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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 30 years."


 

She was young, African American, a single mother, and a veteran of the Gulf War. She had a high school diploma, some college, and very strong family ties. She grew up in Needville where most of her family still lives. Her mother was a nurse at the Fort Bend County jail, so she naturally gravitated to that type of job when she got out of the Army.

She worked at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s department for six years without incident. She did her job and was happy there. The work paid enough to support her son and she got along well with peers and inmates alike.

Her trouble didn’t really start when Tarah Hamilton, who was sent back to jail after failing to meet probation for vehicular homicide, was made a trusty at the jail.

Although she was in charge of “hiring” inmates for work duty, she wasn’t even concerned when she returned to work after the weekend and found Hamilton ensconced as a trusty. She said Hamilton would normally be refused trustee status because of a foot injury, but she was told this was a “special” case for the Sheriff and to keep her mouth shut.

Little did she know that the Sheriff had taken thousands of dollars from Hamilton’s father deposited to his campaign account. And little did she know that Tarah’s father was himself a former prisoner of the federal penal system.

She knew things were different at the Fort Bend County sheriff’s department as she watched a couple of the female guards as they spent their hours at the jail when they were supposed to be supervising prisoners fixing each other’s hair and playing with their make-up. This duo was the daughter of the then Jail Captain and his girlfriend. They were exempt from rules.

Things were also different when the chief deputy had a relationship with one of the other jailers and spent an inordinate amount of time with her, eventually marrying her and fathering her child. His soon-to-be wife was “best friends” with Tarah Hamilton.

Hamilton told the jailer who is the subject of this story that the chief deputy was going to let her go to a family reunion one weekend. She was often allowed to go to the sheriff’s office and use the telephone. She also visited her father often in the sheriff’s personal office.

Unbeknownst to our friend, Hamilton senior was also running the “full employment” office for Fort Bend deputies under the auspices of the local Texas Ranger Jeff Cook. Cook was in charge of setting up the special detail of off-duty deputies who worked private security at the Hamilton home. Association with a felon is against the policy of about every police agency in the world.

However, when the Star started writing about the special conditions enjoyed by Tarah Hamilton at the Fort Bend County jail, the hunt was on to find the media leak and our little female African American single mother was singled out for a lie detector test, given in Harris County by a friend of the Sheriff’s department. She was put into the back seat of a county car and driven by jail major James Leach to the Harris County Sheriff’s department where the test was administered. Think of the time and equipment wasted on that fool’s errand. No one from the Star had ever talked to her and since Chief Deputy Craig Brady and Sheriff Milton Wright couldn’t prove that, they fired her for possessing a confidential document. “I know what a confidential document looks like and I didn’t have any such document,” this army veteran said.

Of course, all bets are now off and she is talking. She said when they fired her she cried. “I told him that I didn’t know any news media and I was a single parent and did not have anything to gain by this. I needed my job. Milton Wright looked at me with the coldest look on his face and told me to give him my badge and id. He also said that he had gotten with the district attorney’s office and charges were being filed against me.”

She also added, “After being terminated from the sheriff’s office in September, 2006, my life has been, needless to say, hell. I am a single mother and had to go on welfare to feed and get medical care for my son.”

She discussed the drugs prevalent in the jail and said they are obviously brought in by other jailers and passed through these jailers’ trusties.

She discussed the difficulty she has had getting another police job as the sheriff’s department has blackballed her all over the county.

She has kept her own counsel and bided her time, proving she did not talk.

There’s a sheriff’s race going on. Now she’s talking.

Not the first.....The young woman’s story above is just the tip of the iceberg at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s department. Employee after employee, usually women, have been fired for being “disloyal.” As of today, there are seven openings in the sheriff’s department for jailers, a job from which our source was fired.

Several years ago our constables went to constable school and heard how they could interdict drugs by making traffic stops and sometimes catching the transport of contrabrand. They also heard that their departments would get half the value of the contrabrand the constables rounded up.

Well, you would have thought someone was dating the sheriff’s girlfriend. Milton Wright threw a hissy fit. He went after the neighborhood patrol contracts in each subdivision (previously done by the constables) and made good on his promise to run candidates against the constables. Several are running this year even.

Since Fort Bend makes so few drug indictions, I have to wonder why the sheriff wouldn’t want help in controlling traffic, either auto or drug. I would think he would want all the help he could get, particularly if it didn’t come out of his budget.

There are some who just can’t believe that Milton would do anything wrong. Well, Milton is responsible for hiring those that do wrong, even if most of his time is taken up playing golf and squeezing on his accordion. He’s stealing time from his job to do that, too. He plays the accordion in nursing homes then takes ballots there on the years when he is on the ballot.

This time Milton has a credible opponent in the Republican primary--Billy Frank Teague. Teague has a long history of law enforcement and a long history of honesty. He’d write his relatives a ticket if he caught them speeding or drinking, or speeding and drinking.

You have to vote in the Republican primary on March 4 to elect Billy Frank Teague if you want to return Fort Bend to honest law enforcement.

 

Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  March 12, 2008