Elmer Tanner
of Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas


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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 fight daily.

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 narcotics enforcement.

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 doing?

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.
 

 


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Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox