Dale Fowler

Dale Fowler

As a Victoria business leader, sheriff’s candidate Dale Fowler says he understands the importance of integrity in serving his community.

“You make decisions for the right reasons – not based on friendships or politics and, quite frankly, regardless of consequences,” he said.

Fowler, 57, of Victoria, announced this week his intention to run as a Republican for the office of sheriff.

In September, President Donald Trump nominated incumbent Sheriff T. Michael O’Connor as his choice for U.S. Marshal of the Southern District of Texas. It’s unclear when he will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

So far, two other candidates have publicly announced their intention to seek the office of sheriff. Those candidates are Victoria police detective Melissa Rendon and Calhoun County sheriff’s deputy Philip Dennis.

Like Fowler, both are running as Republicans.

Fowler has spent much of his life in the private sector and now serves as president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp., but he has accumulated decades of experience in law enforcement. If elected, Fowler said, he would resign from his position with the VEDC.

As president of the VEDC, Fowler said he has routinely worked with elected state and local officials, attracted investment and coordinated cooperation with a variety of organizations.

He said those connections and skills will serve him well in the sheriff’s office.

“With economic development, I was able to help create jobs, which is good for everyone,” he said. “From a law enforcement perspective, a safe and secure community is also important to everyone.”

In 1986, he began serving with the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office as a reserve deputy. He now has a peace officer’s license and master peace officer’s certificate, among numerous other law enforcement certifications.

“I like to say I have a vocation I love and an avocation I love,” he said. “I’ve been blessed to do both of those, but it’s time for me to make a more focused choice.”

Although Fowler doesn’t work full time with the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office or pull a regular paycheck there, he is routinely called into the line of duty as a senior member of the office’s SWAT team, he said. Fowler estimated the sheriff’s office has deployed him close to 100 times during his 12 years on the team.

He also holds the title of special assistant to the sheriff.

While O’Connor has not formally endorsed Fowler, the sheriff did contribute the first fundraising dollar of his campaign, he said.

If elected, Fowler vowed to build on O’Connor’s dedication to “excellence in law enforcement,” he said.

For Fowler, public service is important whether it be for the economic prosperity of his community or its safety, he said.

Fowler said he began working at the sheriff’s office as a reserve deputy after former employer American Electric Power recommended he become involved in the community.

Since then, he has not only continued his service there but also broadened his expertise with more than 4,000 hours of law enforcement training and education.

“It’s another way to give back to this community in a way that has impact on all the citizens,” he said.

Giving back to his community, Fowler said, comes naturally because of how much he has already received.

Growing up with a hardworking single mother and a father who did not enter his life until adulthood, Fowler said he was a latchkey child.

But he was not alone.

“I was very much raised by the neighborhood ... through church, scouting and school activities – all of those things that this community had to offer,” he said.

As an adult, Fowler said he considers himself indebted to Victoria County and the people who helped in his upbringing.

“It will be quite an honor to lead a group of professional career law enforcement people ... and at the same time serve the community,” he said.

Jon Wilcox reports on courts for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached jwilcox@vicad.com or 361-580-6515.

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Jon covers crime, public safety and the courts at the Victoria Advocate. Born in Huntsville, Ala., he grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism at Texas State University.

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