Nutt, 67, is running on the Republican ticket. Burton, 57, is a Democrat.
Nutt, who says he enjoys the job of sheriff, said that in a second term, he would continue working hard. “I said we would be an aggressive, proactive law enforcement agency, and we have done that,” Nutt said.
Narcotics would continue to be a priority, Nutt said, adding, “We've made hundreds of narcotics cases through our patrolmen and our narcotics unit.”
“I think anybody that says they are going to eradicate narcotics is misled because we're not going to be able to do that, but we can try to get as much of it off the streets as we can and maybe keep some of our children from becoming addicted to it,” Nutt added.
Burton, 57, said he sees a tremendous drug problem in Henderson County, based on a trends analysis comparing Henderson to similar counties. Burton said he is concerned about the crime rate, particularly narcotics.
Burton said he believes his running for sheriff has helped create more urgency on the part of the current administration about the drug/narcotics problem.
Burton is currently employed as a police officer by Trinity Valley Community College. He served a Precinct 1 justice of the peace for 9 1/2 years.
Burton worked as a correctional officer and a grievance investigator for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and as an arbitrator for the Texas controller's office. He is also a real estate broker.
Nutt, who has worked in law enforcement almost 40 years, started his career as a Texas highway patrolman, a position now known as a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper. After 7 1/2 years, he was promoted to narcotics agent for the department for three years.
Then Nutt was promoted to Texas Ranger for 16 years. Upon retiring from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Nutt served nine years as investigator for the Henderson County district attorney. He retired again, spent nine months building a house and ran for sheriff.
Nutt said he has assigned special assignment deputies to concentrate on certain locations with drug problems, burglaries and thefts and that through reorganization, he has been able to put more deputies on the streets.
During his administration, Nutt said, the sheriff's office has sought grants. A grant in 2009 funded four new patrol cars at no cost to the county. Through emergency management and with the sheriff's office help, a command trailer was obtained.
Burton said he favors partnering with nonprofit organizations to provide more aggressive and proactive programs aimed at preventing and intervening to keep young people from becoming involved in crime.
“We have to work harder at going after grants, Burton said, citing as an example a need he sees for more than one drug dog for the county and to embrace other initiatives in the war on drugs and crime.
Burton also said that as sheriff he would work to cut the time it takes for deputies to respond to calls.
Nutt said the response time already has been reduced during his first term as sheriff to about 19 minutes. It was taking between 28 and 38 minutes when he came into office, Nutt said.
Nutt added that he is proud of having saved the county more than $300,000, reducing the budget and turning money back to the county.
That was achieved through several savings measures, Nutt said, such as obtaining medicines cheaper and contracting for medical services for prisoners in the county jail rather than employing nursing staff.
Burton said he wants to take personnel in the sheriff's department to a higher level and would provide retraining.
Nutt said he is working on setting up training for personnel and seeking approval from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education on the sheriff's office having its own classes.
Burton suggested providing education and vocational programs for young people in jail.
Saying he has degrees from Trinity Valley Community College and The University of Texas at Tyler, Burton said he would be a good sheriff because of his education and because he is dependable and determined.
“I believe it's time for a new paradigm and to look at it from another perspective so that we can be proactive instead of reactive,” Burton said. “I'm fair, firm and consistent.”