For the first time in 16 years, the race to fill the Austin County sheriff’s seat will be wide open next year as veteran officer R. DeWayne Burger announced this week he will not seek re-election in 2012.
Sheriff Burger said he plans to retire to spend time with his family and take care of his livestock.
“I’ve been there four terms and I want to thank all the supporters for giving me the opportunity to serve them,” he said.
Working with the people in the sheriff’s department made his experience enjoyable, but it’s time to retire at the age of 67.
“I always said if I couldn’t physically do the job I wouldn’t run again,” he said. “At 67, there’s a few little problems here and there, it’s time for me to go.”
Burger was first elected in November 1996 and has watched over Austin County through major events like the recent Austin County Jail addition and the 1996 Raccoon Bend murders, which occurred around the time he started his first term and remains unsolved.
“To this person responsible for this cowardly act, I pray you will one day be brought to justice,” Burger said about the case of four victims.
Before serving in Austin County, Burger worked at the Houston Police Department for 20 years, including 14 years in the narcotics division.
The sheriff thanks all the law enforcement employees he has worked with through the years including those in the sheriff’s department, Department of Public Safety troopers, Texas Rangers, TABC agents, local police and constables and the fire departments.
He also expressed regret that he was unable to get “sufficient raises and better working conditions” for his employees in the sheriff’s department.
To county citizens he asked that their next sheriff be one that “represents honesty, fairness, and is not a politician.”
“One of the things I am not is a politician,” he said. “I try to stay out of the political arena.”
Burger said his job was truly rewarding and thanked citizens for allowing him serve.
“I came into this office as a lawman, and I leave as a lawman,” he said.