Environmental crimes unit gets bigger
By 12/25/2003 00:00:00
Infrared cameras to track violators
The Ellis County Press
ENNIS - Ellis County's new environmental crimes unit is starting to resemble the Environmental Protection Agency.
With the addition of a code enforcement officer, and the potential for an environmental crimes prosecutor next year, Chief Investigator Carl Redford rolled out new infrared cameras in hopes of catching violators dumping tons of trash over the county.
The cameras, aside from the recently received environmental crime enforcement truck, can monitor movement and heat.
They'll be placed along the side of some of Ellis County's most-polluted roads, he said, noting Commissioner Larry Jones, pct. 2, has helped with the project.
And Redford, who was originally receiving checks from a North Central Texas Council of Governments grant, is now on the Ellis County payroll.
Money from the grant was also used to pay for a secretary in his Ellis County District Attorney's office for Redford, who said Rex Hudson, the code enforcement officer, has helped his workload.
The cameras, as well as the environmental crimes unit, has come under fire from at least one outspoken resident, who said the last thing Ellis County needs is another layer of government.
'Just watch, he'll be added to [Ellis County's] payroll,' said Roy Callender several months ago, in almost prophetic speculation.
'We elected [Jones] to try to stop this layer on layer on layer of government.'
Despite the criticism, Jones and Redford point to the number of citations and cleanup the unit has accomplished, as proof the efforts are working.
It is not clear, though, if the new employees will be funded from the COG, a regional governmental body based in Arlington, grant, or from Ellis County taxpayers.
For now, the ECU will be trying to look over the videotapes in hopes of catching polluters.