Fort Bend County elects first African American sheriff since reconstruction era

Meet Eric Fagan, the sheriff-elect in Fort Bend County.

HOUSTON – A historic win in Fort Bend County for Sheriff-elect Eric Fagan. Fagan is now the second Black sheriff to be elected in the county’s history.

The first, Walter Moses Burton, held that position more than 150 years ago.

“It’s historic, I feel very blessed. Not only Walter Moses Burton who is the first sheriff but other African Americans and minorities that have done great things in America, I stand on their shoulders, as well,” Fagan said.

Fagan won a close race against Precinct 4 Constable Trevor Nehls, drawing 53% of the votes.

“We were very excited seeing all the numbers come in,” Fagan said.

Fagan was a Houston police officer for more than 30 years and has lived in Fort Bend County for nearly 20.

He also has a master’s in Juvenile Forensic Psychology.

Now that he’s elected, Fagan said he wants to bridge the gap between the sheriff’s department and the community. He wants to address racial profiling, add more training for deputies especially when it comes to dealing with mentally ill residents. He wants to add more body cams for deputies and he says he has no plans to defund the police.

“Officers need more training on how to recognize mental illness and de-escalation. To have good police officers you have to have training. To have training you need funds to do that. I’m saying let’s use the funds more wisely,” he said.

He also wants to bring more diversity into the department to be reflective of the diverse county.

“Don’t misunderstand me when I say that. I’m not saying that I’m just going to hire a minority for the sake of minority, I’m going to hire qualified people,” Fagan said.

Fagan also said he wants the department to be more transparent. He plans to start a citizens review board and a community connection program.

“I want to represent all the people of Fort Bend, not just African Americans, not just Hispanics, not just Muslims but everyone, Caucasian, everyone,” Fagan said.