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Riding with the PoPo - Night Shift

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This is part two of my ridealong series with the Grimes County Sheriff’s Department. To their credit, none of the Sheriff’s Deputies with whom I rode kicked me out of the car during their stint and I appreciate their willingness to share their time with me.

First, some similarities between the shifts. The Deputies spoke appreciatively about their body cams and vehicle cameras that are recording every encounter throughout their shift. They are proud of the work they do and are happy to have the video that will bear evidence to that.

Another commonality was that each expressed awareness of and concern for the coming growth in Grimes County. Each recognized that the department resources were stretched thin, and that more population growth would add to that strain. And yet another, the MHMR issues that were (are) present on both shifts, and the amount of time and resources they take up. The Night Shift - The differentiation between my day shift patrol and night shift patrol came across clearly. The whole dynamic of the type and frequency of calls that need responding to, the interaction that happens with the public, the difference was like night and day (sorry, I just had to go there).

Early on, we made visits to known trouble areas. It was there that I was told how our local criminals may be “small time,” but many belong to a network that feeds into a more sophisticated underground system. Grimes County also serves as a good hiding place for people who do crime in Huntsville, Houston, College Station, and elsewhere. There are enough wooded areas here that people come and attempt to hide out.

The calls varied greatly, from some mischief at an intramural sporting event (all was calm upon arrival) to a call about gun shots being fired in the air (we could not locate) and trespassing late at night in a local business parking lot. On this particular Saturday night, a large group of people coordinated an impromptu party at a local cemetery. We arrived and became the official party poopers.

One call that sounded trivial but turned out to be more was a vehicle that collided with feral hogs on SH 249 just inside Grimes County. Upon arrival, we found a large group of teenagers gathered on the shoulder who were clearing the highway of car and hog-related debris but were not cleaning the road altruistically. They arrived in three high performance sportscars - apparently, daddy has money. What they were actually doing was prepping the road for late-night racing. The teenagers received good common-sense advice before departing the area. Will the message stick? It’s hard to say but the Deputy certainly tried.

We then crested the hill and found a damaged vehicle and its occupants who had actually struck the piggies. The Deputy stayed on the scene until a wrecker arrived, then assisted the stranded motorists. This “trivial” call became one in which a Sheriff’s Deputy impacted a large group of people strictly through his kindness and situational awareness.

I’d like to once again thank Grimes County Sheriff Don Sowell, the jailers, dispatchers and Sheriff’s Deputies who all were so gracious to share their time and experiences.

The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Johnny McNally. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.

Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County and writes a bi-weekly column for the Navasota Examiner.