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Lupe Valdez

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Lupe Valdez is an American law enforcement official and the Sheriff of Dallas County, Texas. She is Texas's only elected female sheriff, as well as being the only openly lesbian holder of that office.[1]

Early lifeEdit

Born to migrant farm worker parents, she was raised in San Antonio as one of eight children. She started life working in the fields, but paid her way through college[citation needed], earning a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration. She then earned a Master's degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Arlington.

CareerEdit

Prior to entering law enforcement, Lupe Valdez was an officer in the United States Army. During her time in the Army, she attained the rank of Captain.

Her law enforcement career began as a jailer, first in a county jail and then a federal prison. She then moved on to investigative roles as an agent of the General Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and, finally, the U.S. Customs Service where she was a leader in the federal Counter Smuggling Initiative. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, she was made a Senior Agent, serving in that role until her retirement in 2004. In January 2004, Lupe Valdez retired to run for the office of Dallas County Sheriff.

Election as SheriffEdit

On January 2, 2004, Lupe Valdez announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Dallas County Sheriff. During the primary election, she faced three opponents, and finished as the highest vote-getter with 13,867 votes. She subsequently won a run-off election against future Dallas County Judge Jim Foster. Valdez won 73% of the vote in the run-off.

As she entered the general campaign, Valdez was widely considered the underdog in her general election race against Republican Danny Chandler. Chandler, a 30-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, had defeated incumbent Sheriff Jim Bowles in the Republican primary. Bowles, who was tainted by corruption allegations, had held the office for 20 years.

The general election saw Valdez beat Chandler by 51.3% to 48.7% - a margin of some 18,000 votes. The election, combined with the fact that Valdez is female, Hispanic and a lesbian, made national headlines and was even reported overseas.

As an openly gay candidate for public office, Valdez's campaign won the backing of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. She was sworn in on January 1, 2005.

Valdez is a committed Christian, and formerly attended the pro-gay Cathedral of Hope of Greater Dallas.

Upon taking office as Dallas County Sheriff, Valdez faced a department that was wracked by poor morale, tainted by allegations of corruption and marred by the fact that the Dallas County Jail had begun failing state and federal inspections prior to her election. The jail had failed inspections because of poor sanitation conditions, a failing smoke evacuation system, unacceptable medical care, and a lack of sufficient guards to meet the legally-required guard-to-inmate ratio.

The Dallas County Jail has continued to fail inspections every year that Valdez has been in office.

ControversyEdit

Sheriff Valdez's tenure has been marked by a number of controversies.

Areas of criticism in the press have included:

  • Allegedly poor communications inside the department, with county officials, and with the press.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
  • Dallas County jails still failing state inspections[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17], though with improving levels of compliance at least partly due to Dallas County spending "millions" to improve sanitation and jail health.[18]
  • Declining arrest rates for driving while intoxicated and alleged disproportionate DWI arrests of Hispanics.[19][20][20]
  • High levels of overtime.[19][5][21][13][22][23][24]
  • Using trainee jail guards in the jails.[25]
  • Taking 2 years to successfully pass her Texas Peace Officer Certification examination after being elected.[6]
  • Engaging in campaign activities while in uniform.[26][8]
  • Grant applications management controversies.[27]
  • Failing to update promotion lists via testing, and promoting some staff without currently valid lists.[28]
  • Allowing some deputies to use take-home cars outside county Commissioners' Court-approved guidelines.[29][30]
  • Violating "long-standing policy" in Dallas County, which was upheld by a state district judge[31], by authorizing the Discovery Channel to film a documentary without gaining required Commissioner Court permission.[18] This prompted the Commissioners Court to unanimously seek[32] (and ultimately get[33]) a restraining order against the Sheriff. The Dallas Morning News editorial board criticized the Sheriff's handling of the matter: "the positive publicity from finally meeting state standards would have been superior to that of a cable documentary and an unnecessary fight with those who hold her purse strings."[34] The legal costs to the county could be as high as $11,000.[31]
  • A July 15, 2008 news conference where the National Latino Peace Officers Association, Dallas County Peace Officers Association, Dallas County Sheriff's Association and Fraternal Order of Police, frustrated because Sheriff Valdez "repeatedly refused to meet" with them over labor issues, "blasted [Sheriff Valdez] for lack of leadership and inaction during [Dallas County's fiscal year 2009] budget crisis," further alleging that Valdez's leadership has "led to a historic low in morale and an 'overwhelming view of no confidence within our ranks.'"[35]

2008 re-election campaignEdit

Sheriff Valdez formally filed for re-election to a second term on December 3, 2007.[36]

She faced criticism from her opponents[37] and the Dallas Morning News[38].

