Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is backing Bill Waybourn’s campaign against incumbent Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, praising the former Dalworthington Gardens police chief’s efforts against drunk driving.
Perry said he was “proud to endorse” Waybourn in the Republican Party primary because the DWI No Refusal program the police chief pioneered in Texas — one that enables officers to obtain a search warrant and take blood from drunken-driving suspects — is now used by many law enforcement agencies in Texas and across the country.
“Chief Waybourn is responsible for implementing DWI No Refusal program, started in Texas which spread to 15 states and now the National Highway Transportation (Safety Administration) recommends this tool for training throughout the nation,” Perry said in a prepared statement.
Waybourn, who stepped down in September after serving as Dalworthington Garden’s police chief for 31 years, is challenging Anderson, who is seeking his fifth and final term as sheriff. Anderson has served as sheriff since 2001.
Waybourn, who lost to Anderson in the 2008 GOP primary, is mounting an aggressive grassroots effort to unseat Anderson.
Waybourn’s department began using the no-refusal technique in 2005 and was the first in the state to train its officers to draw DWI suspects’ blood. Officials would only draw blood after motorists refused to take a breathalyzer test.
Anderson, who is endorsed by Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson, among others, expressed no concern about Perry’s endorsement.
“I am proud to have endorsements from local leaders who are familiar with Tarrant County and the sheriff’s office,” Anderson said. “While he is a recognizable name, Governor Perry has no insight into the success of my tenure as sheriff.”