DANIEL CLIFTON • EDITOR
BURNET — When Jan. 1 rolls around, people might notice some new faces at the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office as well as some familiar ones. Plus, people might also see a few more patrol cars on the road.
“People have been asking a lot of questions about the direction of the sheriff’s office,” said Burnet County Sheriff-elect Calvin Boyd. Boyd will be sworn in as the new county sheriff Jan. 1. He will replace Burnet County Sheriff W.T. Smith, who is retiring and did not seek re-election.
But, Boyd said, there are other changes at the sheriff’s office. Many members of the criminal investigations division are also retiring, prompting Boyd to refill some of that staff. However, Capt. Dwight Hardin, who oversees CID, will still lead that department.
Another familiar face in the leadership at BCSO is Capt. Ricky Bindseil, who is the patrol captain. Bindseil joined the sheriff’s office in 2009.
Capt. Matt Kimbler will continue as captain at the Burnet County Jail.
On Dec. 19, Boyd introduced a couple of new faces who will join his leadership staff. Chris Jett will be the BCSO administration captain.
Jett is new to the sheriff’s office but not to Burnet County residents. He is currently the Burnet County Precinct 4 constable. He was recently re-elected for his third term but will officially relinquish that spot Jan. 1.
Boyd, however, tapped a veteran law enforcement officer with a wide range of experience to be his chief deputy.
“Basically, the chief deputy is the No. 2 man,” Boyd explained. “All the captains, they answer to him.”
He introduced Mike Cummings as his chief deputy. Cummings started his law enforcement career in January 1977 with the Houston Police Department. He spent 22 years with the Houston department before retiring. Cummings and his wife, Christine, then headed to Walnut, Illinois, her hometown, in Bureau County, where he became police chief before the Bureau County sheriff selected him as his chief deputy. But in 2004, it was back to the Houston area, where Cummings headed up and developed the Westchase Municipal District before leaving to become chief of police in Liberty.
After two years there, Cummings jumped over to the Harris County Precinct 4 constable’s office as a deputy constable. He started off as a patrol deputy — something he loved — before moving into the training division.
Boyd pointed out that the Harris County Precinct 4 constable’s office has about 450 deputies and other personnel, making it the largest constable’s office in the United States.
“He definitely has the experience,” Boyd added. “And Mike’s real big into training. We all are.”
As captain, Jett will take on the task of developing and creating a policy manual for the BCSO as well as looking at ways to further utilize technology to make the office more efficient. One of Boyd’s goals is to make the sheriff’s office as “paperless” as possible. When he was the Burnet County Precinct 1 justice of the peace, Boyd did the same in that office.
Jett admitted going from basically being his own boss as a county constable to a captain at the sheriff’s office took some prayers and discussions with his wife, Michelle, but in the end, he thought it was a good challenge. He added that he had many conversations with Boyd over the last year and believes the new sheriff has a good vision for the office and the county.
“I’m excited about the opportunity and (Boyd’s) ideas,” Jett added.
“I think he’ll do a great job,” Boyd said of Jett. “He’s very tech-savvy. He brings a tremendous number of skills and dedication to the sheriff’s office.”
Along with his leadership staff, Boyd said the Burnet County commissioners funded four more patrol deputy positions. One of the concerns Burnet County residents mentioned the most to him during his campaign and since then was what they saw as a need for more deputies on the road.
“The county has outgrown the sheriff’s office,” Boyd said. “Four won’t fix it, but it’s a great start. I’m appreciative to the commissioners court for getting us these four.”
Bindseil said one of the things he wants to do is provide more community policing with deputies getting out and patroling the communities around Burnet County. Currently, he said, due to numbers, deputies spend most of their time responding to calls and not really having the opportunities to get into neighborhoods, getting to know the residents, and just being a presence.
“I want us to be more proactive, not just reactive,” Bindseil said.
The four added deputies means there will be five deputies and one supervisor per each of the four BCSO patrol shifts.
Those added deputies, Boyd said, will also help reduce the response time, another concern he’s heard from county residents.
“It’s a challenge, but I think the extra deputies helps us in that,” Boyd said. “Maybe even keep people in those areas (such as Briggs and Oakalla).”
Boyd has a long law enforcement background, spending 22 years as a Texas Department of Public Safety state trooper. He was elected to the Burnet County Precinct 1 justice of the peace position for two terms but resigned in 2015 to run for sheriff.
As sheriff, he will oversee a department with more than 110 people, which include 45 commissioned officers and office staff as well as 60-65 personnel at the Burnet County Jail. The jail also falls under the sheriff’s purview.