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Huffman seeks sixth term as sheriff

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman has qualified to run for his sixth term as the head of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. Huffman was first elected as sheriff in 1994. -- Josh Bergeron

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman has qualified to run for his sixth term as the head of the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department. Huffman was first elected as sheriff in 1994. — Josh Bergeron

Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman is gearing up to run for his sixth straight term in office.

Huffman qualified for sheriff as a Democrat on the first day of qualifying, last Monday. As of Monday afternoon, o other candidates have qualified for Dallas County Sheriff.

In his time as sheriff, which dates back to the mid-90s, Huffman said the department has added a number of new personnel and made significant technological upgrades.

“When I first came in, I wanted to update the sheriff’s office with computers and new equipment; we have done a lot of that,” he said. “Now I oversee somewhere in the neighborhood of about 80 people. I think we have made a good amount of progress.”

The Dallas County Jail also underwent a major expansion in 2001, while Huffman was in office.

In his sixth term, he said continuing firearms training for Dallas County residents and expanding the Yellow Dot program are a few of his goals.

The Yellow Dot program allows emergency personnel to access critical information about a victim in a severe car crash. A yellow dot on the victim’s car alerts emergency personnel that basic health information is located in a yellow folder in the glove compartment. The folder includes emergency contract information, allergies, medication and any illnesses.

“It has worked out,” he said. “It provides the emergency personnel with important information and the only thing it costs the general public is about 15 minutes of their time.”

Huffman said expanding Project Lifesaver is another important goal, if he is successful in securing a sixth-straight term. The program allows a person with Alzheimers to wear a wristband that emits a signal that authorities can tap into if the person is lost.

With five terms under his belt, Huffman said he is unsure if a potential sixth term would be his last.

“I’ll be 60 years old in a few weeks and one more term would put me at 65,” he said. “Most people retire at 65; I’d like to. That’s one of those things that you have to play by ear.”

Huffman first ran for sheriff in 1994 but his law enforcement career spans several decades. After attending junior college, Huffman became an auxiliary police officer with the Selma Police Department. Soon after, former Sheriff Cotton Nichols hired Huffman as an identifications officer at the county jail.

Huffman worked his way up and eventually became a narcotics investigator with the sheriff’s department.

Though his interaction with Huffman mostly centers on budgetary and administrative matters, Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard spoke positively about Huffman’s time in office.

“I’ve never not voted for Harris Huffman for Sheriff,” Ballard said. “He has a good staff and runs his department well.”