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Local News

Kerr County Sheriff honored with national leadership award for his handling of February’s severe winter storm

todaySeptember 13, 2021

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Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha received the National Exceptional Law Enforcement Service Award on Monday from the Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW), for the actions and response of the Kerr County Sheriff’s Department during Winter Storm Uri. Kerr County, along with most of the state, sustained record-breaking cold temperatures, severe ice and snow/sleet accumulation from February 11 to 19, 2021, causing related disruptions of public utilities, transportation and communications.

Beginning on February 11, Highway 16 between Kerrville and Fredericksburg, became a major threat to motorists and communicating to the public was problematic due to the many downed power and phone lines. Leitha began a Facebook program to aid the public with all of the developments regarding road closures, shelter locations, etc… These posts reached more than 220,000 people and were shared 3,400 times.

Throughout the duration of the storm, Leitha and his team responded to numerous traffic incidents, handled welfare checks and even delivered firewood to families without heat in their homes. KCSO answered 3,782 calls and dispatched 538 calls for service during the duration of the weather emergency. In addition to protecting county residents, KCSO was also responsible for the safety and security of the county’s jail inmates, arranging for food supplies through a local grocery store after the two days’ worth of food on hand was depleted.

After Leitha spoke about the department’s experiences during an MOWW chapter meeting in March, a submittal was made by Colonel Norm Wells, commander of the Hill Country Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars, to their national headquarters last Spring, intended to honor exceptional law enforcement in the United States. Wells says he was honored to have accepted the First Place award on behalf of Leitha last month.

MOWW was established over a hundred years ago to promote good citizenship, patriotic education, and military and public service. Their motto is, “It is Nobler to Serve than be Served.”

The award’s citation reads in part: “Sheriff Larry Leitha’s exceptional leadership, judgement, experience, innovation, and determination to protect the people of Kerr County enabled his department to overcome a wide variety of formidable challenges. His outstanding service to Kerr County is most commendable.”


Written by: Michelle Layton

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