From Van Zandt County Sheriff Lindsey Ray

It may not be widely known, but I grew up in Van Zandt County in and around Grand Saline.  I remember, and it hasn’t
been  that  long  ago,  when a  person could  hitch-hike  from one part  of  the  county  to  another  without  having  to worry about being accosted or becoming a victim of some horrible crime.  Odds were the hitch-hiker would even know and be able to trust the people picking them up.  I wouldn’t suggest hitch-hiking today though.  I remember how my mom could go  to  the grocery store  and  not  even  have  to  lock the car  or  park  in  a  safe  area.   Of  course,  in  those days there  was almost  as  much  farm  equipment on  the  roads as  there were  cars. In  those  days someone could go  exploring  in  the woods  without  having  to  worry  about  accidentally  stumbling  upon  a  meth  lab  or  a  cult  camp; and people could  leave their home unattended with little concern that everything would be just as they left it when they returned.  I remember when Van Zandt County was known as a place to go to grow your family instead of a place to go to grow your pot. Those days of feeling safe weren’t that long ago and although they may seem to be long gone, they really aren’t – not if the Sheriff of Van Zandt County has anything to say about it.  I hear from upset citizens who say they are concerned that the  county  isn’t  safe  anymore.  So,  let’s  do  something  about  it.   It’s  time  for  the good  people of Van  Zandt  County  to take their county back - to rid it of a growing reputation that there are few people around to stop someone from doing whatever they want no matter how harmful or how illegal.
The roots  of America were formed by good law-abiding citizens who took control to decide  what  type  of communities
they would have and what would be the community values and principles by which people would live.  That should and
can still be the case  today.  Fundamental to the  problem is the fact that the  Sheriff’s Office  has had to spend too long
responding to crime after it has happened without being able to prevent it from happening in the first place.  For that to
change the Sheriff’s Office needs the eyes and ears of those good law-abiding citizens to assist the Sheriff’s Office with
helping those citizens take their county back.
People may not realize that the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for enforcing the law for over 70 percent of the citizens of
Van  Zandt  County,  the  remaining  percentage lives  in  incorporated  cities  with their  own local  police  departments.   The result  is  a call  load  for sheriff deputies that  keeps them  busy  hurrying  from  one  call  to  the  next,  so  much  so that preventing crime from happening is almost impossible.  The Sheriff’s Office cannot take back the county without help - it needs  the eyes  and  ears of  every  law-abiding Van  Zandt  County citizen  who  wants  to continue  to live, work,  and  play here with the peace of mind that they are creating a safer place for themselves and their family and friends.
To  assist  with  this idea I  am excited  to  announce  the  creation  of  a  crime  watch  program co-sponsored  by  the County Commissioners’ Court and  the  Sheriff’s  Office.    It  is called  the  “Precinct  Watch  Program”.    This  program will fall  under the leadership and control of our Sheriff’s Posse.   The  program divides each county precinct into several sectors from which crime  watch volunteers will be  recruited.  The people who participate in this watch program will receive  special training and information and will be part of a communication and response link that will hopefully become the catalyst for crime prevention in Van Zandt County.  The Precinct Watch participants will meet periodically to share information and  create  awareness. With citizen  participation this  program will  grow  and  expand  to not  only provide  a meaningful and  successful  contribution  to the Sheriff’s  Office but  just  as important – it  will become  widely known that Van  Zandt County is not where you want to come if you are a criminal, or if you are already a criminal here - you might want to get out while you can!
The  Sheriff’s  Office wants  to keep  the  citizens  of Van  Zandt County  protected  and  safe,  but  this  is  no  small task. We can’t  do  it  the  way the  citizens deserve  without their involvement.   Anyone  wanting more  information about this
Precinct Watch Program or wanting to volunteer to participate or wanting information about becoming a member of the
Sheriff’s Posse, should call 903-567-4133.  Rest  assured measures  will be  taken to help make sure  that participation in this program is as safe and controlled as possible, so please give it consideration. We all deserve a safe community and working together we can make that happen – let’s take our county back!