Hamilton Takes Top Cop Slot

Democrat becomes Travis Co.'s first black sheriff

All smiles and flanked by a gaggle of supporters, Travis Co. Sheriff-elect Greg Hamilton burst into the Driskill Hotel Tuesday night to thank his gathered faithful. Hamilton, who defeated Republican candidate Duane McNeill with 56% of the vote to win the title of Travis County's top cop, told supporters and reporters that he was glad the election battle was finally over. "I feel good; I'm glad it's over and I'm ready to get to work," he said. Hamilton will assume the seat vacated by retiring Sheriff Margo Frasier, who announced in January that she would not seek re-election. Frasier served two terms as the county's first female sheriff, and will turn over the reins to Hamilton, who will become the county's first black sheriff.

With election-night festivities still in full swing, Hamilton was already preparing for his first day on the job – and his hope to get the TCSO's two employee unions working together again. "First of all," he said, "I think we need to bring together both sides of the house." Friction over pay – and, ultimately, respect – fractured the Travis Co. Sheriff's Officers Association back in 2002, leading to the creation of two separate employee unions – the TCSOA, which represents corrections deputies (the majority of the office's employees), and the newly-formed Travis Co. Sheriff's Law Enforcement Association, which represents the office's law enforcement deputies. (Both unions endorsed Hamilton.) "I want to talk to their boards first, and then the general membership," Hamilton said. "I think we'll find that we're all closer together than we are apart." He said he'd like to see the two groups find a way to work together. "And we'll sit and talk and talk and talk and talk until we get it done."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Election 2004, Greg Hamilton, Duane McNeill, Travis Co. Sheriff's Office, Travis Co. Sheriff's Officers Association, TCSOA, Travis Co. Sheriff's Law Enforcement Association, TCSLEA

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