Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter was born in Amherst, Texas. Sheriff Painter grew up in the farming community of Edmonson, which is located in Hale County, Texas. Raised on a cotton and grain farm, which is still in the family today, Sheriff Painter grew up straight and tall. In 1965, Sheriff Painter graduated from Plainview High School, where he dedicated himself to his grades and athletics. After graduating from high school, Sheriff Painter attended one year of business school at Draughon's Business School in Lubbock, Texas.
On September 1st, 1966, Sheriff Painter enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. Distinguishing himself on the battlefield, Sheriff Painter earned the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Presidential Unit Commendation, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. Honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corp with the rank of Sergeant on Aug 31, 1970 Sheriff Painter embarked on his law enforcement career by hiring on with the Texas Department of Public Safety as a Highway Patrolman.
Always one to broaden his horizons, Sheriff Painter served tours of duty with the Culberson County Sheriff's Office, the Presidio County Sheriff's Office, where he also earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Police Administration from Sul Ross State University, the Midland Police Department, and finally came home to stay with the Midland County Sheriff's Office in 1982. Working his way up through the ranks from the Detention Division to Criminal Investigations to Patrol Lieutenant, Sheriff Painter ran for and took office as Sheriff of Midland County on January 1, 1985 and has never looked back.
A born leader of men, Sheriff Painter organized the first multi - jurisdictional narcotics task force in West Texas, which is still in action today, organized the Midland County Sheriff's Office Crisis Intervention Unit, was the moving force in creating the Permian Basin Peace Officers Association, and was one of the original founders of STAR ( Sheriff's of Texas Agreed Response ) which has developed into an integral component of many communities plans in their efforts to combat terrorism and weapons of mass destruction incidents.
A member and leader in numerous civic clubs, Sheriff Painter is a Master Mason, a staunch Republican, a devout Baptist, and served as past president of the Downtown Lions Club from 2003 to 2004. Sheriff Painter's hard work and leadership has been recognized by numerous organizations including the 200 Club, who awarded Sheriff Painter their Officer of the Year award for 1988 and 1991. Recognized for his leadership abilities, Sheriff Painter was asked to serve on the Legislative Committee of the Sheriff's Association of Texas, where he combats proposed anti - law enforcement legislation everyday, along with his other duties. Sheriff Painter is also the current President of the Sheriff's Association of Texas.
A happily married man for 31 years to his wife, Patsy, and a devoted father, Sheriff Painter has 5 children and 7 grandchildren. His son Justin is currently serving his country in the United States Air Force. His daughter Jennifer is currently employed with the City of Midland. His grandchildren's names are Tyler, Mikayla, Keagan, Brianna, Tre, Hannah, & Shae.
One of the Sheriff's in the State of Texas with the most tenure, Sheriff Painter is now completing his 7th term in office, a time span that covers the past 28 years. Sheriff Painter has made many improvements to the Midland County Sheriff's Office in many different areas. Through Sheriff Painter's initiative, a new Sheriff's Office and modern detention facility were built in 1990, relieving the pressure put on an over crowded staff, which had been located in the basement of the County Courthouse and which also saved the taxpayers thousands of dollars by allowing Midland County prisoners to be housed in Midland County instead of in other counties for a daily fee due to jail over crowding. Always one to implement new technology that is beneficial to the law enforcement profession, Sheriff Painter has proven he is a man of vision, which is evident by the following list of technological advances he has brought to the Midland county Sheriff's Office :
First Color Video Imaging Mugshot machine for law enforcement use in the State of Texas
First Digital Radio System in West Texas insuring secure communications
First Automated Fingerprint Identification System in West Texas
First Live Scan Computerized Fingerprint Scanning system in West Texas
First In Car Laptop Computer Mobile Data System implementing true CDMA technology via the internet with GPS capabilities in the State of Texas
In Car Video Cameras
State of the art Radar with laser technology
All of this technology allows Midland County Sheriff's Office personnel to work faster and smarter, thus keeping law enforcement ahead of the criminals. Sheriff Painter is not finished though. He will continue to strive to provide a safe environment for all the citizens of Midland County so that Midland County will continue to be a good place to have a home and raise a family. Sheriff Painter is committed to Midland County and its residents, and looks forward to serving the community for many more years.