I just got word via social media that a great police officer and a courageous public servant is calling it a career in Randall County, Texas.
Sheriff Joel Richardson is retiring. A former Randall County district attorney, James Farren, has endorsed Chris Forbis to succeed him. I don’t know Forbis. I want to speak briefly about Richardson.
I wrote a blog more than 10 years about how Richardson stood up to take the heat when an inmate escaped from the county jail in south Amarillo. He said clearly it was no one’s fault but his own. Richardson didn’t toss any corrections officers under the proverbial bus. The inmate escaped from a “non-hardened” cell, crawled over the razor-wire fence, hitched a ride with a couple of fellows, who took him into Amarillo. The cops arrested the escapee later that evening.
The sheriff took the heat for the embarrassing incident. That’s what leaders do.
With that, I want to say it was my honor to know Sheriff Richardson during my years as a working journalist in the Texas Panhandle.
Here’s what I wrote in September 2009.