Burnet County Sheriff's Office to oversee illegal dumping crimes

By Lew K. Cohn
Managing Editor

Whoever takes over as the new environmental crimes officer for Burnet County will be reporting to Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd after commissioners voted to put the position under his supervision at Tuesday's regular court meeting.

The position must be under the sponsorship of a commissioned and licensed peace officer and Precinct 4 Constable Missy Bindseil, who helped secure a grant to fund the position, had been overseeing the work of former Burnet County environmental crimes deputy Chris Cowan, who resigned last month after eight months on the job to take a position at the Granite Shoals Police Department.

Commissioners said they believe before Cowan's successor is hired, the position should be aligned out from under Bindseil to reflect it being responsible for countywide environmental crimes policing.

I think once we have the new hire it needs to be more of a stand-alone office,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther Jr. said. “I commend Missy for the job she has done, but I think it is time for this position to fly. Hopefully, the sheriff's department can also help provide any clerical support that might be necessary.”

Luther said he wants to make sure the other three constables feel they are able to directly work with the environmental crimes officer without feeling like they were managing another constable's employee.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery said with strict reporting requirements built into the grant which is funding the position, it is a “test case for the entire state,” which means the county must make sure they are careful with how it is handled.

We need to do it right, whatever we do,” Dockery said. “We have had a hiccup in mid-grant with Chris moving on, but we've got to have continuity whatever we decide, because we also may have another full-time position starting Oct. 1.”

The environmental crimes officer was created with a grant from the Capital Area Council of Governments and is the first of its kind in the state. . . .

Find the rest of this story in the Friday, June 14 issue of The Highlander. To offer a comment or news tip, email lew@highlandernews.com.



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