Sheriff Dan Butts spoke to the Bandera County Republican Party on June 29 on “Law and Order and the Border Crisis.”
Butts remarked that he had been in contact with other sheriffs in the border counties, like Junction and Rock Springs.
He said because Bandera County has no major highways running through it, the impact of illegal migration is minimal here.
Other counties are experiencing car theft and pursuits. We have not seen any of that here, he said.
Butts did comment about the lack of Highway Patrol troopers due to the governor calling them to border duty for 14-day rotations.
Butts has trained his deputies to do crash investigations to assist in highway crashes if no troopers are available.
Butts also said that the numbers of offenses in the county have remained consistent, with no rises seen except in the murder statistics. Four murders have occurred in Bandera County recently. All those crimes have suspects in custody.
Butts did say that most of the crime in Bandera County is associated with drugs. He said that higher quality, cheaper meth is coming out of Mexico. The crime seen is directly associated with users burglarizing properties to get money for drugs.
An audience member asked about the prevalence of human trafficking in Bandera County. Butts said that the county sees little of that here since we have few hotels, night clubs, or massage parlors, typical places where trafficked victims are found.
When asked about rising costs of jailing due to illegal immigration, Butts assured the audience that no increase in prisoners has been seen in Bandera County. Border Patrol, he said, picks up the migrants and if they have committed no crimes, they are not sent to jail.
County Judge Richard Evans spoke to a question regarding a disaster declaration being issued for Bandera County. Evans replied that for that to be approved by the state, Bandera County would have to assert that its resources had been overwhelmed and the county cannot handle the results. At this time, Evans said, that is not the case.
Butts said that his most pressing problem is finding deputies to fill open positions. He has had two openings for deputies for the past eighteen months that he has not been able to fill.
The result of this is less officers on patrol during each shift. This does lengthen response time to answer calls. He also reminded the audience that many minor calls, like noise and dog calls, do take up a lot of the deputies’ time.
Butts reminded the audience while the Sheriff’s Department is spread throughout the county, the citizens are the best eyes and ears of the department. He recommended if something seems out of the ordinary to call it in to the department so a deputy can come out and investigate further.
In other business, State Republican Executive Committee member for District 24, Mary Jane Avery, spoke briefly, encouraging the audience to register new voters and be active in the party. She emphasized the importance of the midterm elections occurring in 2022.
Bandera County Republican Party Election Integrity Chair Becky Lay spoke about the Special Session called by Governor Abbott for July 7. She expects that Senate Bill 7, an omnibus bill on election integrity, will be acted upon.
The local committee is in the process of cleaning up the voter rolls. A newsletter called, The Vote, will be published and distributed to the membership.
Candidate Recruitment Committee Chair Butch Striegl spoke about how the committee helps to vet candidates, train them and support them during the election process.
County Chairperson Lynn Haueter reminded the group that Precinct 101’s chair was vacant. She then recognized Cristie Akin to speak about a resolution on property tax rates.
After a motion and some discussion, the vote on the resolution was ta bled. Akin was asked to clarify some of the points in the resolution and bring it back to the Party later with those changes.
The meeting adjourned at 8:07 PM. The next quarterly meeting of the Bandera County Republican Party will be at the end of September.