Hunt County Officials Question Sheriff’s Use Of Deputies During Storm

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News

GREENVILLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Two Hunt County officials continue to raise concerns that Sheriff Randy Meeks inappropriately dispatched his deputies to help save furniture in his home from rising flood waters while many residents requested emergency assistance during a severe storm in May 2009.

“Anytime there is concern or any question on an elected official of impropriety, I take the information and forward that information to appropriate parties,” said County Judge John Horn.

On May 2, 2009, severe weather hit Greenville in Hunt County, about 50 miles northeast of Dallas. Emergency phone calls from that day describe water pouring into stranded vehicles and snapped power lines causing sparks to shoot in the air.

“There’s a van hydroplaned in the ditch and there’s water, like, halfway up over the van,” one caller reported.

“Over here at our house, it’s sparking,” another caller said. “The tree limbs fell on our power line!”

During the storm, Meeks’ wife called 911 about water surging into her home.

“I know you guys are very busy,” she told the dispatcher. “This is the sheriff’s wife. We’re trying to sweep it out, but it keeps coming.”

Her emergency? Water was creeping toward her and her husband’s furniture. After the dispatcher tells her the department is “super, super, super busy right now,” Meeks’ wife reportedly took the matter into her own hands.

“We’re going to call and see if we can get some of the deputies maybe to come and help us,” she said then.

Phone records show that Meeks himself then called the dispatcher, told them his home was flooding and requested that any nearby deputies be rerouted to his house to help.

“We’re gonna have to move some furniture,” Meeks told the dispatcher.

The responding deputy got stuck in high water on the way, and much of the interior of his patrol car was damaged. An insurance claim would later net about $8,000 to go toward fixing it.

A jailer was sent to help the flooded deputy, and multiple other jailers were ordered to help Meeks move his furniture, a source said, adding that that Meeks’ request was uncommon among Hunt County officials.

“Not to my knowledge [is it a norm],” Horn said.

Meeks could not be reached for comment.

Horn found out about the situation after seeing the insurance claim for the damaged cruiser.

“Anytime that a government official – whether it be county, city or state – uses government equipment or employees for personal gain, that’s not authorized and is illegal under state statutes,” said Richard Hill, director of homeland security and emergency management in Hunt County.

Hill, who lost the sheriff’s election to Meeks in 2008, said he was monitoring the storms that night and said what happened at the sheriff’s home did not warrant emergency services.

Nobie Walker, the county’s District Attorney, said he received information about what occurred at the home, but that the evidence present would not sustain a criminal prosecution.

Hill, however, maintains that Meeks inappropriately used the county to help save his belongings.

“To my knowledge, that wasn’t done for any [other] private residence,” Hill said.

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  • Jeremy Wilson

    John Horn and his buddy Richard Hill told Mr. Meeks they would make him wish he hadn’t won the election. They are constantly giving him trouble and feeding lies to the “Reporter” at the Herald Banner. The reporter just prints what they tell him and never seems to check the information before he prints it.

  • WesternSky

    I totally agree with Mr. Wilson. And want to add this is another one of CBS11 News half truth and twisted facts story attempting to sensationalize a non-story to sell print. Arezow Doost needs to reprimanded at the least and fired for this shabby piece of reporting.
    Sheriff Meeks is one of the most upstanding citizens in Hunt County. Commissioner Horn and defeated sheriff opponent are mud-slinging good ole boyz that are posturing for the next election.
    Your “legal analyst” is even a bigger joke.

  • sleeper

    meeks is a very bad sheriff, he doesn’t give a dang about whats leagal or not, he scrounges for money from people & makes his officers do manual labor for his wife instead of helping citizens w/ flooding, then the car he sends can’t get there due to flooding so he sends another!

  • Ricky sanders

    I have a word of advice for channel 11 news in the future, you need to make sure your sources are credible or complete liers. The reporter didn’t even try to report both sides of the story.

  • Ricky Sanders

    Here is a word for someone called sleeper, how can anyone be taken serous if you are to chicken to give your real name.Sheriff Randy Meeks has done more for Hunt County Than any Sheriff in 40 years. And I am easy to find.

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