Monday Q&A with NCSO Captain Elmer Tanner
Elmer Tanner is a 16-year veteran of the Navarro County Sheriff's Office.
The captain is one of the driving forces behind seeing an end to drug
trafficking in Navarro County. He and wife Mandy have two children and
operate a cattle operation here, too. He took time out of his busy schedule
to talk about law enforcement with the Daily Sun.
Q. How did you get started in law enforcement?
A. I was hired as a detention officer in 1989 when the Justice Center was
new, and additional personnel were hired to staff the jail. After I had
worked awhile in the jail, I decided that I liked law enforcement and wanted
to further my career so I decided to attend academy classes at Navarro
College. I later obtained my peace officers license in 1991.
Q. Was it something you wanted to do even as a kid?
A. I really never thought of being a police officer as a kid although my
uncle, Ray Tanner, was a Corsicana Police officer assigned to the downtown
area until retirement. My sister, Brenda Barron, also worked as a Corsicana
Police Department dispatcher for awhile.
Q. How many years have you been with the NCSO, and what positions have you
held previous to being captain?
A. I will have been employed by the NCSO 17 years in March. I started as a
detention officer and was later promoted to corporal in detention. I later
transferred to the patrol division and was promoted to the rank of sergeant
in patrol a couple years later. I then was given the opportunity to become a
detective sergeant in the narcotics division. I was promoted to captain of
the criminal investigation and narcotics division in February of 2005.
Q. Your focus seems to be fighting the drug war in the county. Would that be
an accurate observation?
A. I have pledged myself to fighting the war on drugs in Navarro County
since early on in my law enforcement career. I made several narcotics
arrests while working on patrol and was later given the opportunity to work
with Jimmie Spencer and other law enforcement agencies including the Drug
Enforcement Administration Dallas field division. I was able to see first
hand the impact of drugs on the community. I then realized that I wanted to
work on fighting the war on drugs, not only in Navarro county, but also the
surrounding areas that could affect Navarro County.
Q. How does illegal drug trafficking in the county compare to other counties
in Texas and around the country?
A. I have never done a comparison of Navarro County to other counties. But,
I do know that drugs are a rapidly growing problem in all cities, rural
communities, counties in Texas and around the country. Navarro County
officers have always been diligent in fighting the war on drugs, and we will
continue to fight to keep our community safe. Drugs are in every county, and
each and every law enforcement agency is fighting the same battle that we
Q. The Daily Sun has been running a series on the growing meth problem,
which will pick back up next weekend. Has the production, sell and use of
the meth grown here over the last few years?
A. Methamphetamine sales, use and production has exploded in Navarro County
and across the country since 1998 when I first became a narcotics officer.
The nazi methamphetamine labs were prominent until a couple of years ago
when the State of Texas adopted laws to regulate the possession and
transportation of anhydrous ammonia in an unapproved container. Anhydrous
ammonia is a necessary component in methamphetamine production. Texas has
also recently followed Oklahoma in regulating the sales of over the counter
medication containing pseudoephedrine another primary ingredient in
methamphetamine production. These changes along with the availability of
methamphetamine in (Ice Form) have resulted in a significant reduction in
methamphetamine labs in Navarro County.
Q. Is meth the No. 1 drug problem in the county right now?
A. No question that methamphetamine (Ice) is the biggest problem in Navarro
County at this time.
Q. If you were advising parents or loved ones who were worried about someone
close to them getting hooked on drugs, what would tell them to look for?
A. Loss of appetite, sleep depravation, anger, mood swings, irritability,
and rapid weight loss.
Q. How many officers with the NCSO are dedicated to curbing drugs, or with
such a small department are you all sort of jack of all trades?
A. All certified officers at the NCSO are trained to enforce the narcotic
laws of the State of Texas, but we also have a specialized unit for
Q. How often does your department work with other departments, such as the
CPD or THP, on cases?
A. We have a good working relationship with both agencies and frequently
share information and assist each other on narcotics investigations. We also
work with surrounding counties and the Drug Enforcement Administration to
combat drugs coming into Navarro County.
Q. When you are not fighting crime, what are some of the things you enjoy
A. I always enjoy spending time with my wife and kids and I like sports and
rodeo. I also enjoy doing custom cattle work which includes penning cows
with my black mouth cur dogs and even roping a wild cow every now and then.
Q. Growing up, did you ever think you might do something else, like be a
baseball player, ride in a rodeo or be a weatherman?
A. I spoke with a college recruiter my senior year in high school about
playing football at a college in West Texas but I decided to enter the
workforce instead. I have always regretted that decision, but after getting
into the law enforcement field I realized that I could meet and help a lot
of people in my community, and I decided to make a career of it.