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2014-06-19

BCSO monthly report, driving simulation

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Bandera County Sheriff Daniel "Dan" Butts delivered his department's monthly report to county commissioners on Thursday, June 12.
During May BCSO deputies and investigators drove 34,812 miles and answered 686 calls for service, with 10 of the calls coming from the City of Bandera. According to Butts, the average response time to priority calls was nine minutes.
Last month, there were 56 total arrests with 15 for felony charges. Misdemeanor arrests totaled 41. BCSO law enforcement officer assisted other agencies 50 times and the public 12 times. They dealt with 41 property crimes and 16 crimes against persons.
The BCSO animal control officer impounded 17 dogs and seven cats last month with a monthly average dog population in the animal control facility on Highway 16 North of 21.
Incoming and outgoing telephone calls in the telecommunications division totaled 7,100 with 792 incoming described as 9-1-1 emergency calls.
County Judge Richard Evans asked if emergency dispatch logged the number of calls for law enforcement to be dispatched to the City of Bandera. Butts promised to include that data in his next monthly report.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Doug King opined that perhaps the city would like to fund a separate emergency telecommunicator.
"Dream on" was the conventional wisdom of the court.
May brought 25 indictments by the 198th Judicial District Grand Jury, which meets at the Bandera County Jail and Justice Center. Also during the month, 55 warrants were served and 12 out-of-county transports were completed. Additionally 117 inmates were booked into the jail with an average inmate population of 72 with an average contract inmate population of 25.
In related business, according to administrators with Texas Association of Counties (TAC), BCSO deputies and road and bridge staff face hazards every time they get behind the wheel at work. To forestall accidents and injuries, TAC recently helped reduce those risks through an innovative driving simulator.
"The goal is to use the driving simulator to reduce cost to the county by reducing collisions and injuries to county drivers," Butts noted in a press release.
The driving simulator creates real-world driving conditions in a high-tech environment that replicates situations drivers may actually encounter while on the road. Since its launch in 2000, more than 6,400 county drivers in three-quarters of the state's counties have used it to enhance their ability to make life-saving, split-second decisions - often in dangerous driving conditions.
"Studies have shown that driver-training programs effectively reduce risks while educating drivers on safe-driving measures," said Don Courtney, driving simulator specialist with TAC.
"Even professional drivers can slip into bad habits behind the wheel," Courtney added. The simulator training is designed to reinforce good driving habits that help improve employee safety and make them better prepared for the unexpected.
TAC's simulator has logged more than 100,000 miles traveling across the state and training drivers at no cost to the counties.