OVERTON – Clyde Carter is becoming somewhat of a fixture around Overton having celebrated his 25th anniversary with the city and its police department.
“When I started 25 years ago, there were four officers for the whole time,” Carter said. “We always had someone on duty.”
Carter was recognized at the Dec. 19 meeting with a framed proclamation marking his anniversary.
Carter is a graduate of Kilgore High School in 1988; and from the Kilgore College Police Academy.
“Back then, there was the CJ (criminal justice) program at Kilgore College and the East Texas Police Academy,” he said. “Now, it’s just the police academy.”
Chief Clyde Carter
Carter started out as a patrol officer and worked his way up to sergeant and then lieutenant beginning in November of 1994.
There weren’t that many arrests back in the day.
“I don’t even know,” he said about his first big arrest. “It was so far back, I can’t remember.”
Now days, it’s just the usual run-of-the-mill, typical arrests.
“It is usually family violence or public intoxication,” he said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve only had four homicides.”
Carter has been the Chief of Police since August of 2007.
Carter likes to strike a balance between the police work and staying in touch with the community.
“We do a lot of outreach. We’ll be at ball games,” he said. “Officers randomly walk school campus during the day. We don’t have a resource officer.”
“I like us to be involved in the community. It makes us successful.”
Carter believes that being invested into the community makes his job easier.
Carter says there was a time when residents wouldn’t feel comfortable coming to the office. That has changed.
“City government wasn’t open,” he said. “They couldn’t come down to talk to someone about something. They just stayed to themselves.”
That made investigations harder to perform.
“They felt like the city was hiding something,” Carter said. “They feel if they can’t just walk in and tell you something, (govt.) is hiding something.”
“They have to feel like they are listened to,” he said. “We do things like our own National Night Out.”
Overton residents meet down at the shopping center parking lot. There are hot dog meals, games for the kids and some different agencies there with prevention information.
City Manager Carter
Overton is blessed with a low crime rate and the teenagers pretty much behave themselves.
“The problem is there is not a lot do to. They (students) have to go out of town to do something,” Carter said.
Overton doesn’t want to become a recreational oasis, but something like a skate park or game room certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Carter is also the interim city manager and wrangles the emergency management office, too.
The man of many hats certainly has his finger on the pulse of the town.
“We are heading in the right direction all together,” he said. “The city didn’t have any money. We still don’t have a bunch.”
The city had a fair amount of debt with replacing some water lines and such.
At one point, Carter said, the city was using used equipment from Dallas.
Change doesn’t happen over night and Overton seems to have turned a lot of smaller corners with more to come.
Overton is a typical ‘bedroom’ community.
As Overton begins thinking of going to open up with bedroom community style of living, they are following the leads of Tyler, Longview and Henderson.
“We are showing growth with more neighborhoods,” Carter said, seamlessly changing his hat from law enforcement to city manager.
“Henderson is growing faster than Overton. We’re growing at a slower pace,” he said. We’ve had half dozen homes go up in the past two years. Kingsway subdivision is where the activity is, and there is room for another 20 homes.”
Overton, and Carter, is taking one step at a time to solve one issue at a time.
By focusing on the battles they are winning the war of attrition so many Texas towns like this one face every year.
For the moment, it starts and ends with Carter.
Good law enforcement, transparency and friendly attitude go along ways in Overton.