He was first elected in November, 2000, and reelected in 2004 and 2008 by wide margins. In those races, he ran as a Democrat. In the March primary, he will be on the Republican ticket.
He worked as a deputy in the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office from 1983 to 1997, and worked for the Juvenile Probation Office from 1997 to 2000.
“It is with honor and great respect that I announce my campaign for reelection,” he said, “but it is with deep regret that I have to file for reelection while under indictment for a politically motivated charge.”
He was indicted on a misdemeanor charge in late December, 2010, in connection with a man who put duct tape over his mouth being removed from a meeting of the Upshur County Commissioners Court. Judge Dean Fowler and Pct. 3 Comm. Lloyd Crabtree were also indicted on related misdemeanor charges.
Betterton reviewed a long list of achievements since he took office.
He said his first goal upon taking office was to establish a Criminal Investigation Division (CID) within the Sheriff’s Office.
“We now have five full-time investigators to investigate homicides, aggravated sexual assault of children, burglaries, thefts, drug crimes, and a multitude of other offenses,” he said.
“The division has cleared hundreds of burglaries and recovered tens of thousands worth of property,” Betterton said.
One man who committed hundreds of burglaries in Upshur and other counties is serving a life sentence as a habitual criminal, and another burglar who impersonated a police office was caught “due to the hard work and long hours put in by the investigators.”
One investigator is assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Service to assist in apprehending fugitives throughout Northeast Texas, he said.
Due to the association with the Marshal’s Service, the Sheriff’s Office had a 2010 truck assigned to it at no cost to the taxpayers, Betterton said. “It is used to apprehend criminals.”
One investigator has custody of an accelerant-sniffing dog, Nina, and helped investigator the rash of 13 church fires in Smith and Van Zandt counties, he said. They also assist the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Texas Rangers and other law enforcement agencies, he added.
One investigator is assigned to the Auto Theft Task Force, headed up by the Department of Public Safety, working 14 counties in Northeast Texas.
Betterton said that the department has a Patrol Division that is “top notch in Northeast Texas.”
He said they have the most up-to-date equipment to serve the people of the county.
He also implemented a 16-week training program for new deputies, and “they receive extensive training in all aspects of street patrol.”
They also get “school active shooting training,” to be able to handle problems where terroristic incidents may occur on school grounds.
Four officers are assigned to schools in Gilmer and surrounding areas.
The department also has a Narcotics Division, with three investigators assigned to a DEA task force.
They also work closely with the FBI. Since the division began two years ago, 316 drug-related arrests have been made, and thousands of dollars in cash and property have been seized.
Three deputies are assigned to security at the courthouse and Justice Center, and also justices of the peace when needed.
There are currently 79 employees in the Sheriff’s Office. These include the three courtroom deputies, 19 on street patrol, the five investigators, the four assigned to schools, 26 jailers and others in the jail, ten dispatchers, and support personnel.
Betterton said he has solicited as many grants as possible to save the taxpayers money. Also, his program of housing out-of-county prisoners made it possible to pay off the new jail in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. He said that housing those prisoners helped offset the burden on the taxpayers.
“I want to thank those that supported me in my first, second and third campaigns for sheriff, and ask those support in this campaign,” he said.
“I want to get past the legal issues, and once again stand tall and proud, and continue serving with the great respect for the people and pride we’ve shown since I took office in 2001. I ask for your vote and support in the March Republican primary.”