Ellis County Commissioners gave their approval for a key to be issued to Constable Mike Jones to secure a room used to store evidence at the Precinct 4 sub-courthouse on Tuesday.
Jones told the court the space his department has to work out of is limited to a single room and makes it difficult to conduct business. The place he is using for storage is currently issued to the county’s IT department and can’t be locked.
“The complaint that I have is the lack of office space in the new building that the county has now acquired and been outfitting,” Jones said. “That building has 5,500 square feet. What has happened is I have been regulated to 220 square feet for my whole entire office.”
Jones explained he has gone from three offices to one, which is not satisfactory for law enforcement operations. There is also no formal property room.
He stated the limited space makes it difficult for him to meet with people and to conduct business.
The precinct 4 sub-courthouse and constable's offices were formerly located at the Midlothian Police Department located off of U.S. Highway 67. The City of Midlothian evicted the county from the building due to alleged ongoing issues between Jones and a city employee.
“I can’t meet with anyone without having to kick my deputies out of the office,” Jones said. “I can’t fit everything that I have into this one room as constable," Jones explained. "I have no security for any of the contraband.”
Jones presented a proposal to increase the space his office needs to function by adding two offices that are vacant. These additional rooms would provide adequate room for his operations.
Jodi Platt, an Ellis County purchasing agent, stated the offices have been designated for the use of IT and the fire marshal’s office. She noted they haven’t moved due to busy schedules.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Kyle Butler stated the construction plans call for Jones' office to be moved up to the front of the building to help provide security.
Jones explained this move would not work because the constable’s office needs to be in a secured part of the building due to its operations.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Paul Perry asked Jones how the property is stored currently.
Jones stated it is unsecured and open to theft.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Lane Grayson shared his fellow commissioners' thoughts that a key needed to be issued in the interim.
Commissioners approved the issuance of a key.
Jones' request for additional office space will be reviewed at future commissioner court. The issuance of office and storage is under the direction of the county judge’s office.
Commissioners approved a final judgment to Jones in connection with the civil case he won against the county totaling $34,752. The funds are back salary and benefits that Jones did not receive while temporarily suspended from office.