BELL COUNTY (February 6, 2013) --- Bell County Sheriff Eddy Lange, who took office in January, is making a few changes including the addition of a new division and a chief financial officer.
He’s also changing the name of the sheriff’s office to the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.
The department now has five divisions including patrol, criminal investigation, support services, emergency services, and the jail, but in April, Lange is adding a new special crimes division that will focus on major crimes such as human trafficking and drug smuggling that occur along the county’s major highways.
There will also be a push to focus on sex offender registration and one person in new the division will be committed to the task.
Lange said with close to 140 registered sex offenders in Bell County the need is apparent.
"We're required to do it and we want to do the best job that we can to keep up with these people and if they do slip up we want to be able to take action get them back in the system again," Lange said.
Central Texas Children's Advocacy Center Director Michelle Carter said the additional position focusing on keeping track of offenders could help keep kids safe.
"Sexual predators derive their power through secrecy and so it's not surprising to me that this is a difficult problem because oftentimes we've had cases that parents weren't aware that somebody getting close to their child was a sex offender," Carter said.
Lange also brought a chief financial officer on board to monitor the department's multi-million dollar budget.
Currently the jail administrator’s position is vacant.
Lange is also taking a closer look at the cost of feeding prisoners.
Lange said the department will look into the possibility of outsourcing jail food services, which are now handled in house, to a private contractor.
"Last year it cost more than $900,000 to feed the inmates at the Bell County Jail and the budget was only for $750,000," Lange said.
The same amount is budgeted this year, and Lange said spending is again likely to exceed it.
The process for hiring a food services contractor will have to begin with a request for proposals from different contractors.
After that Bell County Commissioners would select a firm and negotiations could begin.
Lange also authorized a few other changes, such as new uniforms and a push for new cars that are on their way.
Some of the new vehicles will be equipped with dash cams unlike many of the older models.