Two of Patterson’s early decisions showed he was unsympathetic to many of the voters who were looking for someone who would help tighten the budgetary belt and remake the image of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office. Patterson began developing a far worse legacy from the get go.
One of the new Sheriff’s first moves was to insist on scrapping the badges being worn by a department made up of over forty law enforcement personnel. That may seem like a small thing but at a cost of approximately $80 a badge, Patterson managed to create over $3000 in unanticipated and unnecessary expense because the badges looked like DPS badges. He also refused to try and recover any of the taxpayers’ money by denying his folks the opportunity of buying their old badges.
More than a few would have paid $25 to $40 and kept their old badges and the county could have at least recovered from some of Patterson’s makeover shopping spree. Patterson’s also expanded his “style” campaign by throwing money at a re-branding effort that stuck a new Liberty County Sheriff’s Office stickers on just about anything that stood still long enough to aim a peel and stick at.
Another of Patterson’s initial moves was to hire a much traveled lawyer to serve in his small group that was considered “leadership”. It signaled to some that Patterson was eager to fulfill his campaign promise to clean up the department and the county government. And it could have been a good move. But hiring local lawyer Steve Green was far from being good for the county. Patterson, and any other sheriff in Texas, did not have to have a lawyer to wade through the tricky laws that are involved in firing employees. When Patterson took office he had a free hand to hire and fire anyone.
What Patterson and Liberty County got when Steve Green was hired was someone that had come from the Liberty County D.A.’s office to the Chambers County D.A.’s office to the Harris County’s County Attorney Office… all in a short period of time. He was just as unimpressive and popular in each of these places. Rather than fulfill his campaign promise to clean up whatever he thought was the problem on day one, Patterson hired a piss-ant bean counting lawyer that had less experience on the streets than possibly any of the people he became the judge and jury over.
Green helped Patterson drive the morale in the Sheriff’s office straight into the ground as lawmen that had never been in trouble one day in their careers began to worry as Captain Knit Picker entered his career in the LCSO with a regulation busting beard and a sharp eye he used to aim his write-ups at anyone he wanted to coerce. So Liberty County got a high priced rookie who made the atmosphere among the forty or so deputies stink. And he also kept whatever problems Patterson was referring to in his campaign and risked lawsuits by what seemed like some kind of continuing, never ending internal affairs investigations being run by a very green Steve Green.
January of 2013 is a much rosier looking picture for those who know Bobby Rader. Rader will be a great boss for those who act like professionals and do a good job for Liberty County’s citizens. The politics and the pettiness and the good ole boy images of past administrations should all consider themselves on notice. Jobs will be secure for those who are there to give a good days “professional” work. Training will be more available. Men and women who risk their lives to protect the communities in Liberty County will hear a great deal more encouragement and a whole lot less as the “gotcha” attitude will be replaced by professionalism.
As for the badges, you can bet Sheriff Rader will be using his budget to make us proud of those who wear a Liberty County badge rather than blowing it on someone’s idea of style points. Rader has some real good people to work with and some people that need to go find another profession right away. You can bet he will hit the ground running to clean up the Green and Patterson mess. No more peel and stick cover ups, just a roll up his sleeves and work hard sheriff- Finally…