By Will Johnson
HOUSTON COUNTY – During the Tuesday, March 8 meeting of the Houston County Commissioners Court, several matters pertaining to the Houston County Sheriff’s Office took center stage.
One of the first items pertaining to the HCSO concerned a telephone system upgrade at the Justice Center in order to comply with Kari’s Law.
Kari’s Law is a statute which changed the law so that a “9” is no longer needed for 911 calls from multi-line phone systems like the ones at the Justice Center. It came about after a murder took place in a Texas hotel room while a young girl attempted to call 911. She was unable to get through because it was required to dial “9” in order to get an outside line.
Another item tangentially related to the HCSO concerned the removal of exempt plates and markings on the District Attorney Office’s truck due to serving subpoenas on witnesses who do not wish to be served.
It was brought forward that other county departments may wish to have the exempt plates and other markings removed from their vehicles if the matter was to pass. A motion was never made and the agenda item died as the result of a lack of a motion.
As the meeting continued, an addendum agreement with NCIC Inmate Communications to provide scanned emails and an updated law/legal library to inmates at no charge to the county was approved by the commissioners. The agreement calls for an extension of three years.
Also concerning the HCSO, the court approved a mutual aid agreement between the Sheriff’s Office and the Nacogdoches Police Department.
Sheriff Randy Hargrove, who was also present at the meeting, brought forward a proposal to create a Cadet Program within the HCSO. Several minutes of discussion about the proposed program occurred before the Cadet Program was approved. It will now go in front of the HR Committee to draw up a job description and placement on the pay scale.
The last item concerning the HCSO concerned the payment of hotel expenses for a jailer after he had been exposed to COVID-19. The discussion went slightly off the rails as several other unrelated matters were brought forward. No action was taken on the matter.
In other matters brought before the court:
- The commissioners approved the minutes from previous meetings.
- Budget amendments were approved as were the payment of bills and expenses incurred by the county.
- The Houston County Clerk’s Fine Report for Feb. 2022 was approved by the court.
- The court approved salaries for new and/or transfer employees.
- Hotel Occupancy Tax funding was approved for: the Loft of Crockett for the Moe Bandy/Jack Nelson Band Concert on June 10; the Loft of Crockett for CTS band – Queen of Tejano & Latin Tribute on May 7; the PWFAA Celtic Angels Concert on April 1; and the Mark Chestnutt Concert on April 23.
- The Texas Association of Counties CIRA services agreement for website hosting and website content management was approved.
- The May 7 Texas Constitutional Amendment Election was ordered by the court and a joint election between Kennard ISD and the county was approved.
- The renewal of a contract extension for the Houston County Aging Senior Center Grant was approved.
- The purchase and implementation of employee ID/badge systems was approved.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.