Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Law provides another way to pay for needs

By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 1, 2013 at 2:01 a.m.

Law enforcement is a tough job. Every day, people from the Police Department and Sheriff's Office to district attorneys, prosecutors and judges bear the burden of ensuring our hometown is safe for everyone.

However, protecting our society is not a cheap endeavor, and sometimes, law enforcement has to take some creative steps to find the resources necessary to do its job. Thankfully, the state of Texas has measures in place to help deal with this situation, and the Victoria Police Department recently took advantage of that.

On June 24, Criminal District Attorney Stephen Tyler gave the Victoria Police Departments crime scene unit a white 2500 Chevrolet van. The unit was previously using a 1994 Astro van that left them stranded several times on their way to a DNA lab in Corpus Christi. The money came from a fund set up under Chapter 59 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows for the forfeiture of contraband.

We are glad to see these resources being put to good use. Our justice system depends on many different resources to build cases and run investigations. Sometimes those resources are readily available, but some, such as the Corpus Christi DNA lab, can only be found in larger cities. All of these resources, whether available locally or elsewhere, cost money, and it seems appropriate that part of the money used to pay for law enforcement needs comes from assets confiscated from those committing crimes.

We applaud Tyler for using these resources to provide a more reliable means of transportation to the VPD crime scene unit. The justice system depends on each part from investigators to the prosecutor. Each person in the chain from crime to trial has a specific job to do, and they each rely on specific tools. If one part of the system breaks down, it compromises the integrity of every other aspect. This is not the first time Tyler has used these funds to contribute to the needs of the VPD, and we are glad to see a spirit of cooperation prevails between Victoria's departments.

Crime is an unfortunate reality in our community, but it is encouraging to know our state government and hometown officials are making the most of the resources at hand to keep up with the needs of our law enforcement.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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