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DA helps law enforcement work together in field

Posted:
MCLENNAN COUNTY -

The McLennan County District Attorney is working to get local law enforcement equipment so everyone in the field can work together.

The McLennan County District Attorney is paying for new radios for local Texas Game Wardens and criminal investigators for the Department of Public Safety. He's also fitting the bill by using money seized from criminals. These forfeiture funds will supply the roughly $20,000 needed to pay for radio equipment.

Around $9,000 of which will be for handheld radios for the Game Wardens. DA Abel Reyna says the Game Wardens told them they've had problems with communications out in the field. That's why Reyna is getting them these radios.

"It's criminal contraband that's being utilized to fight crime. And I think it's very important that in the fight against crime the unification of those efforts is important and communication is extremely important," Reyna said.

Game warden Matthew Kiel says this will be a major asset for them. He says it has been an issue in several cases. Kiel cited one time in July when they could have responded to a drowning 30 minutes quicker. However because they could only talk with dispatch and not with Sheriff's deputies or police in the field they were late in responding.

"Our backup, we work alone a lot of the time. All of our duties are usually on back roads and on the lake by ourselves and for us to get backup is a huge deal. Before we'd have to communicate with dispatch. Now we can call officers and sheriff's deputies directly and get help when we need it," Kiel said.

The radios will be handheld so they can also be brought on boats. They should be in within the next few weeks. Kiel says the Sheriff's Office is also getting them dashboard cameras for their trucks.

The DA is also supplying radio equipment for the DPS CID. Reyna says that will cost around $13,000. This equipment is different because it's a more specialized frequency so DPS can work closely with the McLennan County Sheriff's Office.

Reyna says they've been working hard to settle cases with funds seized. He says they've seized close to a three quarter million dollars in funds since 2011. They now have around half a million dollars available for District Attorney expenses and to help local law enforcement.

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