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Dilley substation to provide deputy presence
Frio County commissioners voted unanimously on Monday, June 13, to use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for the sheriff’s office to purchase protective gear and other law enforcement equipment.
Sheriff Mike Morse said protective shields and building entry tools would be carried in every county patrol unit. He also told commissioners that his office would offer training related to the new equipment.
“Along with the tools we need proper training or they won’t be used properly,” the sheriff said.
The proposal includes 25 Battle Steel Level III ballistic shields and 25 Tactical MultiSledge entry tools for a total cost of $31,500.
According to the sheriff and members of his command team, the request for the equipment comes in the wake of the recent tragedy in Uvalde.
“A lot of things today have gone back to Uvalde,” Lt. John Meyer said, referring to several meeting agenda items from the sheriff’s office. “The response, it does not matter who shows up, we have to be prepared with the right equipment.
“If every unit has one of those shields it will allow for protection for the officer working,” Meyer said. “Whether it is trying to protect themselves, look for a suspect or enter a building. It is a worthwhile way to spend ARP monies in critical response equipment.”
Meyer assured commissioners that training could be done in-house and deputies could train at different sites in the county.
The entry tool comprises four devices in one, including a multi-directional hammer, a breaker and rake, a claw pry bar and a ram that allows the operator to shatter windows and pull glass shards out of a window frame.
Commissioner Jose Asuncion asked the command staff if they had discussions with the Dilley ISD administration regarding any plans of action.
Chief Deputy Peter Salinas said the department recently had a county-wide meeting with emergency first responders and school district personnel.
“One of the things we stated to the public was we would ensure that in the event something like this did happen we would be ready to respond,” Salinas said. “In addition, we have reached out to every district to give us their action plan.”
“Along the lines of this equipment, it is great, if we purchase this and we do not train and do not use it we do not have a darn thing,” Sheriff Morse said before commissioners voted on the spending package. “We are very fortunate to have people in this department that have trained, so this is not will not go wasted.”
Commissioners also agreed to pay for 25 Ipok individual patrol kits with combat gauze for a total of $2,000.
“These kits will be carried in patrol cars and include tourniquets and blood-clotting agents,” the sheriff said. “Now we will have to get the training on these.”
Comm. Asuncion asked that the sheriff’s department have an office in the Frio County Annex building in Dilley.
“It would be for security presence, proximity to school, also the general benefits of having sheriff’s deputy presence in Dilley,” the commissioner said.
The sheriff agreed and said it would serve as a place for deputies to work on reports and for his civil processing officer.
“We are grateful this week as our county commissioners and County Judge Arnulfo Luna have approved protective gear as we continue to take in the tragic events in our neighboring community,” the chief deputy said. “As we have learned, it appears officers may have been under-equipped to deal with an event of that magnitude. Taking in these lessons, we immediately requested emergency medical kits that would be with every on-duty police officer at all times.
“Additionally, we requested ballistic shields capable of withstanding common rifle caliber rounds,” Salinas said. “Finally, a request for dynamic entry tools was made. The tools selected would allow officers to attempt entry on both inward and outward opening doors should keys or other access be unavailable. All items will be found in every patrol car in hopes that we are ready to respond in a moment’s notice to any emergency involving firearm violence.
“We have met with local law enforcement in hopes they too can pledge to have these or similar items also readily available to our community and are working on strengthening our relationships,” Salinas added. “Our communication will help to present a unified front against violence committed in our community. Together, united, all of Frio County can be kept safe and secure.”