Erath County Sheriff candidates

By Parker Burns

Guest Writer

Matt Coates, 45, is re-running to keep his title as Erath County Sheriff. He is running against former sheriff’s deputy, Kent Howell. Coates has been sheriff since he was made interim sheriff back in December 2016. Coates has an active following on his campaign Facebook Page @MattCoatesForSheriff.

Photo from Matt Coates for Erath County Sheriff Facebook page

What are your duties as sheriff?

Coates: As sheriff, my duties include civil process, uphold and enforce the laws of the State of Texas, protect the constitutional rights of our citizens, manage patrol, investigation and jail staff, oversee the operation of the jail, work with county commissioners and county personnel on maintaining and managing an adequate budget for the sheriff’s office and I foster and promote healthy relationships within our communities as well as surrounding agencies.

What is the pay?

Coates: $82,000 annually

What are your goals as sheriff?

Coates: My goal is to continue lowering the crime rate through proactive enforcement and thorough investigations and continue fostering seamless and productive working relationships with other law enforcement agencies, both in Erath County and the surrounding area. I want to continue strengthening our relationships with our schools and churches bringing student and parishioner safety to the forefront through common sense methods.

Kent Howell, 39, is a first-time runner for Erath County Sheriff. He is running against current sheriff and former superior, Matt Coates. Howell is a Stephenville resident and a 6th generation resident of Erath County. He can be found on Facebook @sheriffhowell and on Instagram @howellforsheriff.

Photo from Kent Howell for Erath County Sheriff Facebook page

What is your current profession/career?

Howell: I have been a law enforcement officer for the last 13 years. Right now, I’m 100% committed to my campaign.

What are the duties of sheriff?

Howell: The official duties of a Texas Sheriff as outlined by the Texas association of Counties are as follows:

  • Serves as a licensed peace officer and is responsible for enforcing the criminal laws of the state
  • Manages and operates the county jail
  • Provides security for the courts
  • Serves warrant and civil papers
  • Regulates bail bondsmen in counties with no bail bond board

What is the pay?

Howell: $82,000 annually

What are your goals as sheriff?

Howell: My platform is as follows:

  • Increased officer presence; putting more deputies out on the streets patrolling the 1,090 square miles of Erath county
  • Dedicated school resource officer in rural schools
  • More consistent training for employees
  • Expand the inmate work program

The Texas primary election is March 3, 2020. For more information visit for locations and times.

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