Local law enforcement agencies are preparing to spend their share of a $410,000 drug seizure made two years ago.
The seizure occurred after a March 2010 traffic stop made by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper on Interstate 20 in northern Erath County. In April, the driver admitted to hauling the drug money on behalf of someone else.
The funds were seized and held in the district attorney's forfeiture account until the 266th District Judicial Court ruled it should be forfeited to the state.
DPS retained $280,386, which is 70 percent of the seizure, and a small portion was given to a special crimes unit in Waco that aids local departments.
District attorney Jason Cashon will now divide what is left between his office, the sheriff's office and Stephenville and Dublin police departments.
The Erath County Sheriff's Office plans to add more workout equipment to a small recreational room with the $10,000 it will receive.
"First, it allows us to purchase stuff that taxpayers do not have to foot the bill for," said Sheriff Tommy Bryant. "We will buy things we really need for our deputies, investigators and jail staff."
A workout area for the sheriff's department was axed by commissioners early on during the jail expansion, but private donations and the recent unexpected windfall will create a small gym for officers to use.
"It's important for our deputies, investigators and jail staff to stay in top physical condition," Bryant said.
Stephenville police also received $10,000 and will provide its tactical team with new communication head sets and ballistic helmets, replacing outdated, military surplus used for years.
"This equipment will increase the safety for our officers and allow them to communicate better when they are out on an operation," said Chief Patrick Bridges.
Dublin Police Department is currently evaluating how to use its $5,000 donation.
"We will use this donation to purchase equipment to make operations more efficient and to give our officers more protection on the street," said Chief Lannie Lee. "We are also striving to improve our investigations division through better equipment and training."
Cashon will purchase a vehicle for investigators and will retain $65,000 in the forfeiture account, which is distributed throughout the year at his discretion.
"We use this as a rainy day fund for local law enforcement and victim advocates," Cashon said. "It's nice when money used for bad means can be used for good."
In the past, Cashon has donated forfeiture funds to local organizations like Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).
"Whenever we get funds like this, we want to put that money back into the hands of those victimized by crimes in Erath County," Cashon said.