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Special to The News-Courier—
MUNDAY—50th District Attorney Jennifer A. Habert hosted a training for district law enforcement agencies here at the Perry Patton Community Center last Friday.
The training session was attended by Munday Police Chief Chris Mendoza, Munday Police Officers Ryan Thrash and Paul Davis, Knox City Police Chief Richard Candelaria, Knox County Deputy Robert Castilleja, Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens Josh McCrary and Dustin Favor, Seymour Police Chief Mike Griffin, Seymour Police Sergeant Bryce Sawyer, King County Sheriff Mike McWhirter, DPS Trooper Mark Strange and Baylor County Deputy Felipe Deanda.
Instructors included Special Agent Greg Sullivan from the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division and Mary Avalos Belli and Bessie Hollar from the Texas Department of Public Safety Abilene Crime Lab.
Belli and Hollar presented a power point presentation on the submission of illegal substances and other evidence for testing.
Both speakers offered practical information regarding the proper handling of illegal substances. The attendees learned an alternative to traveling to the crime lab to hand deliver each item for testing. They were trained on how to properly package and submit evidence through the mail. This knowledge is particularly valuable for rural law enforcement agencies with limited resources and man- power. Not only will it save each agency time and money, it will also reduce any delay in evidence being submitted for testing.
Sullivan train area law enforcement on a broad range of topics, including the seizure of narcotics, illegal weapons, and currency. He explained the procedures used by DPS in collecting evidence and in various types of seizure cases. The attendees were given samples of the proper forms needed to seize an illegal weapon and other property.
Since several of the local law enforcement agencies have abandoned property or old evidence taking up valuable storage space in their evidence rooms, Habert explained the legal process for forfeiting property so that it can be used for law enforcement purposes or destroyed. Habert invited each agency to send a list of items that needed to be disposed of so she could assist them in obtaining the required court orders so that these items could either be sold, put to use, or cleared away.
Trooper Strange explained that he was available to assist local agencies with searches using his trained K-9 while Habert offered some legal guidance in using canines for searches.
Habert thanked all the instructors and the attendees for participating. “The law enforcement agencies in Baylor, Knox, Cottle and King Counties work hard every day to serve our citizens,” she said. “Trainings like these give them additional tools and help them work more efficiently and better serve us all.”