Gonzales County commissioners on Monday, Nov. 28, unanimously appointed the First Assistant County Attorney David Smith and interim Waelder Police Chief Cesar Lopez to the Gonzales County Sexual Assault Response Team.
Each county is required by the Texas Legislature by Senate Bill 476 to form an adult SART “in an effort to create a statewide infrastructure of resources, awareness, connection, and coordination to address sex crimes locally,” said Brent Gindler, an investigator for the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office who is the presiding officer of the Gonzales County SART. Gindler spoke to commissioners on Monday before they took action.
“A SART is a formalized coordinated response to a sexual assault that allows multi-disciplinary professionals to coordinate and develop interagency responses to work together to address sexual assault by providing wrap-around support and communication,” Gindler added.
SART teams are required to meet at least quarterly and must develop “a written protocol for responding to adult sexual assault survivors within the community,” Gindler said.
The SART also must present a report to the commissioners court no later than Dec. 1 of every odd-numbered year that includes a list of active members a copy of their written protocol, and a summary of report numbers and case dispositions.
“Our team has worked over the past year to formulate a set of protocols that we believe will benefit our community and the victims of sexual assault,” Gindler added.
Commissioners also voted to approve an interlocal agreement with the city of Gonzales to allow the county to build a new radio communications tower on Farm-to-Market Road 532, east of County Road 341, next to the city water plant. The county applied for a grant under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Program that would pay for the tower to be built, similar to how the new tower was built in Smiley.
Commissioners also approved the purchase of an automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) trailer from Jenoptik for the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office, which will use an $85,535 Operation Lone Star grant to pay for the equipment.
Sheriff Keith Schmidt said the ALPR uses advanced camera technology to record and classify license plates of passing vehicles that can aid in fighting drug and human trafficking, especially along Interstate 10. The technology it uses is similar to what is employed by toll roads in Dallas, Austin and Houston.