Howard County Sheriff Stan Parker and newly retired Big Spring Police Department Chief Lonnie Smith got a hefty nod from local officials on both sides of the city and county lines Monday afternoon, as the two were honored with commemorative plaques at the Troy M. Hogue Law Enforcement Center.
The plaques — the brainchild of former District 5 Big Spring City Councilman Craig Olson — were ordered to honor the unprecedented level of cooperation between the two law men which eventually led to the two departments not only being housed under the same roof, but also the sharing of resources and information.
According to County Judge Mark Barr, he knew the creation of the law enforcement center would eventually happen, he just didn't believe it wouldn't happen as fast as it did.
“Stan and Chief, you've both done an excellent job. You came together when, to tell the truth, it was pretty much a mess beforehand,” Barr said. “This is a great thing and it's going to continue to be a great thing for Big Spring and Howard County. We knew we were going to have to tackle this problem sooner or later and it came sooner than I expected. However, with the cooperation between the two of you it all came together. This is a great tribute to the two of you and will be a great deal of help to the community. I appreciate both of you and thank you for your service.”
Barr said the two departments working together is currently paying dividends, not just for local court and law enforcement officials, but for the citizens of Howard County and Big Spring.
“By the two departments — the Big Spring Police Department and the Howard County Sheriff's Office — working together, it's made my job as county judge a lot easier,” Barr said. “It's also helped make the jobs of other county officials a lot easier and we now have two great facilities, the Troy M. Hogue Law Enforcement Center and the County Detention Center, that we can be proud of.”