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Fort Bend County sheriff says politics to blame for the end of disinfectant giveaway

RICHMOND – With the shortage of cleaning supplies at local stores, disinfectant spray can be hard to come by.

That is why the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office started giving it away. Many people showed up for free supplies.

However, Sheriff Troy Nehls said politics played a part in killing the program.

The county handed out the last bottle of sanitizer Thursday morning. Rehim Monsia got there too late.

"At home, I don't have anything to clean, you know. I'm out," he said.

Fort Bend County spent about $130,000, providing a bleach and water mixture free to residents.

"We've served over 13,000 families through here in the last 12 days," Nekkls said. "The line again today was half a mile long."

But Sheriff Nehls, who initiated the program, said he believes the program's demise is more about politics than money.

"I do believe there's politics, but I think that the war here, the war is against the coronavirus, the war should not be against me," Nehls said. "We should be united together."

The program has drawn a lot of media attention to the sheriff, a Republican candidate running for the District 22 congressional seat.

But funding is controlled by Fort Bend Judge K.P. George, a democrat.

And in a Facebook post recently, George said the county was changing priorities: There is a worldwide shortage of items such as surgical masks, medical gloves, hospital gowns, and face shields. It is clear that we must prioritize spending to provide personal protective equipment for our first responders & medical personnel.

Judge George did not answer KPRC 2 request for an interview to respond to the sheriff's complaint. The judge's staff referred us to his social media post instead.

Sheriff Nehls said he would like to restart the program if he can find alternative funding.