Elgin police officer shares challenges of policing in growing city

Sergeant Chris Wall with the Elgin Police Department knew he wanted to be a police officer. As an avid comic book fan, he felt it was the closest thing to being a superhero for his community.

“We are in a position where every day there is an opportunity to help people on another level other than law enforcement," Wall said. "It could be anything from buying groceries for someone to help them out or a burglary victim, helping them out as much as you can."

After serving in the Houston area for some time, he came to Elgin, a Central Texas city seeing growth.

“We have a city council and city manager and mayor that are being proactive and staying ahead of a lot of these issues and problems," Wall said. "They are planning ahead instead of trying to catch up like some small cities do."

Wall says along with that came an increase in call volume lately.

“Absolutely it's increased, anything from thefts, criminal mischief," Wall said. "We are having a little bit of the construction thefts since we have several construction sites going on at one time."

Wall says the frequent calls are about car wrecks, and theft, but Elgin also faces another issue...meth...something wall says people think they can keep on them because of the city’s smaller size. While on a ride-along with Wall, Fox 7 Austin witnessed an arrest for possession of methamphetamine.

“This guy was in the parking lot, and dropped a small bag. One of the employees saw him drop it so they took it to return it to him," Wall said. "I guess they opened it up to look for some ID or verify it was his. It has an ID in there, it also had some methamphetamine in there as well."

While dealing with a meth arrest, Wall then found out one of the employees has a warrant for alcohol sales to a minor.

“We are going to have to deal with that while we are dealing with the other arrest," Wall said. "You never know what you're going to get on these calls."

The man was booked into the Bastrop County Jail. Wall said with Elgin being just off of Highway 290, they see many out of towners trying to transport drugs to and from Austin and Houston. As the city grows, they anticipate hiring more police officers.

“We have two patrol positions open, and we have a sergeant position open," Wall said. "They are looking at hiring additional officers within the next budget year."

Elgin may be doing some growing up, but Wall hopes to keep that friendly small town feel with the police department. He said he is looking forward to the city’s growth.