County & Law Enforcement Officials Meeting
April 14, 2018
Goal of Meeting:
Come to a better understanding of what services the county can provide its constituents and what we need to do as residents and property owners to obtain those services.
Make positive appeals to county officials to be better represented as we move forward. Present ourselves as a concerned voting block.
Introduction of County officials in attendance.
Precinct 4 County Commissioner Tim West
Sheriff Dale Corbett
Patrol Commander & Deputy Tim Shassenburg
Constable Pat Jordan Precinct 4
Chris Martin Criminal District Attorney
Candidates for Criminal District Judge
Chris Martin – current Criminal District Attorney running for District Judge
Tina Brumbelow – Private Attorney-Running for District Judge
Mr. Rowe introduced the county officials present and thanked them for coming. He said that the guests would tell us a bit about themselves and the attendees would be allowed to ask questions of the guests. The attendees would be limited to a minute or so to question and comment.
Sheila Cline, resident of Hickory Hills, made a presentation of demographics that set the tone for questions to the officials. Her research represents both sides of Callender Lake and shows approximate taxes paid, population number, age and gender of residents, and map that shows number of houses in foreclosure but not acted upon. She stated that Precinct 4 is second to Van in population in Van Zandt County. There are between 1860 to 1900 properties between Hickory Hills and Callender Lake with an estimated property tax paid of 717 thousand dollars.
County Commissioner Tim West stated that the county can’t work on the roads in a private community.
Question- Most of us believe there is a crime problem. However, we don’t see what is actually done. Constable Jordan responded that he always hears that we don’t see police in our community. However, just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean that they aren’t there. He has recovered a stolen van in out boat storage area and served many drug search warrants in here. He also stated that a lot of times when I’m out patrolling I don’t see people in their front yards. I am a one man show for Precinct 4. I have some reserves to help at times.
Sheriff Corbett, Deputy Shassenburg, and Constable Jordan stated that Precinct 4 has the lowest crime rate in Van Zandt county.
Deputy Shassenburg stated that everyone is invited to the Precinct Watch meetings. I believe the next one is the first Thursday of May. He also stated that Van Zandt County is the lowest paying county in this area. Guest asked what is the salary of the deputy’s? It was stated that the salary starts at about $30,000 a year and goes up to $31,000 to $31,500 after the first year. Sheriff Corbett stated for example after they have put in a year with Van Zandt county they can apply with a neighboring county and make $15,000 more per year.
Guest stated that there is a drug problem in our community. Deputy Shassenburg stated that there is a drug problem in the whole county with 852 ½ square miles. Van Zandt County has 2 Narcotics office and they are constantly working to reduce our drug problem.
Sheriff Corbett, Deputy Shassenburg, and Constable Jordan all stated that they have a vested interest in our community. They all live here and want our community and county safe for everyone.
Guest asked how many patrol officers does the county have? Sheriff Corbett stated we have 14 for the entire county.
It was stated that having an HOA in front of your community doesn’t mean we don’t respond.
Sheriff Corbett stated that we receive multiple calls a day about dogs and cows.
Guest asked how do we get an animal control officer in our county? Commissioner West and Sheriff Corbett stated that it takes money that the county doesn’t have They stated that the Dallas SPCA is active in our county. Just recently we recovered over 50 dead horses that was supposed to be a horse rescue facility. Constable Jordan reiterated that we need money to facilitate all the animal problems in our county. Chris Martin stated that you could take it to the Commissioners court to get it on the agenda. Another problem besides finance is meeting all the state requirements.
Commissioner West stated that we really need more businesses to come into our county. About 10% of our budget goes to indigent services.
The sheriff’s office is responsible for dangerous animals. Guest stated that they did come out and take care of a racoon acting unusual and thanked them for that.
Guest asked about what happens if a dog bites someone? The information you need is the description of the animal, the owner of the animal, and where the incident happened. It was stated that the dog will be quarantined for 10 days. However, we can’t force someone to quarantine their animal. We were reminded if you feed a stray animal just once it becomes your dog.
Guest stated that she was bitten by a dog and went to the hospital. She and the hospital notified the Sherriff’s office. The dog bite happened on Saturday and hadn’t heard from anyone. She called on Monday and was told that no one could till Wednesday. She still never heard from anyone so she called and was told that someone would be out Thursday. This is five days after the incident. She stated that the office told her that he might have found the dog but couldn’t believe he could get out of the fence. She asked why he didn’t call her and she was told that it was 5:30 and he had other things to do. Deputy Shassenburg said that is not the type of service we provide. If that happens again please notify me immediately and I will handle make sure that never happens again.
Tina Brumbelow suggested we have the HOA redo the regulations for loose dogs and other things. She also stated that as an HOA you can require the rules to be followed.
Guest stated that FM 2339 is bad and has met several cars driving in the wrong lane where she had to swerve to keep from having a head on collision. Deputy Shassenburg, Constable Jordan, and Sheriff Corbett stated that they will try and get with DPS to have more of a police presence on that road. Sheriff stated that there is a dozen or so troopers in our county. Unfortunately, there is just one radar unit and the Narcotics unit is using it.
Guest asked what kind of law enforcement powers does the Constable and Sheriffs officers have? Constable Jordan and Deputy Shassenburg stated that we all have the same powers as any law enforcement officer in the state of Texas. The Sheriff is the keeper of the jail and the Constable is elected by the precinct.
What can we do about Trespassers? Tina Brumbelow stated that as a member of this community you can ask someone that is here if they live here or are here with someone that does. If they don’t you can ask them to leave.
Guest asked what do we get for our tax dollars? Chris Martin stated that it was law enforcement.
Tina Brumbelow stated that we can get a security guard and make sure our bylaws are what we want as a community.
Constable Jordan suggested and active crime watch to be our eyes and ears. Always remember to just be our eyes and ears but don’t engage. We have classes you can take through the sheriff’s office. Deputy Shassenburg stated get involved and please come to the Precinct Watch Patrol.
Precinct Watch Patrol next meeting is May 4, 2018 at 7:00pm
Tim Shassenburg – 903-603-2011
Constable Pat Jordan – 903-520-6825 (if he doesn’t answer you can call back or he would prefer sending a text. He always checks his texts message.)