Sheriff’s Department looks to upgrade equipment

Posted 3/10/20

The Madison County Sheriff’s Department plans to apply for $66,900 Office Of the Governor grants in coming months to upgrade the law enforcement agency’s equipment, including spike strips, bulletproof shields and a thermal imaging system that could help efforts in locating people in heavily wooded areas.

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Sheriff’s Department looks to upgrade equipment

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The Madison County Sheriff’s Department plans to apply for $66,900 Office Of the Governor grants in coming months to upgrade the law enforcement agency’s equipment, including spike strips, bulletproof shields and a thermal imaging system that could help efforts in locating people in heavily wooded areas.

“The recent FM 1452 shooting was a good example where we could have used all three of those things,” Deputy Ashley Kishino told Madison County Commissioners Monday at a regular meeting.

The shooting Kishino referenced was a Feb. 11 incident when Adam Carter, 34, of Madisonville was arrested by law enforcement officials at his home after allegedly firing two shotgun rounds at his estranged wife while their two children were in the vehicle. Carter avoided capture for over three hours, leading to a search through wooded areas. Officials believe he walked seven to eight miles through the woods before returning to his residence.

Thermal imaging on that chilly, rainy day would have assisted law enforcement in capturing the suspect more quickly, Kishino told commissioners.

The spike strips, shields and thermal imaging are part of a $11,900 OOG grant request. The remaining $55,000 will be part of a second OOG grant application for a trailer-based license plate reader for the county.

The reader, which is on the reverse of a “your speed” readout, would allow the sheriff’s department to monitor for Amber Alerts, Silver Alerts and search for suspects. The equipment could be used in partnership with Brazos and Leon counties, who are making similar requests.

While one side of the system monitors speed, Kishino assured commissioners that the reader would not be used as a monitor for speeding violations.

“Just to be clear, it will 100% not be checking your speed and saying ‘this guy is going too fast,” he said. “Those two systems are separate; it doesn’t connect speed to a license plate.”

In other activities at the commissioners’ court Monday, Emergency Management Coordinator Shelly Butts gave commissioners a report on emergency services for the year ending in November. During the year, dispatch handled 14,050 calls to 911, an average of 1,171 calls per month, she said.

The county also added 121 new addresses to the 911 mapping database and verified more than 367 existing addresses.

The department, which also handles county road and other signs, saw a drop in the number of signs they had to replace in 2019, with only four needed.

“That tells me nobody is taking road signs anymore,” Butts said.

Commissioners Monday also to distribute $9,000 in Hotel/Motel Occupancy funds to support various events around the county in 2020. The county will contribute $5,000 for entertainment at the Madisonville Fourth of July Celebration, $3,000 to promote the Tour Madisonville Bicycle Ride and $1,000 to advertise and promote the Hoop Dreams Basketball Tournament.

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