By MICHELLE CASADY
The two Brazos County sheriff's deputies who faced off for constable of Precinct 1 both planned to return to work Wednesday, where they've worked together for nearly two decades.
But Brian Bachmann, who ran as a Republican, will be returning for a limited time -- he starts his new job as constable on Jan. 1.
"I'll probably work through December," Bachmann said at the Brazos Center Tuesday night, where he was watching returns with his wife, two children and about 20 or so close friends. "I'd like to take a little time off and get a feel for how the office operates."
Bachmann won in his first bid for elected office by defeating Democrat Terry Smith on Tuesday. He had dispatched incumbent Archie Clark in the March GOP primary election.
With Bachmann holding a 5,000-vote advantage just before 9 p.m., Smith said he was on his way to the Brazos Center to congratulate the Republican on his victory.
"I thank everyone who helped me on my campaign, and wish Brian the best," Smith said by phone. "I'm eligible for retirement from the department in March, but I'm most likely going to keep working."
Final returns in the precinct showed Bachmann with 8,505 votes to Smith's 3,090.
Bachmann brings to the post 17 years of law enforcement experience at the Brazos County Sheriff's Office. He joined the department as a patrol officer and in 1998 transferred to the Brazos Valley Narcotics Task Force. He returned to the sheriff's department in 2005.
A top priority, he said, will be addressing the loss of one constable's deputy assigned to the precinct. The change came with the county's recently approved budget, which went into effect in October.
That leaves the precinct staffed with a constable, two deputies and a clerk to patrol south Brazos County.
Duane Peters, who served as a commissioner when the budget was approved but won election as county judge Tuesday, said the decision was made to reassign that officer to Precinct 2 after Bachmann and other Precinct 1 constable candidates said they planned to focus on neighborhood patrols rather than traffic patrols on Texas 6.
"Over the past eight years we added two deputies to that office to patrol [Texas] 6 because of the number of deaths and other problems we were having," he said, explaining there are a sufficient number of sheriff's deputies to handle neighborhood patrols. "So we are now having that officer focus on safety concerns along [F.M.] 2818 and other areas."
Bachmann said he wasn't clear on all the details of the decision, but planned to look into it and address it as quickly as possible.