When it all Began...
On May 15th, 1838 the Congress of the Republic of Texas issued an Act declaring the territories that would be named Galveston County. The first appointed Sheriff of this new county would be William F. Wilson. The newly appointed Sheriff established the first Galveston County Jail in the “Elbe” a Brig class ship that had run aground during the 1837 “Racer” Hurricane. He would go onto serve in office until 1841.
In 1841, newly elected Sheriff Henry M. Smyth took office, but would soon find himself in quite a unique situation. Not long after the Sheriff took office, Texas President David Burnet would appoint a new Judge (Thomas Johnson) to serve in the 1st Judicial District, but failed to remove the current (Judge Shelby) from the bench. This unique situation meant that Sheriff Smyth would have to work alongside Judge Shelby’s Sheriff (William Herring). The matter would soon be corrected and Sheriff Smyth would remain in office until 1844.
Today, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service law enforcement agency that is organized into three bureaus: Law Enforcement; Corrections; and, Support Services.
Over the years the agency has increased in size to more than 500 regular and reserve deputies. Under Sheriff Henry A. Trochesset command, the deputies have the opportunity to expand their careers and challenge their talents in more than a dozen operational divisions including Administration, Civil Process, Corrections, Communications, Criminal Investigations, Identification, Marine, Mental Health Patrol, Reserve, Training, and Warrant's.
Operating and maintaining the county jail is one of the most important constitutionally-mandated duties of the Sheriff. A steady growth in inmate population impacts the agency and the county as a whole, as we do our best to provide more with less. As we move further in to the 21st century pro-active law enforcement which includes more training and education for deputies will continue to be one of the critical personnel areas ensuring our agency is run effectively, efficiently, and safely.”
|Dates of Office||Sheriff|
|1838-1840||William F. Wilson|
|1845-1845||William F. Wilson|
|1851-1852||William N. Sparks|
|1853-1854||John N. Reed|
|1855-1856||David N. Grove|
|1857-1860||John H. Westerlage|
|1872-1872||Joe A. Owens|
|1881-1886||William P. Owens|
|1923-1931||Robert E. Kirk|
|1931-1932||Claude J. Allen|
|1933-1956||Frank L. Biaggne|
|1961-1980||J. B. Kline|
|1981-2000||Joe Max Taylor|
|2001-2008||M. E. "Gean" Leonard Jr.|
|2013-Present||Henry A. Trochesset|