Britton stated that the Brownwood location performs 30-40 forensic interviews each month, which are performed by an interviewer that comes in from Burnet. Currently Brown County provides $2700 per year to the Hill Country Children's Advocacy Center to help with some of the cost of these services Britton explained. Britton stated that the center offers much needed services locally and until it was established in June of last year, children who are the victims or innocent observers of violent crimes have had to travel with law enforcement to the Hill Country Children's Advocacy Center in Burnet, Texas for these emotional exams and interviews.
"It was just unfair on a lot of levels to the children to have to drive them to Burnet," said Britton. "It's disruptive to children, hard on families when they have to travel with other children for these services, and we just felt that we (Brown County) were big enough to do this ourselves."
The Brownwood office, located at 1409 Early Blvd. in Early, facilitates the needs of children in the community who have experienced sexual and/or physically abused or a witness to violent crimes and their families. Children who come to the Center have already experienced crimes making them victims and the Center works to provide the least traumatic experience for them as possible to get the information and evidence that is necessary to prosecute offenders on the child's behalf. Services provided are at no cost to the families of the victims and would continue to be provided at no cost locally.
Britton explained that it is hoped that this satellite office will be freestanding by September of this year. With this grant and other available support, Britton stated that the office can operate locally with its own interviewer and that the grant would not cost the county because any matching grants funding will be available from other funds which have already been raised.
Britton said that the hope is for this office to become a regional office possibly serving Brown County, Comanche, Coleman and possibly Brady. Britton stated that the State will fund the start up of a center such as this and then establish a yearly amount of funding after that.
In other matters on Monday's county commissioners' court agenda:
*Commissioners considered a burn ban but took no action.
*Brown County Sheriff's Captain Tony Aaron received approval to purchase a terminal server for communications of 14 new laptops which will be installed in all patrol cars. With this terminal, deputies can access TCIC and NCIC records while on patrol for stolen property, information on previous arrests, reports and more. The cost of the terminal is $3300 and licensing for the laptops is estimated at $800. Commissioners approved the purchase up to an expense of $5000 as requested by Aaron. The laptops were acquired through the LEAP grant in November of 2011. The use of these laptops according to Aaron saves deputies time, increases the amount of time they are on patrol/decreases loss of time currently spent on driving to and from the office to write reports and will generally improve officer safety with the data that will be available as they make contacts during their shifts.
*Captain Aaron reported that the jail count was 147 as of Monday morning.
*Captain Aaron stated that BCSO met standards in their annual racial profiling report and that they were found to comply with TCLEOSE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education).
*Commissioner Richard Gist of Precinct 3 received approval for the purchase of a heavy duty hauling trailer for $3500 and a water pump for $1100.
* Justice of the Peace Jim Cavanaugh reported that JP Clerks Victoria Collom and Rhonda Durkop received their master's rating. According to Cavanaugh, only 3% of JP clerks in the state have passed the required testing to achieve this rating.