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CCSO gets approval for bulletproof vests, destruction of marijuana


With the Thursday, March 21 shooting of a Montague County deputy still fresh, Clay Commissioners on Monday approved the purchase of 10 bulletproof vests on a request from Sheriff Kenny Lemons.

The vests will replace those currently owned by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. Lemons said he recently realized the vests have surpassed their expiration dates.

The CCSO will purchase vests rated at the highest “level 3” protection, which range in cost from $700-$800 each. The CCSO will apply for a federal grant to reimburse a portion of the cost.

The CCSO purchased four vests through a U.S. Department of Justice grant in January. Clay County was required to pay 50 percent of the cost, a total of $1,850.

Lemons said his department has mandatory-wear policy.

Lemons and Chief Deputy Mark Elgin will transport marijuana in an amount of less than 200 pounds from the CCSO evidence locker to Beaumont for incineration after commissioners accepted a proposal from Veolia Environmental Services. VES is the only company in the state that can legally destroy the drug and meets guidelines set forth by the Texas Commissioner on Environment Quality, said Lemons.

Destruction of the marijuana will cost the county an estimated $2,000. The drug must be transported and its destruction witnessed by law enforcement.

The DPS has an incinerator in Abilene, but does not service other law enforcement agencies.

In February, the CCSO contracted with VES to destroy chemicals and components used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. During discussion with commissioners, Lemons mentioned the marijuana, but said he would look into having it destroyed by the Wichita County Sheriff’s Office, which has its own incinerator.

Lemons said that by contacting TCEQ, he learned VES would be the CCSO’s only option.

“They are trying to put these incinerators that people are buying, like some of our neighboring agencies, out of business,” said Lemons.

“They are well aware of the fact that a lot of local agencies do it, they just better not get caught.”

Commissioners accepted the sheriff’s office seizure fund budget for 2013-14. The CCSO will spend $2,500, of which $1,000 will go to the K-9 unit, $500 will be used for surveillance equipment and $1,000 will go to “personal protective equipment,” which does not include bulletproof vests. Of the $1,000 budgeted for K-9 unit, $500 has already been dispersed.

In other business, commissioners:

  • Approved a contract between the CCSO and Dyna Systems for the lease of a copy machine. The 60-month lease will cost $88.06 per month.
  • Approved an agreement between Clay County and the Texas Department of Agriculture for the 2013 Hog Out grant. Clay County will receive $5,000 to be used for education or eradication of feral hogs.
  • Approved a request from Precinct 1 Commissioner Lindy Choate to advertise for sealed bids for the purchase of a new truck-tractor with the trade-in or outright sale of a 2007 Freightliner truck. Bids will be opened during regular session April 22.
  • Approved use of the courthouse restrooms for use during the annual Cruisin’ for a Cure Car Show on Saturday, April 6.
  • Took no action regarding a possible burn ban.
  • Approved payment of all bills related to Clay County Memorial Hospital.
  • Approved payroll and all accounts and reports relating to the finances of Clay County pending one correction.
  • Approved the monthly treasurer’s report.

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The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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