|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
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Constables receive additional manpower
BY GREG PEAK Editor email@example.com
LIVINGSTON – The number of reserve deputy constables allowed in each of Polk County's four precincts was increased Tuesday from five to six during a meeting of the county commissioners in Livingston. Chief Deputy Byron Lyons of the Polk County Sheriff's Department presented the request to the commissioners, filling in for Pct. 4 Constable Bubba Piper who was out of town. Lyons said the request to increase the number of deputies was designed to give each constable's office more visibility to the public. "These guys help us a lot," Lyons said. "With the additional reserve deputies, they will be able to increase patrols in areas where we're having problems with drugs and burglaries." Because the reserve deputies are not paid a salary by the county, Lyons noted they have to work full-time jobs elsewhere to make a living and can only provide a limited amount of time as volunteer reserve officers. "Right now (the constables) are hoping to recruit retired officers who would be willing to dedicate more time as reserve officers," the chief deputy sheriff said. It was noted that while the county does not pay a salary to the reserve officers, they do provide a bond and workman's compensation insurance coverage. Commissioners unanimously agreed to increase the number of reserve deputies each constable can hire to six, effective immediately. In related action, they approved the appointment and bond for Rudy Amador to serve as a reserve deputy in the Precinct 4 Constable's Office. Lyons told the commissioners that Amador, who is retiring from the Pasadena Police Department after 33 years of service, would be named by Piper as his chief deputy constable. In other action, commissioners approved a resolution in support of a sheriff's department application for a Criminal Justice Division grant for a juvenile-at-risk diversion program. Lyons explained the three year grant, if approved, would pay for a vehicle and personnel for a program aimed at intervening when juveniles first start getting into trouble with the law. "We will be targeting atrisk kids during their first offense when they get into trouble for truancy, smoking and other such offenses," Lyons said. "Right now they go straight to a judge. Under this program we hope to intervene and turn things around before they go before a justice of the peace and end up with a record," Lyons noted the grant would require no local matching funds. He cautioned that if they are funded, they would have to reapply in three years and the same rules might not be in place at that time. "We are partnering with the school district and the juvenile probation department on this program and if we are successful, they might be willing to help with some of the funding if the next grant requires some a local match," he said. In other business, the commissioners: • Prioritized the 37 county road projects being submitted to the Texas Department of Transportation for an infrastructure grant. The state has earmarked $448,000 to allot to the county for the projects and while the commissioners said there is no way that all 37 projects could be funded, they were advised by consultants to include as many projects on the list as possible. • Approved the purchase of a 2012 Volvo soil compactor for the Precinct 4 Road and Bridge Department at a cost of $73,0512, including a three-year warranty package. • Approved the purchase of a utility trailer for the Precinct 2 Road and Bridge Department at a cost of $26,293. • Approved the purchase of a transfer switch for the Polk County Law Enforcement Center's emergency generator at a cost of $16,872 and the replacement of cell locks damaged in a generator changeover at a cost of $6,088.16. • Approved the purchase of a battery backup for the telephone system at the county's office annex off East Church Street (Highway 190). Cost for the system will be $6,290.32. • Received a certificate of completion for continuing education for County Treasurer Terri Williams. • Approved agreements with the Onalaska and Goodrich school systems allowing them to use the county's election equipment during their May 10 elections. • Approved the certificate of construction completion for the Polk County College- Commerce Center/Shelter project.