Friday, February 17, 2012

McNamara tells officers he's against private jails

Candidate vows to take no corporate pay
Jailers, deputies reach new plateau with candidate

Bosqueville – Parnell McNamara assured deputies and police alike in a private meet and greet co-hosted by the McLennan County Sheriff's Officer Association and the Waco Police Association that he is against privatization of the county jail.

His reasoning: “It is wrong to make a profit off someone's demise.”

There you have it.

A lawman descended from generations of lawmen who is retired from 30 years' service as a Deputy U.S. Marshal, he can think of nothing worse than to be charged with a criminal offense and to be jailed for that reason.

To be convicted is a circumstance to be described as nothing less than a tragedy. His choice of words regarding such a set of affairs in the life of a man or woman is, simply, their demise.

To turn the ministerial duty of detention of inmates awaiting trial, transport to the penitentiary, or the arrangement of their bail after being charged with a crime is something for which there can be no justification.

His words: “It's a public commitment, not a private commitment, and it's just wrong.”

Furthermore, he assured the large crowd of jailers, patrol deputies, police officers, detectives and police administrators who crowded into the Bosqueville Community Center Wednesday evening that when he is elected Sheriff of McLennan County, he will accept no stipend for inspecting or administering or supervising the work of a private corporation that is contracting to perform the duties to which the County Sheriff is assigned as a Constitutional officer of the State of Texas.

Sheriff Larry Lynch, who is retiring at the end of his current term, has been paid just such a stipend by CEC, Inc., private operator of both the Jack Harwell Detention Center on Highway 6 and the downtown Courthouse Annex lockup. It amounts to $12,000 per year at $1,000 per month, a stipend paid as part of his salary to write reports and make inspections of the jails operated by CEC, or Community Education Centers, a New Jersey corporation.

Sheriff Lynch has not been doing that task. Public information act requests for copies of his reports have yielded no result, only the reply that no such reports exist.

In fact, earlier this year the U.S. Bureau of Prisons transferred nearly 100 prisoners of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security to a private facility near the Williamson County community of Hutto near Taylor.

Substandard sanitary conditions involving the flooding of cells with human excrement and faulty health care administration in which inmates' requests for medical attention were the reasons given by federal inspectors who made the evaluation of the CEC administration of the Jack Harwell Detention Center.

Marshal McNamara plans to be a working sheriff, he told the officers, dividing his time between the divisions of the 300-man and woman department the way a football coach supervises and trains his squad. The Chief Deputy will serve as the offensive/defensive coordinator, the division captains as squad leaders, the rank and file of the department as blockers, tacklers, pulling guards, linebackers, running backs and receivers.

No one can do a good job if the basics are not performed with precision and the conditions are not met with excellence, he explained.

No one will be fired as a result of his election. All are necessary to make the organization, a department with a budget that rivals any corporation's and a roster of highly trained professionals that compares with any military unit.

Does he pack the gear to get the job done?

Brad Skaggs, the political action committee chairman of the Waco Police Association, which endorsed Marshal McNamara early in the campaign, reminded the throng that for fully half his 30-year career, he was the officer in charge of the Waco Division of the Western District of the U.S. Marshal's Service, which makes its headquarters in San Antonio.

The area served by the Waco office includes more than a dozen counties spread out all over central and west Texas.

One fond duty he plans to carry out will be attendance at the regular Commissioners Court meetings with the supervising captains of each division of the Sheriff's Department. Another will be attendance and testimony before legislative committees at Austin.

As the meeting broke up, an idle remark by Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT) organizer Ken Witt, who also works as a corrections officer at the McLennan County Jail, brought the house down with laughter.

“Now, if we could only get him to buy each and every one of us a pair of cowboy boots and a hat, we'd have it made.”

Tomorrow: An examination of the ministerial duties of Texas Sheriff's departments as prescribed by the Texas Constitution.

On the weekend: Guarantees in the U.S. and Texas Constitutions that allow citizens, deputies, police and all other servants of the public the rights of expression, association and redress of grievances as a natural course of human affairs.


  1. So does this mean that Plemons will still have a job.

  2. I believe McNamara stated that he was going to be surrounding his top officers with good experienced people and that no one who is doing a good job would be fired. Considering the private jail can't meet standards even with Plemons supposedly doing weekly walk-throughs, the jail releasing mistakenly releasing federal prisoners and then lying about it, spending $2.5 million dollars on remodeling a vacant building while not being able to replace radios that are as old as many of the deputies that use them, Plemons having no street experience and his poor performance as an administrator; I'm going to say that unless he's willing to gain the actual experience to go with all the training he's milked the county for and hasn't used, he probably won't still have a job. Perhaps if he'd actually gone to the FBI Academy he claims to have gone to in his campaign ads, but he has less actual law enforcement experience then many of the jailers, who's jobs he's tried to give away.

  3. The way that the Mclennan County jail is run is a joke. McNamara will get it straightened out. Don't get me wrong though, there are a lot of good guys down there. But there are some that abuse their power. Mainly those guys that are higher up on the totem pole if you know what I mean.