By JESSIE HORTON
STEPHENVILLE (January 26, 2015) — Of the 847 times Erath County Sheriff’s Deputies made contact with drivers and passengers in vehicles along our roadways in 2014, not one time was a complaint filed against the officer for racial profiling. Erath County Commissioners heard the full report from Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant during Monday’s regular meeting.
“Law enforcement agencies are reporting traffic citations and racial statistics in this manner for a long time now,” Bryant reported. “We started doing this publicly in 2002 and have had positive reports every time. Most of the traffic related data comes from our highways since our residents and non-residents mostly drive the highways.”
Bryant said the department uses information provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety to determine how many people in Erath County have their drivers license and then the information is broken down into the legal racial designation terminology specified in the statewide law. There was a total of 30 searches done by Erath County officers in 2014, in which 11 involved minorities. Ten of the 11 were searches that the driver consented to, one was based on probable cause, Bryant said.
“Comparing all the vehicle stops, citation and search data to the information supplied to us by the Texas DPS, it is clear there is nothing that would give rise to even the suggestion of racial profiling,” he reported to the court. “There were zero complaints made involving racial profiling allegations with our officers and we passed all the state requirements.”
Commissioners reviewed the numbers provided by Bryant’s office and approved the sheriff’s racial profiling report for 2014.
The court also heard from the Erath County Historical Commission, who presented the commissioners with two new members (Dr. Marcy Tanter – Associate Professor of English at Tarleton State University and an upstanding member of the community after moving to Erath County from New York and JoAnn Phillips who was instrumental in getting the marker for Cornelia Graves Elementary School, also known as Bethelda School).
In other business, the commissioners also approved a number of housekeeping items including the consent agenda, budget amendments, line-item transfers for the 2015 budgets in various departments, Dale Warren’s donation of a fridge to the Juvenile Probation Department, deeming several outdated inventory items no value for disposal or donation, paying an 2014 invoice from the 2015 budget, the annual Enterprise Rental contract for county vehicle use and the quarterly investment report presented by Erath County Treasurer Donna Kelly.