by Tyler County Sheriff Brian Weatherford
We are now seven months into this term at the Sheriff's office and I wanted to share one aspect of my job that I am particularly proud of this year. With my years in law enforcement, I was prepared to protect the citizens and deal with the criminal element of our area. Those of you who follow the "Jail Bookings" section in the Tyler County Booster understand that our office came in with the intent of putting as many criminals in jail as possible. My deputies continue to work each and every day to protect the interest of our law abiding citizens. The latest aspect of my position is designed to aid law enforcement in major emergency situations.
I know, as well as our citizens that have lived through our recent two hurricanes and the subsequent recoveries, that responding to their needs during the most chaotic of times is a huge responsibility. The logistics of those possible situations as well as our day to day efforts in fighting crime have been enhanced greatly by this program. The program is the "Texas 1033 Program" which allows law enforcement agencies to acquire military equipment for all aspects of our job. Woodville Police Chief Scott Yosko has been working within this program for years to benefit the city while not burdening the tax payers.
Some of you may have noticed the increase in the amount of camouflage and sand colored equipment in the area. These are items that we have requisitioned and have been awarded to us from that program and are being utilized and prepared for all aspects of our job to protect and serve. These are items that a small rural county could never acquire without the assistance of this program.
We all hope that we go a lifetime without experiencing another "Rita" or "Ike," but it is not our job to sit here with our fingers crossed...it is our job to protect all of you to the best of our ability.
We have thought traditionally about this preparedness and we have also tried to think outside the box on the topic of what "tools" do we need that will save lives and protect property. When Rita hit we all stepped outside to view what looked like a war zone. The amount of destruction was epic, but amid all the destruction, law enforcement must continue to respond to those in need. Law enforcement personnel struggled with reaching people on roads that were impassible, assisting ambulance personnel and fire fighters with their responses, extricating persons from structures, keeping local businesses and residents safe from looters. Personnel did this with very little equipment, no power, and limited gasoline for response vehicles. Each time we experience an event we learn from it and we work to get to the next level of preparedness.
This program will allow for that preparedness on a much larger scale. We have acquired forklifts, 18 wheelers, and trailers all to make our department and county less reliant on other agencies to deliver, unload and store needed supplies. Also acquired are chain saws, ropes, chains, bobcats, road graders, and rescue gear to allow us to clear roadways and to assist people in need. Hummers, dump trucks, cargo transport trucks, and a bucket truck are here to help in rescue operations. All of these acquired items will also help with events other than hurricanes, such as tornados, wildfires, chemical spills and a host of others.
The Tyler County Sheriff's Office will always work hard to provide safety to our citizens. We can never predict what Mother Nature or any future accidents have in store for us, but know that our office in cooperation with other local and state officials will be as prepared as possible.
Thank you for your continuous support.