By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun
Capt. Brett Latta’s many years of service to the Navarro County Sheriff’s Department was recognized Monday with a special award.
Latta was honored as the agency’s Employee of the Year at a departmental meeting held Monday at the Navarro County Courthouse. Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner presented Latta with the award as part of his annual meeting with deputies and employees of the agency.
Tanner said Latta’s efforts for the department and his contributions to the betterment of agency were among the reasons for Latta’s choice for the award.
“He is a consummate team player. He understands every aspect of the operations of the facility,” Tanner said.
Tanner credited Latta with providing assistance in all areas of the agency, not just those he is responsible for — going above and beyond to help with the day to day operations of the Sheriff’s Office.
“He does this on a daily basis, and I believe he should be recognized,” Tanner said in announcing Latta as the recipient.
Tanner noted the standing ovation Latta received as recognition of his service by his peers.
“What a testimony to your friends and your family to give that standing ovation to you, for what you mean to us and what you do for our agency,” Tanner said.
“We are a team,” Latta said. “We’ve got great team players.”
Latta praised the spirit of cooperation and support among the administration and various divisions in the office.
“I’m working with the best administrative staff I ever have at the Navarro County Sheriff’s Office,” Latta said.
During Monday’s meeting, Tanner shared an overview of major activities within the department during 2013, his first year as sheriff.
“You have one of the toughest jobs there is,” Tanner said of police work, noting that many times officers and law enforcement employees are faced with situations that most people aren’t.
He thanked the department’s employees for their support and service during the year, one that has seen manpower shortages in every division with the department.
Tanner has said the county’s pay scale for sheriff’s department employees lags behind those of other agencies in the area, and has been the cause of numerous resignations and affects efforts trying to attract new employees. He said the department had lost “hundreds of years of experience” as a result of employees leaving the sheriff’s office for other higher-paying jobs.
Monday he said efforts to address the pay scale are continuing.
“I think we will see progress,” the sheriff said, “but you can never be compensated enough for what you do.”
Despite the manpower shortages in jail operations, the facility has passed two inspections since Tanner took office in January 2013. Tanner said one of the inspectors from the state told him “For an older facility, this is the cleanest jail in Texas.”
Tanner also outlined several accomplishments made during the year, including security enhancement in the Justice Center, and savings to the taxpayers of the county through changes to the food service program and health care services for inmates.
Also recognized at Monday’s annual meeting of the department were accomplishments for perfect attendance and marksmanship, with recipients presented with certificates.
Bob Belcher may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: email@example.com