WAXAHACHIE — Another resource was provided to Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge at Tuesday’s Commissioners Court meeting when the court approved the addition of one full-time and one temporary civilian property room and evidence technicians.
The additions of these positions will help keep the evidence’s chain of custody intact before it is used in a trial. The temporary position will assist with the audit and the backlog of the property room.
“Basically when the evidence is collected at the scene it is taken to the station and locked up and logged. This person will then take it from that collection point and put it into the property room and evidence control room and (get it) logged in. It is put in the racks based upon the case, the date and time. They log all of that evidence and it is computerized. It is barcoded,” Edge said. “Then, if the district attorney or anyone wants to see that evidence for this case, we put the case in (the computer), and it tells us where exactly where the evidence is. It just gives us custodial control and chain of evidence control of where that property is. It restricts access of who can do it. It also helps resolve some of the issues of the past.”
Edge said there is a backlog of evidence that needs to be cataloged in the barcode scanning system.
Without a full-time custodian, it has fallen on one of the investigators to manage the property room from time to time, which takes away from the time they could spend working on cases. Without having a full-time property custodian in place, several issues have arisen over the past year.
According to Daily Light article from May 2016, Lt. Phillip Slaughter and Deputy Thomas Glen Smith were arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety in connection with alleged firearm theft from the sheriff’s office property room.
Commissioners voted to add the positions to the sheriff’s office unanimously.
In other business commissioners
• Approved a replat of six lots located at the northwest corner of Old Maypearl Road and Alysa Lane in Maypearl.
• Approved a preliminary plat of Sneed’s Place Development. The property is located north of the intersection of Elk Trail and Squirrel Road in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of Grand Prairie.
• Approved a request to release a maintenance bond from the International Fidelity Insurance Company in the amount of $305, 481.60 and accept the roads, drainage and infrastructure for the Springer Estates subdivisions located in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of Midlothian.
• Approved an interlocal agreement with the City of Rockwall and the City of Lucas to utilize the contract of the county as a cooperative agency.
• Approved to declare a 2005 Ford Explorer as surplus.
• Approved the purchase of 75 gallons of an EarthLok product for $6,000. The product will be used to complete a one-mile test sample for Road and Bridge Precinct 3.
• Took no action to enact a burn band.
• Approved to cancel an interlocal agreement with the City of Maypearl for the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunication System with the City of Maypearl.
• Approved to upgrade the dispatch console position six to a full functioning capability at the cost of $14,454.22.
• Approved the termination of the contract entered on Dec. 1, 2013, with Scott Kurth and Bill Scott for the review of blood warrant affidavits and possible issuance of search warrants for the collection of a blood specimen from persons arrested for an intoxication offense and refusing to submit to a breath or blood alcohol test.
• Approved to enter into a new contract with Kurth and Scott for the review of blood warrant affidavits and possible issuance of search warrants for the collection of blood specimens from person’s arrested for an intoxication offense and refusing to submit to a breath or blood alcohol test involving peace officers from the sheriff’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
• Approved County Judge Carroll to enter into a contract with Painless Television for the use of the courtroom in the historic courthouse.
• Approved for Bush to enter into future contracts for the use of the historic courthouse for television or film production purposes.
• Took no action on the Sheriff’s Commissary account audit report.
• Approved to authorize County and District Attorney to accept the offer on behalf of the county as settlement of all claims for damages caused by or arising out of the install, construction or maintenance work by Oneok Permian.
• Approval of litigation expenses not to exceed $2,000 in the lawsuit of Webster vs. Bates in the 40th Judicial District Court.
• Approved to authorize Wilson to offer and settle a claim on behalf of the county involving Marlena Pendaley and property damage to her vehicle caused a county employee in a county-owned vehicle during his employment with the county of $1,139.10.