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Sheriff Monroe Kreuzer’s tenure has been one wreck after another. photos by Felix Gillette FEATURE Sheriff Interrupted After years of police misconduct, voters in Chambers County polish off the top brass BY FELIX GILLETTE 1 t’s the night of the 2004 primary runoff elections, Tuesday, April 13, and Chambers County Sheriff Monroe Kreuzer, Jr. stands in his office explaining the subtleties of grenade launchers. About two-and-ahalf years ago, Kreuzer wrote to the Federal Surplus Property Program and requested 34 semi-automatic rifles and four shoulder-fired grenade launchers. The sheriff never got the firearms. But he still has the letter documenting his request. Now he’s clutching it in one hand and chopping at it with the other. “We wouldn’t have been shooting grenades with them;’ says Kreuzer, a tall, lanky man with thinning hair and glassy blue eyes. “We would have been shooting tear gas.” It’s an important distinctionat least, to Kreuzer. When local elected officials learned of the weapons request, they balked. Grenades or just tear gas, there was no way they wanted Kreuzer’s gang of gung-ho deputies wielding any additional firepower. There were already enough lawsuits ricocheting around the county. The sheriff’s office and county jail sit across from the courthouse in Anahuac, a town of about 2,200 people. The local meat market advertises alligator for $6.99 a pound. Across the street, the confederate flag flies high above the Gator’s Motel. Anahuac is the county seat of Chambers County, 600 square miles of mostly low-lying land stretching from the outskirts of Houston to the coasts of Galveston Bay. Small towns like Anahuac are scattered throughout Chambers, most surrounded by soggy patches of swampland and pasturefertile ground for bird watchers, rice farmers, and police malfeasance. Kreuzer, who is 51, has lived in and around Anahuac for most of his life. Four years ago, he was voted into office as sheriff. About five minutes into his interview with the 4 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5/7/04