Cooperation is key

By Kristen Tribe | Published Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chief Deputy Doug Whitehead “rides for the brand.”

Day in and day out, he works for the team, and not just the Wise County Sheriff’s Department, but all law enforcement.

His dedication was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for his assistance in the apprehension of Guillermo Martinez.

Martinez imported more than 140 kilograms of cocaine and one-half ton of marijuana.

Whitehead said Martinez had been bribing U.S. Border Patrol officials and was a main player in a drug smuggling operation investigated under Operation Deliverance.

He lived in this area, and Whitehead said Martinez and several of his family members had been in the Wise County Jail before.

His operation was headquartered in San Antonio, but he was always “on the move.” When Homeland Security officials contacted Whitehead, they had reason to believe he was in the Wise County area.

“Within two days of Whitehead being contacted about Martinez, a plan had been devised for his apprehension,” said Sheriff David Walker.

Whitehead acted as a facilitator to help organize a plan for his apprehension, and while he said he appreciated the recognition, he didn’t expect it.

“That’s our mission, to facilitate and assist with investigations, whether it’s for state, federal or local law enforcement,” said Whitehead.

He said the goal of the sheriff’s department is to “apprehend criminals and suppress criminality, and you can’t do that by yourself.”

Whitehead said the sheriff’s department has an open door policy in Wise County, meaning they welcome other agencies and are willing to assist in those investigations, if needed.

He said that is not often the case, and some departments are more territorial.

“It’s like dogs in the yard going around and urinating on every tree,” he said. “They mark their territory and then throw a fit (when anyone else comes in).

“But that benefits the criminals and not law enforcement or the citizens.”

Whitehead explained that by building cooperative partnerships with other agencies, it makes the department more effective.

“If you help someone, they’re more likely to help you,” he said.

Sheriff Walker said Whitehead has contacts all over the country, and people call for his help because they respect him.

“He’s a wealth of knowledge and my right hand,” he said. “He pushes for teamwork. Doug does so much for the county and doesn’t get the recognition sometimes. we really appreciate him and what he does for us.”

County commissioners formally recognized Whitehead at last week’s meeting.

Martinez was arrested in Gainesville at the home of a relative. Homeland Security and the Gainesville police department made the arrest.

Whitehead said information leading to the arrest was developed by Sgt. Mike Picha with the Decatur Police Department.

Martinez was transported to Eagle Pass for grand jury indictment.

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