Updated: Sep 13
September 13, 2023
Jasper County Chief Deputy Scott Duncan has officially announced his candidacy for Jasper County Sheriff.
In a gathering of around 250 friends, family, and potential voters, Duncan and others spoke of his history in law enforcement as well as his personal and professional character. The event was held Tuesday evening at Magnolia Pavillion in Kirbyville.
Attendees were gifted signs, t-shirts, and ball caps showing their support for Duncan. They also enjoyed a meal while learning about the Republican candidate.
Before the event began, Duncan told ETB, "I just hope people see my heart. I feel like we've got a good start with the community and I hope to keep it going".
The first speaker of the evening was Reverend Rodney Norsworthy, who opened the meeting up with prayer. He then said a few words regarding Duncan's kindness and fairness which seemed to be an ongoing theme for the evening. Norsworthy stated, "Scotty Duncan kept me out of the penitentiary. A man shot my coon dog one night! Now I'm an ordained minister, but I had murder on my mind that night! But 'thanks to him' I didn't! You're my friend until the end!"
Jasper County Investigator Herb Kelly then spoke about his time working with Duncan as well as his character as a man. Kelly told the crowd that his history with Duncan has been memorable. Kelly said, "He was there with me when my son overdosed. He was right there with me from start to finish. Scotty Duncan is about family and this community. He knows what to do and he is going to continue to do it".
Current Jasper County Sheriff Mitchell Newman was next to speak. Newman said, "I'm here to introduce Scotty Duncan. He's going to be our next Sheriff if I have anything to do with it". Newman gave a list of Duncan's responsibilities at the department as well as some of his past and current accomplishments and said, "He is working in the jail every day, he handles the budget, and works with mental health. He, as far as I'm concerned, is the most well-rounded person for the job. We all know how easily mental health can become a crisis. During our last couple of years, we went through Covid. we had to do things that had never been done. We were the only ones who didn't work behind plexiglass. In doing that, we not only endangered our own lives but also the lives of our families. For years we have had four openings that we haven't been able to fill. There just wasn't a budget for it. 'Through it all', Scotty has been loyal and I think he should be rewarded for it."
Billy Bohannan was the emcee for the evening and also gave the crowd an overview of Duncan's accomplishments in both law enforcement and as a man of God. Bohannan said that Duncan's time in law enforcement began 21 years ago. His credentials range from Corrections Officer to Jailer, to Jasper County Deputy, to Investigator, Undercover Operations and Surveillance, to Narcotics Investigator, to his current position as Cheif Deputy. His training includes his Jailer License, his Peace Officer License, Special Investigations Certified, Special Weapons and Tactics or SWAT Certified, Regional Counter-Drug Training Academy, Active Shooter Response specifically in schools and churches. Also, Mental Health Officer, Terrorism Response, Crime Scene Investigations, Drug Abuse Awareness or DARE Program, Undercover operations and Surveillance among many others.
Finally, Duncan was up to speak.
Duncan said, "The biggest question I've been asked when I started all this is what is your agenda? Well, I can't say that I have an agenda because I've always been priority-minded. I don't do this for me. I don't do any of this for me". Then while fighting back tears, Duncan said, "I lost my Dad two years ago and this man" Motioning back to Sheriff Newman, "This man stepped in. I'm proud of my Sheriff and what he's accomplished. I've learned a lot from him. We've got a Sheriff who will go and sit with you through what you go through, that deserves loyalty and respect."
Duncan continued, "Folks I want to tell you, I'm not a politician, I'm just me." As for the department, Duncan said, "We have to retain the officers that we have on force". He continued by saying that you can train a Deputy to drive a patrol car, do a report, answer calls, etc. doesn't take much time, but building upon that is what he is working towards. Otherwise, as he puts it, that's just taxpayers' dollars going out the window. Retention is key.
"In my 21 years of doing this, trust is important. You've got to build that trust. Sheriff told me years ago, that when you see someone out mowing the yard or out working, stop. Talk to them. Get to know them and let them get to know you. That's what I'm trying to relay to our Deputies, build trust in our communities. Give them your cell phone number. Let them know that when they see something, they can trust you to call and tell you about it. When you hire a new Deputy, it costs $126,709 to put a new Deputy on the budget when all you really need to do is work on retention. We have a lot to build on and we need to keep that going".
Ducan said that when he was first hired on at Jasper County, Newman told him that it's not his job to be a boss, it's his job to be a leader. To make your folks better than they are, to take care of them and to surround them with good folks and they will turn around and take care of you. "So, my job as Chief Deputy, at the end of the day, everything is my fault. It's my fault if it's good and it's my fault if it's bad. It's all my responsibility. It's my job to take care of my people and to take care of your deputies and your jail staff. I don't know it all, but after 21 years I do know where to look for the answers. After 21 years, I've never done this for self-gratification or a pat on the back. I did it for you. It's a passion and there's a difference in having a calling on your life and a paycheck. There's a big difference.
Duncan went on to say, "My wife is my hero. She has stood by me through it all. I could have left for higher pay or fewer hours, but I didn't. I'm loyal. It's what I do and it's who I am. I'm loyal to my friends, I'm loyal to my family, and, not only is she the wife to a peace officer, she is also the wife to a fireman. Double whammy, but I couldn't do this without you! My goal is to take this current foundation of what this Sheriff has built and we've all put our blood, sweat, and tears into and we've got to continue that".
Duncan continued on regarding the youth of Jasper County. He admitted that there are times in a teen's life that they commit a crime, they could go to jail, but they aren't hardened criminals. "Maybe what they really need is to be taken to Mama and Daddy to face the consequences there. I can't stand here and tell you tonight that I deserve this because I don't. But I can tell you that I am a gentleman, and I will do my best to make you proud of me".
As the crowd dispersed, Duncan shook hands and hugged the necks of those present. Many tell him that he has their vote and others share stories of how Duncan has changed their lives in one way or another.
As the crowds cleared, Sheriff Newman was asked about his plans after retirement, he said jokingly, "To do whatever my wife tells me to!" He laughed and then said, "It's time to relax, go fishing, and spend time with the kids. What I'm going to miss the most are the people. They've become family."