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Rockwall County Sheriff to become President of National Sheriff’s Association

(ROCKWALL, TX — June 1, 2017) Throughout his life, Rockwall County Sheriff Harold Eavenson has worn many hats.

He served for 18 years as a state police officer, worked 16 years in an executive position as Director of Security for First National Bank in Dallas, and spent another five years running his own consulting business before he finally found himself in a county-level leadership position as sheriff. This May, he served as an honorary participant in the National Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremonies at the White House, where he read off the names of 12 fallen Texas law enforcement officers.

Now, he is about to receive one of the greatest honors of his career. On June 28, Eavenson will step into his new role as President of the National Sheriffs’ Association.

Sheriff Harold Eavenson (right) and Sheriff Greg Champagne of St. Charles Parish, LA present a memorial certificate to a family member of a fallen Texas law enforcement officer inside the National Sheriffs' Association Office in Alexandria, VA. Champagne currently serves as President of the NSA. Eavenson will become the NSA President on June 28.

Eavenson’s path to becoming President of the NSA began when he made one of the most important decisions of his life 16 years ago: to serve as the sheriff of Rockwall County.

In 2001, Eavenson was contacted by an old friend who was convinced he would be perfect for the role as sheriff. Initially, he was not convinced.

“I actually laughed at him,” Eavenson said.

It took Eavenson a whole month to reach his decision to become a sheriff. In the end, he just felt that it was something he was meant to do.

“I would never have thought about (running) on my own,” Eavenson said. “I was very content with what I was doing. But I just think it was one of those things I was supposed to do.”

Eavenson said looking back, he has no regrets.

“I learned a lot in the corporate world, I loved law enforcement the years I was in it, but I’ve never enjoyed anything as much as I’ve enjoyed being sheriff because I truly have an opportunity to make a difference for people on issues and problems,” Eavenson said.

In 2007, Eavenson was elected to the NSA board of directors. He knew that becoming more involved at a higher level would make him better connected to some of the best and brightest people in the country, and help him to better serve Rockwall. So, he didn’t stop there.

Eavenson went on to serve as Secretary, Treasurer, and Vice President of the NSA before he was chosen to become the President this summer. Eavenson says he believes in becoming more involved in order to expand his network of comrades.

“Being involved at the county level, the state level, and the national level has a lot of benefit,” Eavenson said. “It just broadens your horizons in regards to what is going on in the world of sheriffs. Being connected is not only beneficial to me as an individual, I think it is beneficial to the county.”

In his new role, one Eavenson’s key responsibilities will be attending association conferences in surrounding states. He estimates he will attend approximately 12-15. Occasionally, the President of the NSA is also called upon to testify before congress on various issues. Eavenson said he would welcome the chance.

“I would look forward to doing that,” “Eavenson said. “I think that would be an incredible opportunity.”

But most of all, Eavenson hopes to use his position to help law enforcement officers at all levels in any way he can.

“It is a challenge to be in the position where you have an opportunity to make a major difference,” Eavenson said. “I will not hesitate to do anything I can to help law enforcement in general.”

As he wraps up his 5th and final term as sheriff of Rockwall County and looks forward to his upcoming presidency, Eavenson said there are several other issues close to his heart.

One of them is the danger of drug problems that are rising nationwide. Eavenson believes one of the best ways to take strides against this and any other type of crime is to build a strong intelligence force within the community.

“Stopping crime before it happens is the way it ought to be,” Eavenson said. “The only way you can do that is to have a good intelligence network. We’ve been working to develop that for the last couple of years, and we still have a ways to go. That’s one of my goals before I finish my term as sheriff.”

Another issue that Eavenson faces as his time in the sheriff’s office comes to a close is overcrowding at the county jail.

A new 144 bed wing was opened when Eavenson took office in 2001. It has served the county for 16 years, but the population has more than doubled within that time frame.

Recently the jail has been overflowing, with 52 Rockwall County inmates imprisoned in Henderson County. This causes extra expense that Eavenson says is problematic.

“We are very fortunate that (the jail) has lasted us this long, but our time is up,” Eavenson said. “Our numbers are such that there is no doubt in my mind: very quickly we are going to need to have a conversation about doing a jail expansion. That’s a big undertaking, but it is something this county needs to do.”

As he reflects on his past 16 years of service and looks to his future plans in his new leadership position, Eavenson said he is honored to fulfill this role.

“To me, it is a rewarding way to finish a career,” Eavenson said.

Story by Julie Anne White, Blue Ribbon News. Photos courtesy of Sheriff Harold Eavenson.

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