Sheriff’s Office awarded OPSG/HIDTA Grants

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners met in regular session Monday, July 8. Sheriff Oscar Carrillo informed the Court that the County has been awarded a $127,651 Operation Stonegarden (OPSG) grant and an $87,000 High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) grant.

The focus of the U.S. Border Patrol’s OPSG is to enhance cooperation and coordination among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in a joint mission to secure the United States borders along routes of ingress from international borders to include travel corridors in states bordering Mexico and Canada, as well as states and territories with international water borders. OPSG provides funding to state and local law enforcement agencies to enhance border security and keep communities safe. Carrillo reported that the Culberson County grant is for specific equipment and for overtime.

The HIDTA grant will provide funds for one officer and $5,000 fuel. The purpose of the HIDTA program is to reduce drug trafficking and production in the United States by:

Facilitating cooperation among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to share information and implement coordinated enforcement activities;

Enhancing law enforcement intelligence sharing among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies;

Providing reliable law enforcement intelligence to law enforcement agencies to facilitate the design of effective enforcement strategies and operations; and

Supporting coordinated law enforcement strategies that make the most of available resources to reduce the supply of illegal drugs in designated areas of the United States and in the Nation as a whole. https://www.dea.gov/hidta

At the request of Sheriff Carrillo, the Court then approved an intergovernmental agreement with Hudspeth County for housing Culberson County prisoners in the Hudspeth County jail. This agreement is used to house high-risk prisoners such as those that are suicidal, an escape risk or high profile. The County will pay $50/day for each prisoner, and Hudspeth County has the right to refuse to house a particular prisoner. This action formalizes an ongoing practice between the counties. This contract will be for one year with an auto-renewal option.

Sheriff Carrillo also reported that Blue Origin is sponsoring an Emergency Care Attendant (ECA) class through Fire-Med Services in July and August. Carrillo stated that many times the deputies are the first on the scene of an accident, noting that it would be beneficial to have employees of the Sheriff’s office certified as ECAs. The Court agreed to provide for up to four employees from the Sheriff’s office to attend the ECA class.

Judge Carlos Urias reported that Alex Gonzalez of the JP #1 office has passed the necessary tests to become a Certified Court Clerk. The Justice Court Clerk Certification Program allows experienced justice court clerks to demonstrate their knowledge of statutes, procedures, and ethical guidelines applicable to Texas justice courts.

Roxanne Aldrige discussed the County’s participation in the Texas County and District Retirement System and reviewed the current plan. The County employees pay 7% of their salary into the system and it is matched at 160% by the County. Employees are vested after eight years, and can retire after 30 years of service at any age. The County’s funded margin is at 92.7% (much higher than the system-wide average of 80.5%) leaving only 7.3% unfunded. The County’s contribution is increasing from 6.8% to 7.22 % for 2020. The County has until December 15 to decide if they want to decrease the years of service to 20 years at any age; this will increase the 2020 contribution to 7.29%.

In other County business, the Court also:

Approved a court-ordered refund for tax collections.

Held an Executive Session with no action taken.

Renewed the County’s health insurance with the Texas Association of Counties for 2019-2020.

Began the 2019-2020 budget process with the next meeting to be held July 22.

Approved an interlocal contract with the Department of Information Resources for a security review of all election records and procedures.

Acknowledged an invitation to attend a TAC risk control training session in Alpine.

Discussed part-time help for JP #3.

Approved a Utility Permit request for SCM Crude LLC to cross Carlsbad County Road.

Agreed to grade Apache Road behind Plateau.

Discussed the need for expansion of the cemetery.

Heard reports on various County Projects.

Approved monthly reports.

Approved monthly payroll and expenses for June.