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County posts large cash seizures in April

Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office has added two new sergeants to the department to work in specific areas — drug and human trafficking interdiction and crimes against children.

Sgt. Harry Washington came to Hopkins County from Hunt County Sheriff’s Department where he has been responsible for a successful interdiction program for many years

Since coming onboard with Hopkins County, Sheriff Lewis Tatum says that Sgt. Washington’s interdiction efforts have been very successful.

“In the time he has been here, he has collected over $270,000,” Tatum said. “We’ve found a large amount of drugs, stolen weapons, arrested a man wanted for murder in a northeastern state, parole violators from other areas —I mean it’s just numerous things he has found since he has been on board here. We are blessed to have him.”

Although the department has more than a quarter-million dollars in seized cash, that money cannot be utilized until it is forfeited to the county in a civil court procedure.

“If the money is awarded to the county, it will be split up between us and the district attorney’s office,” the sheriff said.

The criminal charge that goes along with the cash seizures is termed “money laundering,” a charge used in connection with drug trafficking or suspected drug trafficking.

“That’s part of the probable cause for taking the money,” Tatum said. “You have to prove this is being used in trafficking of narcotics and I consider Sgt. Washington to be an expert in that field. I feel very fortunate to have his expertise here.”

Washington will also be training our officers, and one that will begin working with him May 1,” he said. “We are going to purchase a canine that will be good for narcotics and for tracking. We are real excited about that.”

It has been several years since the sheriff’s department has had a canine and Sheriff Tatum said he thinks it will be a good asset for Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office.

The other new Sergeant at the Sheriff’s Department is Amanda Weatherford. Sgt. Weatherford had worked previously for the sheriff’s department before moving to Sulphur Springs Police Department where she worked her way up from being a patrol officer to becoming a patrol Sergeant.

While at the police department Sgt. Weatherford, working with her husband, Sheriff’s Investigations Sgt. Corley Weatherford, in investigating and making arrests in cases involving online solicitation of minors, sexual abuse of a child and child pornography.

“We’ve been working with her for years in online solicitation of minors in a joint operation with the police department,” Sheriff Tatum said. “That’s really going to help us out with her seniority and experience.”

Community Chest to offer forklift training class

As part of its goal in helping Hopkins County residents in need of employment find meaningful, career-advancing work, Community Chest will be offering its first training opportunity under the Forklift operator, Automation and Safety Training Initiative starting on Saturday, May 13.

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Flight for Life adds fixed-wing aircraft

 CHRISTUS Mother Frances Health System and Flight for Life introduced a new aspect to emergency air transportation Thursday morning at Sulphur Springs Airport. Flight for Life, prior to now, had provided helicopter ambulances throughout the area and this new addition is a fixed-wing aircraft that will provide faster and longer distance transport and can operate under weather conditions helicopters cannot.

“This new fixed-wing aircraft will open a world of possibilities and services to patients in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma,” said Stan Holden, Chief Executive Officer of Flight for Life. “Flight For Life’s fixed-wing service will serve as a connector for CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System’s dedication to fiscal responsibility as a steward of community resources and leader of health care innovation throughout the country. With this aircraft, we will achieve greater economies of scale, extending the reach and mission of each of the system’s locations and services throughout a much larger area.”

In addition to what the helicopter ambulance service currently provides, the fixed-wing aircraft adds another facet to the patient-transport capabilities of Flight for Life. The fixed-wing aircraft will allow Flight for Life nurses and paramedics the opportunity to ensure the continuity of care for patients as they move from one facility to another, both within CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System and beyond.

The airplane, a Pilatus PC-12/45 with a cruising speed of more than 300 miles per hour, will allow Flight for Life to extend critical care transport medicine expertise to a greater population of patients in Texas and surrounding states, according to a release from CHRISTUS Mother Frances Health System. The increased speed, range, operational ceiling, all-weather capability and the ability to operate out of relatively small airfields make it an excellent platform to provide the same high quality critical care as we do in helicopters, but in an extended environment. 

“Transporting patients in a pressurized cabin allows our aeromedical crews to operate over the top of weather that could potentially ground our helicopter fleet, and the controlled cabin pressure protects our patients’ physical condition at those altitudes,” said Mark Anderson, M.D., Chief of Emergency Care at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System. “The increased interior space provides more physical access to both the patient and the critical life support equipment utilized by our teams of flight nurses and specially trained paramedics.”

The PC-12/45 has a pressurized cabin with a service ceiling of 30,000 feet, cruise speed of 327 miles per hour (285 knots), and a range exceeding 1,800 nautical miles. Flight For Life can accommodate a combination of up to one patient, two pilots and three clinical crewmembers in the PC-12/45, however, standard configuration and crew are one pilot and two clinical crew. The Pilatus PC-12 offers an incredible Flight Management System, room for a patient’s family member and extensive medical equipment.

Lodge No. 221 to honor law enforcement

Sulphur Springs Masonic Lodge #221 will “Back the Blue” and show their appreciation Monday night to all law enforcement officers, active and retired, with a hamburger and ice cream supper.

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Four SSHS band students sign college letters of intent

Four seniors at Sulphur Springs High School signed letters of intent to play band at three universities Wednesday morning.

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