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Ledbetter responds to traffic division plank

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WAXAHACHIE – James Ledbetter’s call for a traffic division at the sheriff’s office has opened up spirited debate online and at political gatherings.

"As we grow in this county, the sheriff’s office needs to grow as well," Ledbetter said.

"We now have people living in this county in rural areas [and] just like small towns, they deserve coverage as well.

"The traffic division serves as more than one purpose.

"The idea of the traffic division is this, the people that will work the traffic division are deputies and they will be trained to work accidents, enforce traffic laws in the small towns in rural areas that I referred to.

"There are a lot of kids that play in these areas," said Ledbetter, a candidate for sheriff two previous times as a Democrat.

"There are a lot of speeders and people that pass school buses without ever thinking of what could happen.

"Just a short time ago, two boys were run over near Venus, one almost killed.

"These traffic officers would also work school zones in towns that have no police department and assist with any other towns that needed help as well.

"I intend also for these units to assist with calls, and patrol rural areas when not on a traffic call, they are deputies assigned to a traffic division, working for the people of Ellis County."

Ledbetter said he was looking at citizens’ welfare and pointed to more highly populated areas like Dallas and Tarrant counties.

"If you choose not to like the Traffic Division, it’s ok for you to think of them as deputies doing some traffic work, in any event there are very many [tasks] they need to perform and many citizens that are awaiting their help," he said.

Some supporters of his opponent, Johnny Brown, said they view the traffic division plank of Ledbetter’s platform as growing county government, the antithesis to Republican ideology.

"This is only the tip of the iceberg," Ledbetter said. "I have seen this county grow as I have been a part of the law enforcement process for over 31 years in this county, and a lifetime resident. It is hard for me to see that some people that have moved in this county in the last very few years to know and understand about how fast we are growing and the special needs we have."

Ledbetter, however, said he is taking the politics out of the decision.

"Please look at this from a standpoint of how we are growing," Ledbetter said. "We don’t have enough deputies now to take care of our needs. We constantly run short and behind of what we could do just for that reason. We many times have to pull deputies and investigators to take care of problems that arise, and leave areas open that need to be covered short handed. This is just one of many reasons that division would be beneficial to us all."

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