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2014-11-20

BCSO to assist retired peace officers

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

A decision by Bandera County Commissioners Court will make it easier for retired Texas peace officers and former reserve deputies to keep up with Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) requirements that allow them to retain their firearms.
On Thursday, Nov. 13, Sheriff Dan Butts informed the court that "two or three times a year" retired law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions have asked BCSO personnel to conduct handgun qualifications for them.
Former law enforcement officers must complete firearms qualifications to retain their certifications, Butts said. He also noted that according to Occupation Code 1701.357(g), commissioners court must approve this service.
"We've never issued certificates of proficiency in the past," he said, adding that the question of liability had been identified as the only potential problem. According to County Attorney Janna Lindig, the county's liability would be negligible. "All the officers must do is sign a release to protect the county," she said.
Officers seeking proficiency certificates from Bandera County must have worked for 15 years or longer as commissioned peace officers. Eligible individuals would include reserve and retired officers as well as retired federal criminal investigators. Additionally, these individuals must never have had their commission revoked or suspended during their term of service. Also, their retirement must not have been for "reasons of mental instability" nor must they exhibit psychological or physical disabilities that would interfere with the proper handling of a handgun.
"The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement sets the standards for firearm proficiency," Butts told the court. "Our department has adopted stricter standards than required by the commission."
Additionally, Butts noted that the sheriff's office would only certify an individual's ability to fire a qualifying score. "We will not certify any other training requirement. The officers will supply their own equipment and ammunition. There will be no expense to the county."
Commissioners approved Butts' request pending individuals signing a release absolving the county of any liability.
In a related matter, Butts gave his department's activity report for October. BCSO deputies drove 28,864 miles and answered 622 calls for service. The average response time for priority calls was seven minutes and 28 seconds.
"We had 35 total arrests of which nine were for felonies and 26 for misdemeanors," Butts said. "During October, deputies investigated 45 property crimes and 30 crimes that involved individuals."
BCSO also served as primary respondents to 16 calls in the City of Bandera.
Additionally, telecommunications fielded 6,219 incoming and outgoing calls, including 909 incoming 9-1-1 calls.
Of 39 cases assigned, the Bandera County Grand Jury handed down five indictments in October.
Eleven head of cattle impounded during the month netted the county $10,366 at the sale barn while a single llama didn't fare so well. "Abandoned llamas really cost us," Butts said. The llama cost the county $587.81.