County Clerk Mirella Escamilla Davis told the court that, currently, the county is at 79 percent but yet to reach the required 90 percent case disposition rate it needs to continue receiving grants.
“We are getting better,” County Judge David Silva said. “I think we are going to easily make that deadline.”
The county is required to report the disposition of criminal cases to the state. The county’s disposition rate must be at 90 percent or better for all prior years in order to receive state and federal grants.
During a court meeting about a month ago, commissioners learned that the 2011 data was far below this percentage, at 55 percent.
This will likely cost the Coastal Bend Crime Stoppers one of its grants which amounts to between $8,000 and $10,000.
During a meeting and training session on Thursday, the county was given some good news by Rhonda Daniels, with the Department of Public Safety.
“As was reported by Mrs. Daniels, The probably of us meeting the deadline by Aug. 31 was looking better than we had hoped for,” Commissioner Ken Haggard relayed from the meeting. This was not a court meeting but an employee meeting.
Haggard said that the state would like to see the county also continue its work on the years prior to 2011 to increase those percentages.
“Of course, our reporting years of 2007-2010 were at 90 percent. Those were above — although barely above — what is needed to pass for our grants,” Haggard said.
He said that he was told it would be best to have that percentage raised to at least 95 percent or higher.
New policies also will be implemented including the creation of a sign-off form for the county and district attorney’s offices. These forms would be utilized by the sheriff and police departments to ensure that cases do not fall through the cracks.
Additionally, reports will be provided to commissioners monthly.
One issue was highlighted and Haggard said that he has already talked to the county’s information technology department to get it resolved.
“We are experiencing a glitch in the system that does not allow Netdata to link with CJIS.”
Netdata is the county’s system for maintaining data and for some reason isn’t talking to the state’s Criminal Justice Information System.
Haggard said that the county also was encouraged to begin work and monitoring of 2012 data to ensure that cases are completed in a timely manner so that the county doesn’t face this issue again next year.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.