New Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan is off to an inauspicious start after making a terrible hire in his command staff.
Fagan has apparently appointed Sam Hayes Jr. as a captain over one of the sheriff’s office divisions.
Herald readers will remember Hayes because he ran and lost to incumbent Mike Beard for Precinct 1 constable in November.
They’ll also remember that Hayes had been disciplined at least 12 times by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office during his 28-year career.
The Herald warned its readers in October to think twice before voting for Hayes.
And for good reason.
As the Herald reported, his superiors at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office reprimanded him repeatedly for a large variety of policy violations, including dishonesty.
He’s also cost Harris County taxpayers thousands of dollars by crashing three patrol vehicles.
His failure as a jail supervisor helped lead to a $400,000 lawsuit filed against Harris County by an inmate who was found living in squalid conditions in his cell. Hayes was accused by his supervisors of “gross neglect of duty” in connection with his role in the scandal.
Disciplinary records reveal Hayes was reprimanded for “poor judgment,” “unprofessional behavior,” “demeanor unbecoming” and bringing shame to the sheriff’s department and fellow peace officers.
His supervisors questioned his honesty after they discovered he used county-owned vehicles to conduct personal business while on duty, took time off while on duty and at taxpayer expense, and campaigned for office while on duty.
Hayes was also scolded by his superiors for ignoring the victim of a crime and using his badge to settle personal scores against people he didn’t like.
Once, while off duty, he and some buddies got into an argument with the staff of a topless bar when the dancers took a break and the men were not reimbursed for their cover charge, according to one disciplinary report. The group invited staff members outside to fight, and later Hayes grabbed a firearm from his vehicle and chased a man through the club, the report stated. The public spectacle ended when Hayes knocked the man down, breaking his leg.
Houston police officers were called to the club and Hayes’ superiors later condemned him for his actions and embarrassing the sheriff’s department.
It’s amazing Hayes was allowed to keep his job in Harris County, much less anywhere in law enforcement.
Hayes is clearly a liability for Fort Bend County.
We had high hopes for Fagan, the first Black sheriff elected in Fort Bend County in 150 years since Walter Moses Burton, who was by all accounts highly regarded by people of all races for his integrity, honesty and common sense.
If Fagan hopes to follow in Burton’s footsteps, he’s off to a poor start.
Fagan is the sheriff. He can hire anyone he wants, even a friend.
But Hayes didn’t follow the policies at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Why would Fagan expect him to follow the policies at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office?
No wonder Fagan hasn’t released the names of his command staff yet.
It’s hard to fathom what Fagan was thinking. Voters expect him to have better judgment, and not hire a rogue cop to work on his command staff to supervise others.
Instead, Fagan is allowing Harris County to dump its trash in Fort Bend County.