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Sheriff boosts transparency

Time will tell if Denton County Sheriff William Travis can continue to impress, but we like the way he’s starting out.

On Tuesday, Travis presented his version of the “state of the union address” to Denton County commissioners, explaining that he wanted to provide the commissioners and county taxpayers with an update of his department’s progress.

We find that idea refreshing, and we’d be willing to bet that more than a few of the aforementioned Denton County taxpayers agree with us.

In fact, if this keeps up, area residents may start demanding “state of the union” presentations from not only county officials but also city and school district leaders.

And why not? We sometimes get the idea that the people who pay the bills are the last to know what’s going on — but before any local officials take offense, let us point out that this problem can often be found at every level of government.

Commissioner Hugh Coleman noted that never before had the Commissioners Court had a state of the union by the sheriff’s office.

“I think one of the things I like is he has told me personally he is going to put more emphasis on patrol,” Coleman said, adding that this is important to him because he represents a large area that is unincorporated.

We agree and encourage Sheriff Travis to continue on this path — we believe that high visibility of officers is one of the best ways to prevent crime. Plus, county residents who live outside of city boundary lines deserve to know — and see — that they are being protected.

Among the other highlights of Travis’ first months in office — he took over Jan. 1 — included the Drug Enforcement Unit helping to remove more than $9.7 million worth of drugs from the streets. Travis said some of the drugs confiscated included methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.

“This was a joint effort with the Drug Enforcement Administration; Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Federal Bureau of Investigation; and other area agencies,” Travis said. “You really have strength in numbers, and getting everyone to work together is what it’s all about.”

Travis also reiterated that he wants to promote from within — there’s no reason to go outside the department when there are deserving men and women already employed, he said.

County Judge Mary Horn liked that idea, and so do we. As Judge Horn said, Denton County has many employees who have served the county long and well, and as long as they are qualified, they should get first consideration.

We think it’s wise that Travis intends to utilize the talent available in the department — that’s one of the best ways to retain good personnel and ensure strong leadership in the ranks.

Like we said at the top — we like the sheriff’s approach, and we’ll be watching his follow-through. Travis told us he wants to provide as much transparency during his administration as possible, and we hope he means what he says.