D.A. Budget Proposal Requests More Assistance

The Hockley County Commissioners filled yesterday morning with meetings both for commissioner’s Court as well as budget hearings as they progress towards next fiscal year. Firstly, a brief presentation was given by Hockley County Sheriff Ray Scifres regarding the continuation of contracts working with Star Care, the local Mental Health support company out of Lubbock. In an effort to stem the flow of certain types of calls both to keep citizens safe, as well as officers, a co-responder model was adopted by Levelland PD and the HCSO. This has one officer specially trained in de-escalation and mental health support, called a Crisis Intervention Officer (CIO), and a co-responder in the form of a mental health professional from Star Care. This model allows law enforcement to better serve mental health crisis calls such as a suicidal suspect, without putting officers who previously did not have extensive mental health support training at risk. Sheriff Scifres explained that the program has shown great promise and effectiveness, despite Star Care having staffing issues. The current climate in the state legislature leads law enforcement professionals to believe that these types of programs will continue to be funded in the future, and as of the time of this meeting the program is continuing into the new year.

Budget hearings followed up the Commissioner’s Court, with the District Attorney’s Office being a large portion of the presentations. District Attorney Angela Overman has had her fair share of roadblocks and delays as she attempts to get the court system moving again in the wake of COVID-19. To this end she requested in her budget funds to retain a 2nd assistant D.A. As with the unusually high amount of capital murder trials stacked up require an inordinate amount of paperwork and time consuming research. The office has hired an intern through Texas Tech University, but with only approx. 7 hours a week, more assistance was requested. The Commissioner’s however, referred to Overman’s request from months ago for a new filing software, as the current software adds only to the difficulty and time it takes to prepare cases. Overman assured that new software is being explored when time is available to do so.

About Drew Dunn

News Director for KLVT AM 1230 in Levelland. We provide local and regional news updates 5 times a day on KLVT AM 1230 and online at www.klvtradio.com
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