About the Galveston
County Sheriff’s Office
According to the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, “Galveston
County was formed by an act of the Congress of the Republic of Texas on May 15, 1838. Under that act, William
F. Wilson was appointed the County’s first Sheriff. One of his first acts was to establish a county
jail, which was placed in the Elbe, a vessel beached during a hurricane in 1837.
In 1841, the newly-elected Sheriff,
H. M. Smythe, took office. Soon thereafter, Texas President David Burnet appointed a judge, Thomas Johnson,
to serve in the 1st Judicial District but did not remove Judge Shelby from the bench. Recognizing Judge
Johnson as the true judge, Sheriff Smythe found himself trying to perform his duties alongside another Sheriff, William Herring.
There is no known record of any other county in Texas that had two sheriffs in office at the same time.
The matter was soon corrected, and Sheriff Smythe remained in office until 1844.”
Today, the Galveston County Sheriff’s
Office is a full-service law enforcement agency that is organized into three bureaus: Law Enforcement; Corrections; and, Support
According to the current sheriff of
Galveston County, “Over the years the agency has increased in size to more than 300 regular and reserve deputies. Under
Sheriff Poor's command the deputies have the opportunity to expand their careers and challenge their talents in more than
a dozen operational divisions including Administration, Civil Process, Corrections, Communications, Criminal Investigations,
Identification, Marine, Mental Health Patrol, Reserve, Training, and Warrant's. Operating and maintaining the county jail
is one of the most important constitutionally-mandated duties of the Sheriff. A steady growth in inmate
population impacts the agency and the county as a whole, as we do our best to provide more with less. As we move further in
to the 21st century pro-active law enforcement which includes more training and education for deputies will continue to be
one of the critical personnel areas ensuring our agency is run effectively, efficiently, and safely.”