Best Practices Awards Spotlight: Fort Bend County

EFFICIENCIES IMPROVE LAW ENFORCEMENT, SAVE TAX DOLLARS

By Roland Gilbert

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The Law Enforcement Division’s evidence/property room in Fort Bend County was in serious need of an upgrade. Forty years of constant use and outdated systems prompted then newly-elected County Sheriff Troy Nehls to task Lt. David Clary with bringing it up to modern standards. Renovations not only brought it up to code, it also significantly improved its efficiency and safety — enhancing law enforcement and saving local tax dollars.

In recognition, the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) has given a 2018 County Best Practices Award to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office.

The process of research, planning and execution took a little over a year. Enhancements include new security gates, barcode scanners, Wi-Fi and mobile laptops, LED lighting, epoxy flooring, dust-free shelving and new organizational signage.

“The effects were immediately apparent,” said Maj. Chad Norvell of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “The improvements, along with proper evidence destruction, have increased usable space by 25 percent. It allows for more accurate evidence retrieval and creates a safer environment for employees.”

“I’m encouraged by the concerted effort of Fort Bend County’s officials and staff to invest the time and resources necessary to improve their law enforcement division and run an efficient organization,” said former TAC Executive Director Gene Terry.

“I want to thank TAC for this great recognition,” said Sheriff Troy Nehls. “We are devoted to continue making efforts that will better the Sheriff’s Office and serve our community.”

The biennial County Best Practices Awards Program recognizes the efforts of county leaders in implementing innovative, scalable and replicable solutions to challenges facing local government throughout Texas. Areas of focus include financial and general management, public safety and corrections, health and human services, technology, community improvements and other county-related responsibilities. (See "after" photos below.)