CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Houston County Sheriff deputies are getting much needed upgrades thanks to a grant from the Texas Attorney General's Office.
The office was recently approved for grant money that has allowed the department to buy body cameras for the deputies. According to Chief Deputy G.P. Sheare, the system would allow for one camera on the deputy to be linked wirelessly to a camera mounted in the patrol vehicle. Both cameras would be synced to a computer server at the department that would automatically download the recorded content.
It's a valuable tool because the car cameras only show what is in front of my car. it doesn't show when I go into a house, or if I need to talk to someone or something," Deputy Thomas Schieffer said.
This is the second grant announced in the last week by the department. Last week, deputies made their first rounds at Lovelady, Latexo and Kennard ISD. The department was able to pay for part-time deputies to patrol the schools. The three districts do not have their own departments.
"We have 1,250 square miles in this county, and it's not like a deputy can be everywhere at the same time," Sheriff Darrel Bobbitt said. "This allows us to have someone there and give the schools security."
The sheriff's office is not the only department in the county to have to rely on grants.
According to County Judge Erin Ford, county commissioners have been strapped on cash this past year and have relayed on Hurricane Ike 2.2 grants as well as other TxDOT grants to make major road repairs.
"We are relying more on grants, and it is harder to get grants approved," Ford said. "We are losing money from federal funds with the timber funds and from the state with road maintenance."
Many in state view Houston County as one of the poorest counties in the state and Sheriff Bobbitt said the issues facing the county are an example of how hard it can be with limited funds.
"It's not like the federal budgets, and it's not like the state budget where you have unlimited resources," Bobbitt said. "Truly, your county government is the closest to the people and it is your tightest run ship."