvement. Throughout my time in office we have implemented many changes, some have been much needed. Some things such as department polices are works in progress as the face of law enforcement is always changing and we must adapt to that change. I believe its important to form strong positive relationships and create public trust in our law enforcement officials.

DANNY PENA

Danny Pena Kleberg Co. Sheriff.PNG

What is your age?

63

What is your current or past occupation?

I am currently commissioned as Special Texas Ranger with the Texas DPS. Previously I worked 32 years for TX DPS, 22 years as a Highway Patrol sergeant. I then retired and worked as the Chief deputy for the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office for 2 years.

What relevant experience can you bring to office?

I have served over 34 years in law enforcement, 32 of which were with the Texas Department of Public Safety and 2 years with the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office. I spent 22 years as a sergeant with DPS covering Kleberg and several other counties in South Texas. I was hand-chosen to be the chief deputy at the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office because of my integrity, leadership, and experience I possessed from my years with DPS.

In my tenure with the Kleberg County Sheriff's Office, I supervised the patrol and jail divisions, along with the communications and CID division. While at the sheriff's office I learned the operations of the whole department. I would visit the jail on a weekly basis, meeting with the supervisors and jail staff. I met with the patrol supervisors and deputies on a daily basis. I had a firsthand view of what is needed to improve relationships and morale at the sheriff's office.

How has life prepared you for this position?

I have experienced many challenges throughout my life that have made me into the man I am today. Losing my mom at the young age of 12 was so hard, and even harder for my dad, who was a tank commander in WWII. He managed to guide myself, brothers and sisters on the right path and devoted his life to Christ.

I come from an agency that strictly follows a strong chain of command. The chain of command must be followed and respected starting at the top, and flowing through all ranks. A chain of command improves employee morale, and is a system of checks and balances. This is desperately needed at the sheriff's office

I am very involved in my church (St. Gertrude’s), Knights of Columbus, the ACTS Community and the Kingsville Rotary Club. I also serve on the board of directors for American Forces Security, Inc.

I am known as a hardworking man of integrity, and have been honored to have served and protected the citizens of the State of Texas and Kleberg County.

What problems would you address on your first day in office?

One of the first problems I would address is getting the employees to follow a chain of command. I can’t stress enough how important this is.

I will hire a private agency to develop an updated policy manual that is desperately needed. Law enforcement is continuously evolving; so should our policies. This manual must contain an employee evaluation system. Currently, there is no written evaluation process at the sheriff’s office. It is so important to be able to document employees’ strengths, areas of improvement, and a plan for development.

I will definitely begin to work on community relations and partnerships with local, state and federal agencies.

What long-term issues will need to be addressed throughout your time in office?

Each division will have a clear mission. One of the biggest long-term issues is patrolling our county roads. Keeping our citizens safe is the priority. I will be community focused and I am committed to forming better relationships with all local schools. Town-hall meetings will also be a part of my long-term vision. I will open my mind to new ideas, think outside of the box and join forces with resources that are available.