Sheriff Kelly Rowe Talks Border Issues, Sheriff Pay Rate, & More
Tuesday on KFYO Mornings with Dave King and Matt Martin, The Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe joined Dave and Matt to talk about police chases, drug increases influenced by border issues, body cams, the pay rate at the Sheriff's office, ammo availability, defunding police, and much more.
The conversation started when Sheriff Rowe was asked about his opinion on police chases. Rowe said that it has been a national discussion lately on whether or not pursuits should take place, and said that policies on such have been very strict, depending on what fleeing individuals are being chased for. The Sheriff went on to say that he knows that there is encouragement to run from police nowadays, with people even doing things like filming themselves running away while laughing, and that it can be a big public risk. He also acknowledged that Dustin Burrows has attempted to pass legislation to increase the charge for evading arrest.
Sheriff Rowe was then asked about the border issues that the U.S. has been facing, and if it is affecting us here in Lubbock. Rowe said that they have not seen immigration be an issue here, despite the increase in illegal immigration. However, he suspects that there will be an explosion of narcotics in Lubbock and the surrounding counties. "We're going to see the volume of illegal narcotics, those that, you know, are the most challenging to us: crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine, the big ones. We're going to start seeing a tremendous amount more of those," Rowe said.
Another topic of discussion was the pay rates for police and the sheriff's department, which Rowe said is their primary focus right now. The Sheriff explained that they did a little bit of budget increases last year, but despite this, the Sheriff's department currently sits at the bottom of the pay scale in Lubbock and the surrounding areas, and that that needs to be changed. Rowe went on to say that the main issue currently is losing employees, with their department currently being about 20 people short as of their last count. He explained how much it can hurt to lose someone like an 11 year veteran of the office because they went somewhere with an immediate 25% pay increase. He doesn't want to be in a position where they are constantly trying to compete, but he knows that it is needed.
The Sheriff was also asked some more miscellaneous questions. One questions was if the Sheriff's department uses body cameras. Rowe said that they absolutely do, and explained how useful they can be compared to something like piecing together civilian clips where you cannot get everything on film. Another question was if the Sheriff's department has been affected by ammo prices and availability. Rowe said that availability is always going to be an issue, and said they have been impacted by shortages in the past. Cost, however, has not really been an issue so far, as this is more of a recent development. Yet another question was about if he has had any problems with people wanting to defund police. The Sheriff has said that he thinks people around Lubbock find that idea ridiculous, so they have not had any issues with that.
Finally, the Sheriff discussed the legislative session and how their focus on things like jail standards, jail commission, and permit-less carry could affect Texas. Rowe explained that jail commission will be a big deal later this year, as it will overhaul their quintessential regulatory agency for how Sheriffs in Texas will run their jails. He went on to say that it will take a ground-floor approach to redoing how jail commissions will conduct its inspections and regulatory activities. Then, talking about permit-less carry, he hopes that it does not get to a point where police cannot interact with specific individuals who should not have a gun, and hopes that it will not interfere with police's ability to get involved and approach those who are carrying them.
Listen to the full interview with Kelly Rowe in the audio above.