J.P. “Pistol” Court was Sheriff for a day

By LeaAnne Klentzman

Shown are Betty Court, wife of “Sheriff for a Day”, J.P. Court, seated, and Sheriff Troy E. Nehls.

Newly elected Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls shared his office for the day with long time Stafford resident and retired lawman J.P. “Pistol” Court.

As the morning of April 10, 2013 dawned, J.P. Court arrived to serve his community just one more day, this time as “Sheriff.” While it was part of “The Sheriff For A Day” program instituted by Nehls, Court could not have been more honored. Sheriff Nehls said he wanted to honor Court for his many years of service to Stafford, Fort Bend County, and the law enforcement community.

As background, Sheriff’s spokesman Bob Haenel said, “J.P. Court was the second police chief in Bellaire, Texas, history in the 1950s and ‘60s. He left law enforcement and entered the commercial carpet sales industry and has been one of Stafford’s leading citizens for many years.”

As part of the ceremony Nehls told a crowd of 40-plus friends and family members that Court, 83, arrived early Wednesday and received a tour of the facility, had his official ID made, received his badge and got his shoes shined, said Haenel.

Unbeknownst to Court the day included a bit of a roast with several of his friends participating. Court regaled the crowd with stories of the Shipley Donuts Coffee Club members who meet each day with the goal of solving problems. He said, “We meet from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and the rules of membership are that you have to be at least 70 years old or have a high IQ. Ed Biles and I are on probation. Our club solves all problems brought to the table,” Court said. “Troy, you and your staff are invited to bring your issues to us. Right now, we’re bogged down with Washington.”

Court also told the crowd, “It’s been a number of years since I was a policeman, but I’ll always be a policeman at heart,” he said. “I was lucky to be an officer and Chief of Police in Bellaire.” The current Bellaire Assistant Police Chief, Michael Leal, and long-time Bellaire Police Chief Jerry Lofton were in attendance as were Stafford Police Chief Bonny Krahn and Assistant Chief Richard Ramirez.

Court’s wife of 64 years, Betty, and their sons, Ronald and Gregory, were present as was Ronald’s wife, Wendee. Gregory’s wife, Kandy, was unable to attend.

Court also reminisced about his late brother, J.C. “Buster” Court, who survived the Bataan Death March in World War II and served as a Constable in Fort Bend County for 30 years. The Stafford Police Station and main Fire Station are part of the J.C. “Buster” Court Safety Complex. J.C. Court’s widow, Mildred, was in attendance.

“I will never forget this day,” Court told Nehls. “I’ve always considered myself to be a good judge of character, and we all have a lot of confidence in you.”

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