The controversial sheriff of Travis County, Texas is being accused of putting political views ahead of the safety of sheriff's deputies.
Texas has received $23 million in federal grant money to purchase 33,000 rifle-resistant vests for law enforcement officers, allowing more than 400 law enforcement agencies to apply for them.
To get the state-funded vests, however, those agencies must sign a letter stating they will cooperate with detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE. That requirement comes from the office of Gov. Greg Abbott.
Town loses second officer in line of duty
A little town in Missouri has lost another member of its police department for the second time in seven months.
Clinton, Missouri is in mourning after 30-year-old Christopher Ryan Morton was killed while responding to a domestic dispute call on March 6.
Two other officers were wounded in the gunfire and are expected to recover.
Serving as a spokesman for the Morton family and the police, Sgt. Bill Lowe of the Missouri State Highway Patrol says 911 calls reporting a domestic disturbance often pose the most danger.
What makes the fatal shooting worse, if that is possible, is that police officers went to the wrong home. The 911 call came from a separate address in nearby Windsor.
Sgt. Lowe says Morton entered the home and then the suspect, who was killed, opened fire.
Morton's death comes after Officer Gary Michael was killed during a traffic stop last August.
"The fact that this incident happened seven months - actually, to the day of Officer Michael's death – they were just kind of moving past that," Lowe observes. "And now they have to deal with another tragedy."
Morton becomes the 26th officer to die in the line of duty this year in the U.S., the 15th by gunfire.
But that's not going to happen in the liberal-run city of Austin, where Sheriff Sally Hernandez oversees the sheriff's department and also follows a "sanctuary" policy for illegal aliens in Travis County.
Randy Sutton of Blue Lives Matter calls it "sickening" that Hernandez would refuse to cooperate with a federal law enforcement agency.
"And simply do her job, which is to recognize detainers on prisoners," he says.
A detainer is a legal request from ICE to local authorities, asking them to hold an illegal immigrant who has been arrested on local criminal charges and whom ICE wants to pick up for likely deportation.
TV news station KXAN reports that Hernandez is refusing to cooperate until a court decides the fate of a Texas law requiring local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE detainers.
Travis County was seeking a $240,000 grant for approximately 200 rifle-resistant vest last year but the application was never submitted, the news story reports.
Sutton says the Travis County deputies are likely realizing that their boss cares more about a political position than their safety.
"It's unconscionable, he insists.
Meanwhile, a news release on the Travis County Sheriff's Office website is asking for help to locate a murder suspect, and is asking for businesses and homes located near the crime scene to provide surveillance video from the night of the shooting.
The irony of such a request for help, says Sutton, seems to be lost on Sheriff Hernandez.