Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Wednesday, February 20, 2002
First inmates taken in by city's new jail
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, Wed., Feb. 20, 2002 -- During the second day of holding U.S. Marshal
Service inmates the staff of the new Pecos Municipal Criminal Justice
Center are adjusting well to the new facility.
Police Chief Clay McKinney and Jail Administrator Tony Dawdy both said
that things have been running smoothly since the dedication of the new facility
two weeks ago, and the first inmates arrived at the facility on Interstate
20 on Tuesday.
"It went real smooth," Dawdy said.
The Town of Pecos City along with McKinney and the Pecos Police Department
decided to build the jail to specifically hold U.S. Marshal's Service inmates
awaiting trial at the Lucius D. Bunton Federal Courthouse in Pecos.
The city determined that building the jail would bring in thousands of
dollars in revenue each year.
The bold move to build the new facility got McKinney and the city recognition
by the Texas Police Association in the Texas Police Journal.
The Journal published an article recognizing the city and local police
department for recognizing Pecos' financial hardships and deciding to bring
a jail facility as a source of revenue.
McKinney explained what the city did to come to the realization that the
facility would help.
"The city administration got together and formed a team into looking in
the economic development aspect of a detention center and how it would be
an asset to the city," he said.
Building a jail facility for financial purposes is something that few
cities have done before.
"For a city to do this is treading new ground," McKinney said. "The City
of Pecos is definitely out in the for front and taking the lead by committing
to a venture like this."
"I've always thought all along that this was going to be a viable venture
to pursue," he continued.
The police department began training last week for the 18 new employees
hired to help run the new facility, as part of a week-long orientation.
"Everything went real well," McKinney said of the training. "We had a
The new employees were trained in policy and procedures, transporting
prisoners, operating the control room, firearms and use of force procedures
along with many other things.
McKinney and Dawdy both are pleased with the staff that has come in to
run the facility.
Dawdy explained that most of the new employees have had experience working
in other detention facilities.
"We've got a good staff," he said. "They have good experience and good
However there are a few that Dawdy said were rookies, which he is also
"There's a few rookies but they're learning and eager to get in there
A total of 20 inmates came into the facility yesterday — 10 female
and 10 male. According to McKinney all of them are awaiting trial in Pecos.
He said that the smooth transition into starting operations of the facility
is due to the months of preparing and planning that the police department
and the city made.
"We'd had many meetings and planning session so everything is going as
scheduled," he said.
McKinney hopes to move the police department into the new facility within
the next few weeks.
He said that they are waiting for furniture to be delivered as well as
moving the communications tower and the 911 equipment over from the Police
Department's Oak Street headquarters before the PD can officially move in.
The communications tower, which is located at the current police station,
would be moved to a spot just outside of the facility.
McKinney said that he decided to move the tower because building a new
tower would cost $24,000 and moving the current one would only cost approximately
The public should not have any worries when the 911 system is transferred
to the new facility, according to McKinney. Any 911 calls made during that
time would be "rolled over" to the Department of Public Safety.
He also said that the actual moving and re-installation of the equipment
should not take long to complete.
"I've been told that we'll be back online in less than 30 minutes," he
McKinney said that he is pleased with the facility and thanks the community
and city administration for their support.
"I'm very pleased with the support we've received from the city manager
(Carlos Yerena), Mayor (Ray Ortega) and City Council," he said.
He is also appreciative of his staff, old and new, for helping in the
move to the new facility.
"I'm very pleased with the way our staff has stepped up to the plate to
get this thing going," he said. "They're doing a great job."
Candidates rush to seek election to City Council
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Wed., Feb. 20, 2002 -- The race for the Town of Pecos City Council
is already assured of being a contested election this May, after only
three days of filing for this year's city elections, and two other
races have gotten their first candidates for the May 4 election, according
to local officials.
Along with the Pecos city elections, voters will be casting ballots for
the Pecos-Barstow-ISD board and the Reeves County Hospital board. Other city
and school races will take place in Barstow, Balmorhea and Toyah.
In the city elections, incumbent Mayor Raymond Ortega has filed for another
two-year term on the city council, as has incumbent Danny Rodriguez. Ortega
is currently unopposed, but Angelica Valenzuela and Michael Benavides will
be vying for positions on the council against Rodriguez, according city secretary
Only two city council seats are up for election this year. Ricky Herrera,
who has not yet filed for a new two-year term, currently holds the other
Individuals wanting to file for a position in the Town of Pecos City election
can pick up an application at city hall with Levario. The deadline to file
in the election is March 20, to do so, according to Levario.
The other candidate filing so far is Billie Sadler, in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah
ISD board elections. She is seeking a new three-year term on the school board.
Two of the seven seats will be voted on in the May 4 election, with the
other seat currently held by Michele Galindo. She was elected last year to
fill out an unexpired term on the board.
In the Reeves County Hospital District election, all county voters will
go to the polls to cast ballots for the at-large seat, currently held by
Leo Hung, while voters in Precinct 1 will cast ballots for the seat currently
held by Chel Flores, and Precinct 3 voters will be voting on the two-year
term where Jesse Prieto is the incumbent.
March 5 is the first day to accept applications to vote by mail and March
17 if a candidate dies on or before this date, his or her name is not placed
on the ballot.
On March 20, at 5 p.m., will be the deadline to file an application for
a place on the ballot.
The last day a person may register to vote in the May 4, election is April
Early voting by personal appearance begins on April 17, at the Pecos Community
Center, 508 S. Oak and April 26, is the last day to receive applications
for early voting ballots to be voted by mail.
The last day to vote early by personal appearance is April 30.
Bears' playoff game versus Ira scheduled for Friday
PECOS, Wed., Feb. 20, 2002 -- The Balmorhea Bears basketball team will
face the Ira Bulldogs in the area round of the Class A-Division II playoffs
at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Odessa Permian High School gym.
Balmorhea is the District 9-A champion and won their bi-district playoff
game over Marathon on Monday in Alpine by an 89-27 final score. The Bears
were ranked 10th in the final regular season boys basketball poll
and will face the Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 6 but had to rally from a
13-point to defeat Blackwell in their bi-district game on Tuesday, 60-51.
PECOS, Wed., Feb. 20, 2002 -- High Tuesday 67. Low this morning 40. Forecast
for tonight: Mostly clear. Lows 35 to 40. West winds 5 to 15 mph:
Becoming northwest late. Thursday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 60s.
North winds 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Lows 25 to 30.
Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 60s.
Ramon Nunez and Hazel Stephens
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.
Copyright 2002 by Pecos Enterprise