COLUMN: About the ECSO Judicial Division

Submitted photo.
Ellis County Sheriff Johnny Brown.

At the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office, our Civil Division encompasses several divisions, one of which is the Judicial Division, which consists of deputy sheriffs who are assigned to court security and bailiff duties at both the historic Ellis County Courthouse and our newer Courts and Administration Building.

We’re very proud of our Judicial Division: All of them have a minimum of 15 years of experience in law enforcement, with the majority of them having more than 20 years of experience. This is important because our courthouse security and bailiffs are able to put their years of experience in working with people under mostly stressful conditions to use in an environment that is, itself, often stressful for the people who have to be there.

You might catch our deputies in a less-busy moment and they’ll joke with you they’re there to “retire,” but don’t be fooled by their quiet demeanor. These seasoned men and women are just as prepared to respond as any other deputy – and they do, whether it’s addressing a scuffle outside of a courtroom or an irate citizen who’s upset about the new vehicle registration/inspection law over in the Tax Office part of the building. And their experience is especially noticed when handling those court days where someone’s on trial who may have nothing left to lose.

Your Sheriff’s Office has a minimum of 10 deputies assigned to its Judicial Division, which is overseen by a lieutenant and a sergeant. These deputies work between the two courthouses and more are brought in when there are special circumstances, such as a high-profile trial in one of the district courts. As you know, the majority of our courts are located at the Courts and Administration Building, including all three district courts (40th, 378th and 443rd) and our two county courts at law (Nos. 1 and 2). Our historic courthouse houses JP Court Pct. 3, our County Commissioners Court and, on occasion, additional court cases and proceedings that need an available courtroom.

As part of their responsibilities, our deputies operate the X-ray machine and metal detectors – and they’re running about 500 screenings a day on average. When jury summonses have been issued, that number can exceed 1,100 screenings in one day’s time. We’d like to remind people to check their pockets and bags before they come in for screening. No weapons are allowed; that also goes for contraband. Our deputies will confiscate drugs, guns, knives and other contraband; they will make arrests.

From screening for weapons to maintaining courtroom decorum, these are all part of what your Sheriff’s Office provides as essential public safety and law enforcement services. We have our deputies there to ensure that our court environments are safe and secure for everyone involved, from the judiciary to the jury, court support staff and you, the community we serve.

As always, the Sheriff’s Office asks that you keep our military and service personnel in our thoughts and prayers. We enjoy all of our rights and freedoms because of their service and safekeeping of our great nation. Y’all have a Blessed Week from your Sheriff’s Office.