Saenz has 19 years in law, 10 with sheriff's department

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Enrique Saenz said that more community policing and implementing a citizen's patrol would be on top of his priority list if he were elected sheriff.

Saenz is vying for the spot against incumbent Sheriff Oscar Lopez and Narciso Gonzalez.

"We need to interact with the community, you need to create that bond of trust with the citizens and right now it's wavering a little bit," Saenz said. "There has to be an active partnership in patrols. (Citizens Patrol) provides an extra visible patrol and it's free to the taxpayers."

Saenz said that with a GPS system already in place in the deputies' vehicles, it would be easy to pinpoint areas that are having crimes committed such as burglaries and upscale patrols with deputies and volunteer citizens.

"It's like any marketing plan," he said.

Saenz's other ideas include providing a Web page for the sheriff's department to distribute information and educate the residents about the department.

"It's to get public information to the public," he said. "There are a lot of things you can do on the Web page."

Saenz mentioned having a sex offender link, information about crime prevention programs and a Crime Stoppers link.

He said juvenile outreach programs need to be initiated to keep youths out of facilities.

"We can point these juveniles in the right direction by (the department) being more involved with gang prevention, we may be able to turn some away," he said.

To assist residents and juveniles in the outlying areas, Saenz said he would implement resident deputies to stay in the smaller communities such as Premont and Orange Grove.

He said another issue on his list is getting the sheriff's department the academy license they lost to train the deputies here locally.

"You've got people in the department with the training, so utilize them," he said. "I'm very big on training, especially if we can save taxpayers money."

He said currently, the deputies are sent out of town for training and that costs overtime money and lost of work time because they have to travel elsewhere.

Time management is important to Saenz and he expressed the need to have deputies' input their reports straight into a computer from their vehicles instead of going back into the office to file a report.

"I think there's a lot of room for improvement," Saenz said. "I think I'm a good candidate, I've been there, I came from there and I've seen it and know what direction it needs to go."

Saenz has been married to Maria "Toni" Saenz for 11 years and they have five children and one granddaughter.

Saenz has 19 years experience in law enforcement in the county including eight years with the Premont Police Department where he started in 1989 and worked up as a K-9 handler in the narcotics division. He worked with the sheriff's department for 10 years since 1997 and was the highest- ranking captain, and recently moved to the Alice Police Department.

"I've been here all the time and I know the people," he said. "I handled all the major crimes, all the internal incidents and jail incidents."