2009-02-18 / Editorial & Columns

Behind the Badge

Sheriffs Day at the Capitol
By Larry G. Spence

I am writing this column on Sunday afternoon as I prepare to leave for Austin in the morning for the Texas' Sheriffs annual visit to the State Capitol. Those of us that serve on the Legislative Committee will meet on Monday afternoon (there goes my holiday) to go over the proposed bills we are against and those that we will be supporting. After meeting for three hours we will dismiss until morning.

The next morning the committee will meet with the other Sheriffs from all over the state and get our packets to take to our respective legislators. Then we will all be bussed to the Capitol where we will briefly attend both sessions and then be allowed to take our legislative packets by the offices of our state senator and our state representative.

All of this usually lasts up until noon and then we meet with others that we may have scheduled meetings with and then catch the bus back to the hotel and head home.

Hopefully, if all goes well we will be back home Tuesday night, so by the time you read this I will have already returned home. I'd like to share just a few of the bills that Sheriffs are supporting this years or hoping to see passed.

1. Blue Warrants- This is still a big item for county jails, having to house parole violators that have no new charges. We believe the state should have a place to house those inmates and pay for their housing and medical. For ex- ample, one blue warrant inmate cost us over $60,000 in medical costs a year or so ago.

2. More funding for mental health service- these cases do not belong in a county jail and funding should be made available to care for, and house them, in a proper place or hospital.

3. Another issue we need more attention directed to, is a statewide enforcement effort coordinated with local Sheriffs designed to interrupt criminal enterprises involved in import or smuggling of precursor chemicals for the manufacture of methamphetamine and any of its derivatives.

These are just a few of the bills Sheriffs are supporting and perhaps we'll share a story overheard a week or so ago at a local hangout for guys who want to sit around and tell stories.

There was a bunch sitting around talking with other tables and one guy mentioned, "My arm is so weak I can hardly hold up this coffee cup." The guy next to him said, "Yeah, I know. My cataracts are so bad I can't see to pour the coffee." His friend on the other side of him told the others, "I can't turn my head because of my arthritis in my neck."

Not to be outdone by his friends the next guy mentioned, "My blood pressure pills make me dizzy." Finally, the last guy summed it all up when he said, "I guess that's the price we pay for getting old. Well it's not all bad, at least we should be thankful we can still drive."

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