Valdez won the 2008 primary, narrowly avoiding a runoff by winning 50.85% in a four-candidate field on March 4, 2008.[39]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Blotcher, Jay. Dallas Gets Lesbian Sheriff, The Advocate (December 7, 2004). Retrieved on May 17, 2007.
  2. Dallas - News - Sheriff Who? Dallas - News - Sheriff Who?]
  3. Dallas County jailers, deputies to get holiday meal after all | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas News Dallas County jailers, deputies to get holiday meal after all | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas News]
  4. JAMES RAGLAND | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas-Fort Worth Politics | The Dallas Morning News
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dallas - News - Gravy Train Dallas - News - Gravy Train]
  6. 6.0 6.1 Unfair Park - Exclusive: Sheriff Lupe Ain't a Good Test-Taker Unfair Park - Exclusive: Sheriff Lupe Ain't a Good Test-Taker] Unfair Park - Exclusive: Sheriff Lupe Ain't a Good Test-Taker]
  7. Dallas - News - Sheriff Who? Dallas - News - Sheriff Who?]4
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dallas County Sheriff Valdez accused of campaigning in county buildings | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas-Fort Worth Politics | The Dallas Morning News Dallas County Sheriff Valdez accused of campaigning in county buildings | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas-Fort Worth Politics | The Dallas Morning News]
  9. Dallas - News - Sheriff Who? Dallas - News - Sheriff Who?]2
  10. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez gets a jump on re-election bid | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas-Fort Worth Politics | The Dallas Morning News
  11. Editorial: What happened to 'change'? | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Editorials
  12. Dallas County jail fails fifth straight inspection | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News
  13. 13.0 13.1 Jail reform a hot topic among Democrats running for Dallas County sheriff | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News Jail reform a hot topic among Democrats running for Dallas County sheriff | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News]
  14. State review: Dallas County Jail no better | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas News
  15. Dallas County approves order for jail improvements | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
  16. Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas-Fort Worth Politics | The Dallas Morning News
  17. Jail bill targets Dallas | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Texas Legislature
  18. 18.0 18.1 Dallas County jail filming upsets some commissioners | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
  19. 19.0 19.1 Dallas - News - Sheriff Who? Dallas - News - Sheriff Who?]5
  20. 20.0 20.1 Deputies getting little use from mobile rig in DWI fight | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News Deputies getting little use from mobile rig in DWI fight | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News]
  21. Dallas County sheriff battles commissioner over overtime report | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas-Fort Worth Politics | The Dallas Morning News
  22. Overtime bill at Dallas jails tops $9 million | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
  23. Dallas County OKs raising tax rate 6.6% | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
  24. Dallas County jail OT still running into millions | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
  25. New jailers work without training | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Front Page Stories
  26. Hits and Misses | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Editorials
  27. Dallas Sheriff says grant writer did better than was reported | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
  28. Promotions made without using list | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
  29. Sheriff targeting car policy | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
  30. Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News
  31. 31.0 31.1 Dallas County taxpayers shelled out at least $5,800 in legal fight over jail filming | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dal...
  32. Judge to rule today in battle over filming at Dallas County jail | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News
  33. TV crew's departure a lucky break for Sheriff Lupe Valdez | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Columnist James Ragland | Dallas-Fort Worth News
  34. Editorial: Sheriff picks unnecessary fight | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Editorials
  35. Dallas County sheriff Valdez to meet with employee associations over worker concerns | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dal...
  36. http://www.lupevaldez.com/media/filing2.html announcement speech
  37. Dallas county sheriff Valdez gets ready for nasty fight | pegasusnews.com | Dallas / Fort Worth
  38. We Recommend | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Opinion: Editorials
  39. ENR

External linksEdit

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