Six Shooter Junction – There may not be a new Sheriff in town yet, but changes are coming thick and fast in local law enforcement as Operation Countdown proceeds apace.
No one is quite sure of what, exactly, Operation Countdown may consist.
Knowledgeable observers were surprised to find a complete McLennan County Jail population report on-line today, a comprehensive list of inmates of McLennan County's lockups that lists both accused and convicted offenders by name, offense, court in which they are charged, and cause number.
Other information available includes the criminal identification number of the individual agencies, such as the various police departments and federal agencies who made the arrests.
The link to the .pdf file may be activated by inserting this URL address in the search engine of any computer.
The first name on the list, for instance, is that of Jason Naser Abdo, a prisoner held on federal detention on two charges for which he was convicted last week – a weapons violation and domestic terror, for which he was arrested by the Killeen Police Department in July of 2011.
It is a matter of some mystery if this development is part of Operation Countdown.
What is known is that the operation's planners are claiming a total success, what with 200 volunteers staffing all 58 voting precincts in McLennan County as poll watchers, greeters and observers.
Even the fact that signs put up earlier at a proper distance from each polling place disappeared by the time polls opened at 7 a.m. did not mar the enthusiasm of Operation Countdown operatives on election day.
Re-elected by an overwhelming margin as Precinct 1 Commissioner, Kelly Snell remarked the sudden appearance of the jail population report with surprise.
He said he only gets some information from the Sheriff's Office on certain days, and that only concerns the total number of prisoners held by the private jail operator, CEC, Inc.
“They don't do anything consistently,” he said.
He characterized his experience during his one term as a County Commissioner as that of finding it difficult to get information he needs to make intelligent decisions.
“It's very hard; it's like pulling teeth...
“That's why we've got to get the Sheriff's office to come forward and give us their plan. I've got to have numbers; I've got to have reports; I've got to have facts.”
So far, no such information is available, according to Mr. Snell.
When the contract with CEC to operate the downtown jail expires in mid-month of June, he said, county operation of the 324-bed lockup could save the expense of $10 per per prisoner per day off the present expense of $45.50 per prisoner charged at the Jack Harwell Detention Center.
Present expenses to house “overflow” prisoners from the County Jail on Highway Six in the privately operated Jack Harwell Detention Center run from $7,000 to $14,000 per day, especially on weekends when, according to Mr. Snell, “We're just performing baby sitting chores for the weekend prisoners.
“I think it's pretty much a dead issue until after November,” he said.
Informed that the Sheriff's Office is required to have an operations plan on file with the Texas Commission on Jail Standards in order to obtain an operating permit, he expressed surprise that the information is available from the state government as a part of the public record.