MIDLAND COUNTY, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- Midland County Sheriff David Criner said he will seek reelection in 2024 because he loves his community and wants to do his part to keep Midlanders safe.

“I love my job and I am proud to serve the citizens of Midland County. I’m focused on locking up criminals to keep Midland County as safe as it can be,” he said in an interview Thursday. 

Criner was elected Sheriff in March of 2020; he officially took the reins in April of that same year, about nine months early, after Richard Gillette, who was appointed Sheriff following the death of Gary Painter, announced his retirement. Criner said he is proud of the work he and his team have done since taking office and when asked about the successes he’s celebrated since election, he said there are many.

“The relationships we’ve developed with local state and federal agencies speak volumes. We are very unique and blessed to live in a community where all law enforcement agencies work together so well,” he said. “We have set aside a training day each week, this keeps officers from coming in on their days off which allows them to spend more time with their families. We’ve developed a crime scene unit that not only helps bring criminals to justice, but other agencies utilize them as well. We developed a training, community relations, and internal affairs division…our deputies have better pay, more training, better equipment, expanded opportunities for career development, and they have embraced the higher standards that we have set.”

While Criner didn’t want to make political promises so early on in his campaign, he said he stands by the work he and his team have done over the last few years.

“I’m proud of the work our team of law enforcement officials does every day to protect the public. It’s far too early to make political announcements about the 2024 campaign, but I will vigorously defend what we’ve accomplished,” he said. 

Other candidates have spoken openly of their concerns about oilfield related theft, human trafficking, and drug use within the county and Criner said those things are on his radar as well, and he’s working hard to combat each of those issues.

“I’ve established the county’s own oilfield theft unit. I’ve established a sex offender unit that routinely monitors those that have preyed on women and children,” he said.

Criner also said MCSO has conducted multiple undercover operations aimed at bringing human traffickers to justice. Additionally, he said he has a team of three dedicated to working alongside the District Attorney’s Office and cracking down on drug related offenses.

The Sheriff also defended his office against claims of low morale and lack of transparency.

“Morale is good within our agency and I will fight constantly for the people who protect our community from harm…they work tirelessly every day, and we appreciate them. I also strive to be transparent with the taxpayers of Midland County,” he said.

If you have a question or concern and want to meet with Criner individually, he said you can call 432-688-4604 to arrange a time.

Criner, along with retired MCSO Chief Deputy Rory McKinney, and Sheriff hopeful Justin Painter, will be on the Republican Primary ballot next year. Election day is set for March 5 and early voting will begin on February 20th.