Bob Hall hears local law enforcement needs
During a unique meeting a large gathering of local law enforcement officials including Delta County Sheriff Ricky Smith, Hopkins County Sheriff Butch Adams, Rains County Sheriff David Traylor and Kaufman County Sheriff David Byrnes presented their concerns to Texas State Senate Candidate District 2 Bob Hall at the Delta County Civic Center last Monday afternoon.
Sheriff Smith provided a list of priorities which concern them the most. The greatest importance was the abuse of methamphetamine, which is linked to 60-80 percent of total crime and also associated to family violence.
“This is a huge problem both here and across the State,” said Sheriff Smith. He was pleased to report a Delta County success story in which 35 drug dealers have been apprehended in Delta County [with a population just over 5,000]. He suggested a pilot program for the 8th District to include rural counties of Delta, Hopkins and Franklin.
“Rural communities are overwhelmed by this problem,” added District Attorney Will Ramsay.
The law enforcement’s position is to design an effort to interrupt smuggling of chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine, coordinate with local sheriff’s office and endorse state-wide enforcement.
“All I know is what I want to try to do – try to make a difference,” responded Bob Hall.
Funding for Mental Health and Mental Retardation community and state hospital mental health services has been a topic Sheriff Smith has given great research.
“We, as a society, have our heads stuck in the sand when it comes to mental health illness,” said Sheriff Smith. He noted the Harris County Jail is one of the largest mental health institutions. “We [Delta County] do not have the means to meet all of the needs.”
He addressed the definitions of criminally insane and chronic mental illness and the dependence on indigent health. His main concern is the amount of man power required and the lack of beds in hospitals.
“It is a problem we have multiple times a week,” said the sheriff. His greatest concern is for the welfare of his officers responding to a call, “the unpredictability of a mentally ill person.”
Sheriff Byrnes expressed his worries about how funds have been diverted away from the major needs.
Other topics discussed were Texas Border Security, Prescription Drug Abuse and Blue Warrant inmates in Texas County Jails.
District Attorney Will Ramsay stated his support for the Texas Sheriffs requesting the raising of the age of Juvenile Jurisdiction from 17 to 18 to match the family code.
Sheriff Smith listed their position on medical marijuana, distracted driving, sales of stolen metals and articles and last but equally importantly was the protection of the Constitutional office of Sheriff.
“We are all in this together. I want to work with you,” said Hall. He has been going full force in his work.
The meeting was held over a bar-b-cue meal, which was provided from Fatboy’s BBQ in Cooper.