Williamson County Commissioners overturn decision on ending contract for law enforcement equipment

The Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously approved an agreement with the State of Texas and the Sheriff’s Office to continue the lease of excess equipment after initially denying the agreement in July. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously approved an agreement with the State of Texas and the Sheriff’s Office to continue the lease of excess equipment after initially denying the agreement in July. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously approved an agreement with the State of Texas and the Sheriff’s Office to continue the lease of excess equipment after initially denying the agreement in July. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Williamson County Commissioners Court unanimously approved an agreement with the state of Texas and the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office to continue the lease of excess equipment, including scopes, lasers and night vision goggles, after initially denying the agreement in July.

During an Oct. 27 meeting, several community members, as well as WCSO Lt. Mark Luera and members of a local law enforcement association, made the case as to why the equipment was needed.

“This is extremely important to us extremely, important to the citizens of Williamson County and truly important to the deputies that work for this agency,” Luera said.

The contract allows for excess U.S. Department of Defense equipment to be deployed to local law enforcement agencies. Williamson County has had this or a similar contract in place for years, officials said. This equipment would supplement similar county-owned equipment, they said.

While the contract has been in place for several years, there were some updates to the agreement and concerns about the WCSO's poor maintenance of inventory, for which the county would be liable if anything went missing, officials said.


The contract was originally due June 15 but was not signed by Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody until June 24, officials said. It was first added to the court’s agenda June 30; however, it was pulled due to unanswered questions asked by the court, they said. It appeared on the agenda once again July 21, and it was denied.

Several commissioners said the lack of communication between the court and the WCSO led to the initial postponement and eventual cancellation of the contract. Many reiterated that if the contract and equipment were as important and needed by the agency as they said it is, Chody should have come to court himself and pleaded his case.

Instead, the sheriff sent proxies in his place three months after the agency already began to collect and dismantle equipment in order to return it to the DOD, per the contract, which has led to the use of overtime hours, Luera said.

“I'm disappointed that we're talking about it in almost November when it was voted down in July,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey said. “We could have taken care of this issue a long time ago.”

Luera, who spoke at the Oct. 27 Commissioners Court meeting, added that the contentious relationship between the court and the sheriff may have been reason why Chody did not feel comfortable attending court.

Nonetheless, the court approved the contract with a guarantee from Luera that the WCSO will maintain a clean inventory catalog of borrowed equipment and continue to provide required training, per the contract.

“Once again, we're not asking for armored vehicles; we're not asking for helicopters or planes,” Luera said. “These are the bare minimum to be able to work out in the field and be effective and protect the citizens.”


MOST RECENT

Souper Salad at University Drive has closed. (Brittany Andes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Souper Salad closes in Georgetown

The chain serves buffet-style salad, soup and homemade bread.

The toll increases are higher this year, as a result of inflation increasing the consumer price index over the past year. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)
Central Texas tolling agency moves forward with 5% toll increases for 2022

The increases range from $0.02 to $0.10 per toll and will take effect Jan. 1.

ExxonMobil has held office space at Hughes Landing in The Woodlands. (Courtesy The Howard Hughes Corp.)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: ExxonMobil to bring Hughes Landing employees back to Spring location; Dave's Hot Chicken to open in Plano and more top stories

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 27.

Georgetown City Council discussed redistricting at the Oct. 26 meeting. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Georgetown City Council explores redistricting in time for 2022 election

Georgetown City Council began the process of exploring redistricting based on 2020 census information at the Oct. 26 workshop.

"The Dude" is the signature burger at Lebowski's Grill. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Lebowski's Grill upends expectations in Austin; first Houston-area Costco Business Center opens in Stafford and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 26.

More than 35,000 passengers traveled through the airport on Oct. 25, the Monday following the 2021 F1 U.S. Grand Prix. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport sees busiest day ever following 2021 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix

The new record topped the previous busiest day by more than 3,000 passengers.

New statewide maps will go into effect Jan. 18, 2022. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Gov. Abbott approves new voting maps for state legislature, Congress, school districts for next decade

The maps will go into effect Jan. 18, 2022, after the state legislature passed them during a 30-day special session.

The statewide job fair will connect veterans to employers as well as other resource providers. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Statewide job fair aims to connect Texas veterans and their families to employers

The job fair is coming to local Texas Workforce Solutions offices, some of which are having early admission for veterans and their families.

Teso Life currently has a location in Carrollton near another 99 Ranch Market and other Asian businesses and restaurants. (Matt Payne/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Japanese department store Teso Life coming to Frisco; New Braunfels’ Gruene Hall set as backdrop for Scotty McCreery music video and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 25.

Vote sign
Just over 2% of Williamson County voters cast ballots in first week of early voting

Early-voting returns show much lower participation for this year’s election compared to previous years.