CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Terry Samuels is a part of a beach safety task force and all around concerned neighbor of Padre island. He said for years, people have gotten away with crime on the Kleberg County's side of the beach because of lack of patrolling.
“I saw it start in my world years ago when the young kid was buried alive in the sand," Samuels said. "Me and the constable had to go down there and help rescue him. And then of course Corpus Christi Fire Department ambulance pulled up on the beach to transport him.”
It typically is Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office to patrol. The chief deputy said it’s been a concern and a problem for them.
“We have to go through Nueces County," chief deputy Jaime Garza said. "Go through back roads and be able to respond in a timely manner, which is going to be next to impossible. We do respond, we do get information, but only when we’re able to do it.”
Funding and personnel are his biggest issues. He said they can’t send one deputy without back up for safety reasons.
In 2019, the Butler family was murdered on this beach. Recently, some kayakers were in distress in this area. Samuels is concerned with who has to respond to things like this.
“We’re as tax payers, paying for this to protect their area," he said. "And what are we getting in return?”
Nueces County commissioner Brent Chesney said the land actually belongs to Nueces County, but falls within Kleberg County lines. He said it was purchased about six years ago from the General Land Office.
So while Kleberg County is responsible there’s an "interlocal agreement" between the two. Nueces County provides patrolling through the constable on the island.
“We just ask everyone to be aware," said Garza. "And stay informed. Let people know where you’re going. Don’t take things for granted. If you see something report it.”
Constable Bobby Sherwood said his crew are the first responders for enforcement. He said he has people patrolling daily down the beach. Sherwood said he's slowly seen that part of the beach become more family friendly.
Even with the constable, Samuels still believes more should be done. It’s a big beach.