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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

A look at candidates for Hays County Sheriff

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The position of Hays County Sheriff is up for election on March 5. The sheriff is the highest elected law enforcement official in the county and is also in charge of the Hays County Jail.

The sheriff is responsible for upholding the law in their county, enforcing court orders and presenting grand jury summons. Sheriffs also work to support local city police departments when necessary.

With current Sheriff Gary Cutler choosing not to run for reelection, multiple candidates are in the run for the position this year. The candidates on the Democratic primary ballots are Alex Villalobos and Daniel Law. The uncontested Republican candidate is Anthony Hipolito.

Anthony Hipolito, Republican candidate for sheriff

Hipolito’s law enforcement career began in 1998 with the Austin Police Department, where he worked until 2021. Hipolito now works for the Hays County Sheriff’s Department in community outreach.

Hipolito said growing up and working in law enforcement led to his desire to one day be sheriff and to protect and serve Hays County, where he grew up.

“I just felt it was best for me if I was able to serve [other law enforcement officers] and to ensure that they have a safe place to work,” Hipolito said.

As part of his role in community outreach, Hipolito has been working with schools to educate students on the dangers of Fentanyl and how to avoid it, something he plans to continue if elected.

Hipolito also said he must work to address manpower issues in the sheriff’s office, both with deputies and corrections officers. He plans to do this by working at job fairs and working with military institutions to find qualified candidates.

“I think it is important to work on how we retain people and find a way to continue to recruit,” Hipolito said.

Courtesy of Anthony Hipolito

Daniel Law, Democrat candidate for sheriff

Law began his career in law enforcement at the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office in 1989. He served as the sheriff for Caldwell County from 2001-20 and now works as a deputy constable for Hays County Precinct 1.

Law said he decided to run for Hays County sheriff to address issues in the community that he kept hearing about from community members, such as transferring inmates to other facilities and budgeting issues.

“I started getting a bunch of phone calls about problems. Instead of just listening, I decided to stick my nose in it,” Law said.

According to Law, he wants to implement educational and vocational services for inmates in the Hays County Jail to lower the rate at which previous inmates recommit crimes. He said a similar program he established in Caldwell County shows signs of success.

Having previously been the head of a 12-county Regional Narcotics Task Force, Law wants to use his experience to crack down on fentanyl in the county and mitigate its harmful impacts on children.

Law also plans to address the understaffing issues of the sheriff’s department by providing quality training, competitive hiring and employee compensation plans.

Courtesy of Daniel Law

Alex Villalobos, Democrat candidate for sheriff

Villalobos, the current Hays County Chief of Staff, is a former adjunct professor for criminal justice at Texas State, who previously served as a city councilmember for Kyle and ran for sheriff of Hays County in 2020, but lost to Cutler. He began his career in law enforcement with the Texas State University Police Department in 2009.

Villalobos said he chose to run for office because he previously encountered issues getting in touch with local government.

“A long time ago, as a new homeowner, I had to engage the government and the government did not allow me access to the resources that I needed,” Villalobos said.

Planning to create a strategic retention and recruitment plan to address understaffing in the sheriff’s department is a priority on Villalobos’ agenda. Paying higher wages to deputies and corrections officers is also a part of his plan.

As a former educator, schools and students are important to Villalobos, as he wants to partner with schools to increase education and awareness of the ongoing fentanyl crisis.

Courtesy of Alexander Villalobos

Early voting for the 2024 primaries has already started and runs through March 1. Primary Election Day is March 5. Voting locations and more information can be found on the Hays County Elections webpage.

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