WAXAHACHIE — An investment in protecting the lives of deputies employed by the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office was made by county commissioners earlier this week.

The Ellis County Commissioners Court approved the purchase of protective equipment for deputies not to exceed $38,000 at its regular meeting held Tuesday, Aug. 8. The equipment includes items such as helmets, tear gas filters for gas masks and Self-Aid Buddy Aid kits (SABA), which are used to provide medical treatment to a wounded person during a call.

“We just saw a need and put it in the budget for next year. The commissioners' court saw a need for it as well," Ellis County Sheriff Chuck Edge said. "Since there was some money left in fund balance they just decided to go ahead and do it this current fiscal year (rather) than the next fiscal year."

Edge said the equipment would aid a deputy if they were to get into an active shooter type of situation and provide personal protective equipment before he or she enters a dangerous situation.

Edge stated the sheriff’s office currently does not have SABA kits issued to deputies.

“A lot of law enforcement agencies have these (kits). When we are out in the county our back up is a little bit further away,” Edge explained. “Should an incident occur we want the deputies to be able to administer some of (aid) before the cavalry arrives.”

The Texas Police Chief’s Association’s website states that SABA kits contain items such as a tourniquet, compress, gloves, quick clot gauze, chest seals, shears and tape.

Self-Aid Buddy Aid kits have been proven to save the lives of officers in the field.

According to an article from the Dallas Morning News published Feb. 18, 2014, officers used a tourniquet on the leg of Dallas Police Officer Joshua Burns after he was shot three times by a gunman. The article also reported that a tourniquet helped save the life of Arlington Police Det. Charles Lodatto in 2013.

Earlier in the meeting, county commissioners approved the date of a public hearing for the proposed budget. The public hearing will be held at 2 p.m. on Aug. 22 in the second-floor courtroom of the Ellis County Historic Courthouse located at 101 W. Main St. in Waxahachie.

Ellis County Judge Carol Bush told the court that they are working on the final numbers for the proposed tax rate for the budget but does not anticipate a tax increase. Bush added that the tax rate would be discussed at a later time.

According to a notice on the county’s website, the proposed tax rate is $0.393221 per $100 of a valuation. The previous year’s tax rate was $0.413599 per $100 of a valuation.

In other business the court,

• Approved a replat of two lots located on the south side of Marshall Road in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of Waxahachie.

• Approved a request to grant a one-time variance to allow a second residential dwelling structure on a property that has less than two acres and connect it to an onsite sewage facility. The structure is located at 231 Castle Ridge Dr. in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of Red Oak.

• Approved to grant a one-time variance from the county rules and regulations and specification for subdivisions and manufactured homes to allow one structure to encroach into the building line and utility easement. The structure is located at 150 Rocky Ridge Road in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the City of Red Oak.

• Approved to accept the renewal agreement for paving rehabilitation and resurfacing services.

• Approved for Bush to sign Xerox lease agreements for the agriculture extension office, the 378th District Court, the sheriff’s office and juvenile services.

• Approved to renew the service contract with Garrnatt Callahan for the sheriff’s office. The contract will run from Oct. 1, 2017 – Sept. 30, 2018.

• Approved to renew the fire alarm system annual inspection services contract with Impact Fire Services.

• Approved to renew the contract with Inmate Food Services for the Wayne McCollum Detention Center.

• Approved for Bush to sign a renewal agreement with Kodak Alaris for $781 for the Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office.

• Approved an order for the county and district attorney’s office to be exempt from the Texas Transportation Code that requires inspection of county owned vehicles for a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck.

• Took no action to enact a burn ban.

• Approved the application of William Johnson Howell to serve on the Emergency Services District 6 board.

• Approved to authorize the installation of four stop signs at the intersection of Old Maypearl Road and Greathouse Road.

• Took no action to accept Garney Construction as the entity responsible for road repairs to Hoyt Road and the south section of Richards Road.

• Heard a report on compensatory time reporting.

• Approved the transfer of administrative duties and technical assistance fee from the Ellis-Prairie Soil and Water Conservation District to the Ellis County Assistant Engineer for the emergency watershed protection repairs project on Chambers Creek flood prevention sites.

• Approved the application to the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board to implement emergency structural repairs to Chambers Creek flood prevention sites, under the existing watershed protection operation and maintenance agreement between the county and the Ellis-Soil and Water Conservation District.