The Good, the Bad, and the Money

When good guys Sheriff Mike Gleason and District Attorney Shawn Dick are not out catching and prosecuting bad guys, they are personally helping the most vulnerable people in Williamson County—child victims of abuse and neglect. Both elected officials represent the Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center (WCCAC) as members of its board but they are also on mission, as head of their respective county agencies, to assist with the healing process as well. They recently put bad money to good use by gifting $200,000 to the WCCAC capital campaign. 


DA Dick has been a member of the board since taking office in 2017 and said his $100,000 donation was meant to inspire others to do the same. “My office donates $10,000 every year to help fund operations at the CAC but it was important to me that we set an example for other agencies to support the capital expansion as well.” 

District Attorney Shawn Dick

Newly voted to the board, Sheriff Gleason has been working in Williamson County since 1993 and was a crimefighter under six other sheriffs. After his election in 2020 he was tasked by WCCAC Executive Director Kerrie Stannell and collaborated with several city police chiefs and caseworkers to create the CAC’s multi-disciplinary team. Today, as a board member, he is eager to put his many connections and strong relationships to work in advocacy for the children and families at the center. “We all took oaths as law enforcement officers to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves and in many of these WCCAC cases, it’s the people who are supposed to love them most who are hurting them.”

The sheriff insists his first $50,000 donation was simply the right thing at the right time for the right reason. “I spent my whole career seeing the worst part of this process and I am happy to see the results that can come when we have strong victim advocacy. I am happy I can help make it better. I have a great working dynamic with Kerrie and we will donate another $50,000 when construction is complete and it’s time to outfit the interior.” 


The money donated from both agencies comes from discretionary funds built from asset forfeiture. DA Dick explains, “Someone driving back to the border from Dallas with $150,000 in drug money is simply taking it back to a cartel. We have to take it but what else should we do with it?” 

Both agencies are entitled to use seized and forfeited funds, within certain guidelines, at their discretion. Seized funds are often used for training and equipment or to finance task force operations. Sheriff Gleason says, “I am solely responsible for it and the federal government audits it, but they cannot tell me how to spend it. I can’t think of a better way to spend money coming from a bad guy or girl who has a history of abuse or is bringing poison into our community.” 

Sheriff Mike Gleason

Having worked in county law enforcement for some time, the sheriff adds, “I know how things work in the county and once that building is complete they will need chairs and microwaves and coffee pots. My idea was to fund whatever they will need. I don’t want them to open the doors on that first day and only then realize there’s a bed without a blanket. I am also pleased that all the detectives will have a home there—within arm’s reach of forensic interviews—so I want to make sure the officers and deputies have secure spaces to protect their information and work products.” 

DA Dick says while there are some steps that must be taken to ensure judicious outcomes and avoid abuses, he is vigilant about due process and only assigns criminal funds after cases have been adjudicated. “It feels great to have money that would otherwise have gone to fund criminal activity and change it into something really good,” he says. “And I want to help create a center that is a model for all other CACs around Texas.”

What happens at the center is vital and crucial to being able to hold offenders accountable. Forensic interviews and medical exams are vital to successful prosecution. Everyone at WCCAC is working for the wellness of children so we have to get it right. 

District Attorney Shawn Dick


Williamson County is growing at record rates, as is the corresponding rise in trauma cases. Sheriff Gleason reports that although the pandemic has waned, the increase in outcries has not; in fact, it has continued to grow.  “Mental health concerns that have emerged since the lockdown period are through the roof and just haven’t gone down. We’re seeing a desensitization to crimes of all kinds.”   

Meanwhile, the new WCCAC construction is well underway but is in need of continued financial support. “The space we had was no longer suitable for our essential services,” Kerrie says. “Our new building will provide ample and state-of-the-art space for forensic exams and interviews, case review meetings with investigative partners, trauma therapy, and confidential meetings on behalf of and with families.” 

The sheriff, district attorney, and center director invite everyone in the community to pass the message along about what the CAC does for children and what they need. Sheriff Gleason asks, “Attend our gala and sponsor a group. Create an event or attend our clay shoot. Make a phone call and ask for a check. Volunteer at the center or an event. There are so many ways to help children.” DA Dick adds, “Above all else, if you see something, say something.”