|Contract between county, Teen Court to be decided at Monday’s meeting|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Jan. 21, 2007 - The final decision to allow Teen Court to use Hopkins County Courthouse is to be made Monday by county commissioners.
Among the 11 items on the agenda for the Commissioners Court session scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Monday is an agreement for the use of county courtrooms. The agreement was reached Jan. 10 in a work session involving the county judge, law enforcement, courthouse security officials and Teen Court representatives.
During that work session guidelines for use of the facility and responsibilities of duties related to that use were outlined. The final draft of the document is to be presented to commissioners for final approval on Monday.
The contract calls for absolutely no food or drink at the courthouse during Teen Court sessions, four to five security personnel, making sure the facilities are ready for business the next morning, and badges for all involved in the program. The agreement also requires parents to attend with juvenile defendants, and for each person involved to sign an agreement to obey the terms of the contract. Dempsey Bullock, Teen Court judge, or assistant judge Clay Johnson must be in attendance at each meeting, as well.
Teen Court will coordinate with 8th Judicial District Court Coordinator Cheryl Fulcher and with the judges who use the courtrooms on scheduling. They will report any issues to the judges' offices, and Teen Court is to be notified one week in advance, when possible, if an alternate location for the monthly Teen Court session will be needed, Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap said.
The court sessions have tentatively been set for Feb. 20, March 20, April 17, May 14 and June 19, pending courtroom availability.
Courthouse security officer John Hipkins and Ranger Kemp will serve each month to meet the two trained security personnel requirements. Sheriff Butch Adams also agreed to be at the meetings, and volunteered the use of his reserve deputies for additional security as needed. Board members and parent volunteers will also help with security, covering all of the contract's security requirements.
"We will be required to pay for the courthouse security officer, Hipkins, presence, so if there are any sponsors out there that want to help off set the cost, it'd be appreciated," Said Teen Court board member Monica Littlefield said following the Jan. 10 work session.
Those interested in donating money to help Teen Court offset the security cost should contact Jana Jenkins at 903-885-8041, extension 240.
Teen Court will also be required to designated an alternate location as a backup for the monthly hearing just in case a court session runs longer than anticipated and requires use of the facility during the evening hours on the day Teen Court is designated to use the courtroom.
Monday's commissioner's court agenda also includes recommendations for approval of bids for personal protective gear for the county fire department; property plattings; approving the county judge to work on an agreement with Shady Grove Water Supply Corporation on the terms for a $191,805 STEP grant from the Office of Rural Community Affairs for water improvements; budget amendments, line item transfers and paying the bills; consideration of any contracts or personnel matters submitted; resolutions and proclamations for "increased apportions" for additional manpower and equipment to the Cooperative Extension service's wildlife service unit for beaver and feral hog management and control, as well as allowing the county fire department to conduct safety inspects of county owned buildings outside the city limits.