San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 2nd, 2009
County to double Buda patrol unit

Buda Patrol Captain Bo Kidd of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office said additional deputies are “desperately needed” in Buda. Photo by Sean Batura.

By SEAN BATURA
News Reporter

A “chronic” car burglary problem in Buda has compelled the Hays County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) to double its Buda patrol.

That means the city will nearly double its payments to the HCSO, starting this month.

Captain Bo Kidd, who heads up the Buda patrol, said the car burglaries are a “regional issue,” adding that the offense seems to be “the crime of the time.” Kidd said in 99 percent of all cases, residents make it easy for thieves by leaving car doors unlocked.

“I don’t know if y’all have seen the stats, but they’re just killing us out there,” Kidd said to Hays County commissioners this week. “So, these deputies are desperately needed.”

Kidd said the additional four deputies, which brings Buda up to eight, will provide 24-coverage of the city, which has not been possible thus far.

“Over the last year, we have caught two different groups burglarizing cars at night,” Kidd said. “But every time you catch one group, many more replace them … But I think the program has been successful. I think the guys on patrol — current county deputies — appreciate the additional manpower in the city. Now, they don’t have to come take those calls anymore. So, it’s good for them and it’s good for the city.”

Following the openings of Cabela’s and Wal-Mart, Buda worked out an arrangement with the HCSO, whereby the sheriff’s office would dedicate officers to the city and the city would pay for the service. Buda had for years considered starting a police force, but found the arrangement with the sheriff’s office more cost effective as a first step.

The late Allen Bridges, the Hays County Sheriff when the county and Buda made the arrangement two years ago, hoped it would become a model for other fast-growing Texas counties.

The city’s monthly check to the sheriff’s office increases from $35,373.16 to $60,339.49 with the additional officers.

Kidd added that sheriff’s deputies and officers working for Buda will answer one another’s calls when needed.

“(I tell my people) if an officer needs backup, then you go give it,” Kidd said.

Hays County commissioners voted unanimously to amend the contract so the City of Buda can begin paying the higher fee to the county for the “fully-loaded” cost of each officer.

“The fully-loaded cost of each officer includes the officer salary, fringe, computer equipment, automobile and the administrative overhead for the county,” said Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton (D-Kyle).

Kidd said many law enforcement agencies are struggling to fill vacancies.

“We have run with vacant positions for quite a while now,” said Kidd. “It’s been tough for this profession and I can’t explain it.”

The new officers will not be on Buda streets right away, but must first undergo field training.

“This is not a program that we are trying to impose on any city,” Barton said. “This program is out there for smaller communities, growing towns, where partnering with the county really makes sense.”

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