Eric Fagan went to Prairie View A&M University, a college that was established in part by State Senator Walter Burton back in 1878.
Now Fagan has another attachment to Burton — They have both been elected sheriff in Fort Bend County.
Fagan’s win in Tuesday’s election helps him becomes the first African-American to become sheriff in Fort Bend County since Reconstruction, when Burton was elected in 1869.
“I’m excited and also pleased that Fort Bend County chose me to be their next sheriff,” Fagan said.
Hours after he clinched his win in Tuesday’s election, Fagan met with Fort Bend County Judge KP George on Thursday morning to welcome and congratulate Fagan for his historic win.
Fagan said that he will work to be a sheriff for the entire county and will put the politics aside when serving the people.
“I wasn’t elected to be the sheriff of Democrats or Republicans. I was elected to be the sheriff of all of Fort Bend County,” he said. “It’s important that we take advantage of the diversity that we have here in Fort Bend. This is a very diverse county, one of the most diverse in the country. And we must take advantage of that.”
George has been meeting with other winners of county races to congratulate them, but he was happy to talk and create a partnership with Fagan as the county’s top officials are minorities in a majority-minority county.
“I’m very excited to have someone that I can communicate with, someone who understands me and I understand him,” George said.
George never mentioned Sheriff Troy Nehls by name but the two didn’t talk to each other much and often clashed on issues.
“I will work very closely with (Fagan) because Eric’s success is my success. And the citizens of Fort Bend County are our customers, and we have an obligation to support them.”
George also hopes that he, Fagan and county district attorney Brian Middleton can be able to work together on several issues with law enforcement and working with the community.
“There is so much we can do together for the future of the county,” George said.
Fagan, a Democrat, beat Precinct 3 Constable Trever Nehls, the Republican candidate, 52.6% to 47.4%.
Fagan, a former Houston police officer and president of the African American Police Officers League, ran on a more progressive platform of how to run the sheriff’s department, including more communication with younger citizens, hiring more minorities on the force and putting body cameras on deputies when in the field.
“At the sheriff’s department right now, the command staff doesn’t look like the community that we serve,” Fagan said. “And I want to change that.”
Fagan will replace Troy Nehls in Janary as Nehls won his race to be elected into the U.S. House of Representatives.
Trever Nehls looked to walk in his brother’s footsteps and be elected sheriff after Troy announced his run for Congress. But Trever came up short in his effort.
Fagan ran on promising a more progressive platform for law enforcement in the county, including more dialogue with millennials and young people about how law enforcement can help in the community.
Nehls, like his brother in his Congressional race, tried to parlay his name recognition and community ties to keep the sheriff position in the family. But unlike Troy’s race, Trever had to run in all of Fort Bend County, which has become younger and culturally diverse and trending more progressive.
The position as Fort Bend County Sheriff has a yearly salary of $145,268 per year.