BIG COUNTRY, Texas (BIGCOUNTRYHOMEPAGE) – On this week’s edition of Big Country Politics, News Director Manny Diaz spoke with Taylor County Sheriff Candidate Elias Carrasquillo.
Carrasquillo, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, later lived in Florida and has been in Abilene for about four years.
“Married to a beautiful born and raised Texan. We have five kids together. And they will have great careers – military to police careers. And our youngest is 15. My stepdaughter. She’s awesome. I moved to Abilene, Texas, when I retired from NYPD and Texas. I have two retirements. People asked me why Abilene, and I’m like, why not? This is great. People have integrity. People are nice. They still have respect for the police. And I would love to preserve the traditions here. Which they’re awesome,” Carrasquillo shared.
He spent 33 years in law enforcement and has worked undercover for the New York Police Department.
“I started as an EMT. I was an emergency medical technician for the New York City Fire Department. I was an attendant on the side for a Volunteer Ambulance Service. I always want to be a police officer. And I joined the NYPD New York City Police Department. Unfortunately, just when 9/11 happened, so I was there for 9/11. My first workday was 30 hours and sleeping 10 minutes shoulder to shoulder on city buses,” Carrasquillo recalled. “I was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency, which was working under the NYPD flag. Did a lot of counterterrorism work, a lot of intimate counterterrorism work physically with people who were potential terrorists and just provided intelligence for them… It was tough, but they (his family) supported it. My children supported me; my wife supported me. It was interesting work, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.”
He mentioned that his experience in New York, specifically during the 9/11 attacks, inspired him to become a better officer. He initially started his work in Florida as the Director of Security for C.I.E./Wannado Entertainment.
“I took a job as Director of Security initially. I did two and a half years with them. And it was great. It was C.I.E., which is the Corporation of International American Entertainment. It was a huge international company. I learned a lot there. I was upper echelon. So I learned about budgeting, you know, day-to-day operations. I had about 450 employees that I managed. So that taught me a lot being there, but I got the itch to go back to police work. So I joined the Sunrise Police Department, which is in the Fort Lauderdale area. The highlights there: I was also an undercover detective there for the Vice Intelligence Narcotics Unit. Loved that. And we would do major cases, we do one to 100-kilo deals, I would sit down just like this with cartel members and have dinner with them,” Carrasquillo shared. “But I changed over, and I became a master field training officer, which was the best thing I ever did. I love teaching. I love making sure that the new recruits coming in that I’m teaching know the old ways and how to do police work. And I’m bragging; I was the most sought-after field training officer in that department. My reputation extended to the Academy. And people, if people see me walking, Eli, please train me. You know, we heard about you, you know. So that was one of the most important things that I did there.”
Carrasquillo joined the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office, where he would like to introduce innovative community programs.
“During my time there, I noticed the potential for that department to be the best not only in the county but in Texas. So my heart went out for that because I love what I do. And I love dealing with the community. I love our kids. And I noticed that there were no programs for the children. Anywhere I go, and I speak in groups, I pull the audience. I say, ‘How many times have you brought your child to an interactive program at the sheriff’s office?’ Did somebody raise their hand? No, nobody raises their hand,” Carrasquillo explained. “For the children, I want a deputy explorer program that is going to be basically a mini Academy. It’d be one day a week, there will be a uniform. They’re going to learn stranger danger, drugs, and basic laws. They’re going to interact with our team members from other units, canine… you name it. We will do field trips to the courthouse and to colleges. It’s just expanding our minds. And we need to reach our children.”
Additionally, he is exploring the possibility of launching programs intended for adults, as well as those specifically tailored to individuals with dementia and autism.
“For the adults, why not a Citizens Academy? So I’m seeing all these things that are not there; they should be there. And they’re not. Citizens Academies for adults that are retired, they want to come volunteer, they’ll learn from us, they’ll get a range day, we’re going to allocate a patrol car with yellow lights. So they can patrol their neighborhoods if they want to. They’re going to help us with traffic. They’re gonna help us with events,” Carrasquillo added. “It’s going to be interactive. So I’m seeing that, I’m like, why not? Why isn’t it here, and then you talk about people that have developmental issues. Where are the programs for that? That’s our responsibility: deal with people with dementia who often get lost. Deal with people with autism. There are programs out there, like the Lifesaver program that I used to be a part of. They have bands with tracking devices, and upon the permission of the person in the family, we’ll have deputies with tracking devices whenever they go missing. Why not? Why don’t we have those programs?”
On Carrasquillo’s website, he discusses a number of issues that he is passionate about, including school safety.
“There’s schedules that we can implement to have more deputies out on the road, which will help us have school resource deputies in our schools; why not?” Carrasquillo said. “I won’t offer excuses why, oh, we haven’t. It’s gonna happen. It’s gonna happen. We’re gonna put deputies in each school. And that’s important to me. That’s number one priority is our schools, our children and safety, the community in general.”
He mentioned that he also intends to recruit additional deputies.
“We’re gonna get people, but there’s schedules that we can implement right now, though, to increase the patrol deputies, maybe by two or three. And I work there. So I know what I’m talking about. Some nights, that’s just two deputies for 806.9 square miles that we’re responsible for. 112.1 Abilene is responsible for. Two deputies in 806.9 square miles. If they got tied up in a bad call, there are no deputies patrolling the county, if they’re tied up on a call. So this schedule is things you can do, and units that I’m going to implement that will be out there doing what they got to do. For the safety of the community,” Carrasquillo said.
He emphasized the importance of treating employees well and pledged to prioritize this as a servant leader while also striving to increase pay.
“We’ll always try to increase pay. Absolutely. But you know, what’s more important is treating the employees the right way. That’s how you retain because the retention problem is not, oh, we don’t want to police work… It’s how you treat your employees; you have to be a servant leader. If you’re not, people are going to quit on you. If you don’t put their needs before yours. It’s not that I’m going to neglect mine as a sheriff, but you got to put them first; you got to put the community first and our children first. We have to involve the community in order to fight crime. If not, nothing’s going to happen. The community is well-intuned to everything that’s going on in their neighborhoods; we need them,” Carrasquillo expressed.
Carrasquillo has spoken with correctional officers at the jail in order to address the issue of understaffing.
“Last I heard, they were short 30. I know they hired a few recently, but they were short 30 correction officers. That’s what’s dangerous. Again, it’s how you treat your employees because this is me interviewing correction officers, who will remain nameless, obviously. They’re not happy because their briefings consist of beratings. Nothing positive in the briefings. And one of them told me I don’t know, Eli, when I come in. I don’t know if I’m gonna get fired that day or not. Because they just go at us at the jail. That’s the problem. It’s not pay; I could start every deputy at $35,000. But treat them the right way. They’ll break their backs for you. They’ll work for you. But it’s how you treat them. It’s not pay; I could go all day talking about pay and trying to impress them all. It’s not about that. I can guarantee you that when they vote me in, I’m not going to lose that one deputy, I can pretty much guarantee you that. Because of how you have to know how to treat your deputies and their needs.”
Visit his website for more information about Carrasquillo, his programs, and current issues in Taylor County.
“I just pray that you vote based on experience and what I can do for you, not based on tradition or I was born here. And that’s what I asked the community to do… to trust me.”