By Terry Britt
The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office will soon have a new K-9 officer on the staff.
Tuesday, Sheriff Lindsey Ray got approval from county commissioners for an insurance policy for the new K-9 officer, known as Saber, which is both a trained drug dog and attack dog.
Saber will be under the direction of his handler, Deputy Carlos Rodriguez.
“His handler is very confident that he will be a very effective tool in our war on drugs in Van Zandt County,” Ray said, adding that Saber’s work would also add to asset forfeitures which could help the sheriff’s office financially.
When asked by Precinct 2 Commissioner Virgil Melton Jr. about liability, Ray said the insurance policy being requested on Tuesday did not include liability.
Ray said that matter would be addressed within the sheriff’s office.
“Anytime you have a drug dog that is also a trained attack dog, the problem is if he takes the back bumper off a Corvette and (drug) money is in there, great, but you’ve got a problem if nothing is in there,” he explained.
However, Ray reiterated that he felt confident in Deputy Rodriguez as a K-9 officer handler.
Also in Tuesday’s commissioners’ court meeting, the court approved two work bids to shore up building problems at the Courthouse Annex.
Both introduced by Precinct 3 Commissioner Bobby Chaney, the first item will attempt to fix a security issue with door locks through Van Zandt Glass and Mirror, which submitted an estimate of $1,400.
The second item concerned ongoing roof leaking at the building. Chaney said the problem was traced to the trim areas around the roof.
WnR Inc. submitted an estimate of $2,100 for a spray-on sealant with a one-year guarantee, and that was approved by the court.
In other matters, the court took the following action:
— Approved $300 cash to be placed in three cash drawers ($100 each) in the district clerk’s office.
— Approved the 2012 Racial Profiling Report for the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office for Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2012.
— Approved the acceptance of three television sets donated to the sheriff’s office by Dean Chisham.
— Authorized a Texas 1033 application letter, release of liability, and program plans, policies and procedures to allow the sheriff’s office to participate in distribution of excess Department of Defense personal property.
— Approved renewal of an agreement for drug and alcohol testing with East Texas Testing of Palestine.
— Tabled a request for a subdivision plat in the Hidden Lake Subdivision.
— Authorized the county judge to sign the Pro-Rata Tobacco Settlement Distribution County Expenditure Statement and Public Hospital Expenditure Statement for calendar year 2013.
— Approved county participation in a public auction on Feb. 28.
— Approved a budget amendment for the county clerk’s office.
County Approves Insurance For K-9
By Terry Britt