Com Court meets

by Michelle Dillon

To comply with state mandates and ensure the security of local elections, Cherokee County commissioners approved a contract with The Department of Information Resources during the meeting held Monday, Feb. 10.

Gene Moore, employed by AT&T and lead for the program, explained that the assessment was made mandatory by the state of Texas for all 254 counties in order to create a standardized, uniform measurement across the state. The program is paid for by a 2018 Help America Vote Act grant. AT&T, having been awarded the bid through a Request for Proposal process, will be providing the comprehensive assessments.

Although the report will not be completed prior to early voting and runoff elections, it should be provided to the county “by the end of the summer,” according to Moore.

Commissioners also approved the temporary move of the Precinct 38 polling place to John Alexander Gymnasium with a contract. The move was necessary due to the regular polling location at Jacksonville College library being inaccessible because of ongoing construction.

The Court also authorized the renewal of resolutions in support of Violence Against Women Prosecutor Grant and Victims of Crime Act Project Grant. William Maynard holds the position of prosecutor and Regina Brown works with the victims of crime.

Cherokee County’s participation in the TAC (Texas Association of Counties) Cybersecurity Program was approved, two tax refunds greater than $500, and the consent agenda, consisting of authorization to pay bills, payroll and transfer funds; Jack White’s Constable Precinct 2 monthly reports and racial profiling report; auditor’s monthly report covering December 2019 and treasurer’s monthly report for December 2019.

The commissioners received the monthly report and annual racial profiling report from Sheriff James Campbell. The monthly report indicated 2,987 total calls had been received in January with 1,658 calls dispatched to deputies. Offense cases reported were 160, with the greatest offenses being CPS intake (30), theft (18) and assault-family violence (12). Prisoner intake numbered 180 with 155 prisoners released for a daily inmate population of 159; a number Campbell stated was “too high.”

The profiling report totals all traffic stops and breaks them down by gender and ethnicity. It showed the percentage of stops by ethnicity to closely resemble the 2010 census, the most recently completed census, with stops for ethnicities within a four point margin of census percentages. The only percentage which did not reflect census numbers within that margin was that of Hispanic/Latino. This group accounted for 7.8 percent, but was 20.65 percent of the population as of the 2020 census. Campbell noted the census used was nearly 10 years ago and the report does not take into account the persons stopped who were not residents, but merely passing through Cherokee County.

Alto’s Police Chief Jeremy Jackson presented awards to Sheriff James Campbell and Detective Brent Dickson.

“In 2019, April we had our tornadoes and in May of 2019 we lost Officer Radcliff on duty and I just wanted to publicly reach out and thank and recognize two officers in our county that went above and beyond what they had to do,” Jackson stated. “[They] helped myself and the department during both of those times.”