Breckenridge Texan

Stephens County Commissioners honor 4-H members, approve purchase of new firearms for Sheriff’s Office

Stephens County Commissioners honor 4-H members, approve purchase of new firearms for Sheriff’s Office
June 17
13:34 2024

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

At their regular meeting last week, the Stephens County Commissioners honored the local 4-H Range Evaluation and the Plant ID team for their accomplishments at the recent Texas 4-H Roundup in College Station.

The team, which include Josiah Moreno, Kason Burchett, Aiden Boulevard and Isaac Tait, competed in the Range & Pasture Plant Identification contest and the Range Evaluation competition on June 4-5 and came in first place, earning the titles of 2024 State 4-H Champions in both events. Additionally, Moreno was named the overall champion individual in the Range Evaluation contest and the reserve champion individual in Range and Pasture Grass ID.

“Thank you so much for your recognition. It’s been a long run, trying to get to this spot,” Moreno said. “So it’s a great honor, with all of the great members of our team, to reach this point.”

The team was accompanied by 4-H leader and Stephens County Extension Agent Jessie Shortes and Jerry Corbett, a 4-H volunteer who serves as the coach for both the Plant Identification team and the Range Evaluation team.

“All our contests are statewide, except for the Stephens County Jr. Livestock Show, and at all but the livestock show and the State 4-H Roundup we also compete against FFA teams. So when they’re champions, they are truly champions,” Corbett said.

The teams practice twice a week most of the year, Shortes said. In addition to the senior team that was honored at the County Commissioners meeting, there are also junior teams, making a total of about 15 kids who compete in the contests.

“I would just like to thank all of our sponsors,” Boulevard said. “We have fundraisers, and that’s how we get to our contests and are able to participate.”

Stephens County Judge Michael Roach presented the 4-H team with a framed proclamation honoring their achievements.

Click here to read the Breckenridge Texan’s previous article about the 4-H teams and other ag-related accomplishments this year, “Stephens County team named State Champions at 4-H Roundup; ag students represent Breckenridge throughout year.

Posing for a group photo with the County’s proclamation honoring the Stephens County 4-H Range Evaluation and Plant ID team, are, from left, County Judge Michael Roach, Extension Agent Jessie Shortes, 4-H’er Aiden Boulevard, Commissioner Will Warren, 4-H’er Isaac Tait, Commissioner Eric O’Dell, 4-H’er Josiah Moreno, 4-H volunteer Jerry Corbett and commissioners Mark McCullough and David Fambro. Not pictured is Kason Burchett, who couldn’t attend the meeting. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Sheriff’s Office Weapons

The commissioners approved a request by Sheriff Kevin Roach to trade in old weapons owned by the Sheriff’s Office as part of a deal to purchase new weapons.

“So over the years, the sheriff’s office has acquired weapons; most of the weapons aren’t usable, so they just get destroyed. But, every now and then one is seized or acquired through the courts, and that is the reason why the sheriff’s office is retaining them,” Sheriff Roach said. “But they’re of no value to the sheriff’s office now that we’re purchasing new weapons. It’s such a headache to sell or auction these things off, I think the best way to make use of them is to trade them in for the firearms we’re going to be paying for. They did not purchase our ammunition, so we’ll be looking at other avenues to rid ourselves of the surplus ammo.”

At the May 13 meeting, the commissioners approved a request by the sheriff to purchase new firearms for the sheriff’s office, using funds from Senate Bill 22, which was signed into law last year and provides financial assistance to qualified sheriff’s offices, constable’s offices, and prosecutor’s offices in rural counties.

The sheriff explained at the May 13 meeting they want to purchase new handguns for all of the armed staff at the sheriff’s office, including the deputies, jail administrator and a couple of jailers who carry weapons when transporting inmates to places such as the hospital.

“The main intention is to standardize the weapons that the deputies carry routinely — or the agency as a whole carries routinely,” Sheriff Roach said. “Every large agency already does this. Stephens County has never been in a position where we could, but Senate Bill 22 is, possibly, giving us the ability to do that this year. I want to go to a nine millimeter. It’s a Glock platform with a plain point sight system. Obviously, there will be holsters that come with that, as well.”

Not only will the new firearms help ensure that every County officer has a functional weapon, but by standardizing the weapons used by the office, the County will save money by needing only one type of ammunition, the sheriff said.

Other business

During the June 10 meeting, the commissioners also approved several other items, including the purchase of a blackflow preventer for the law enforcement center and several changes to the County’s employee handbook.

The changes to the employee handbook include:

  • a policy regarding breaks for nursing mothers to express (pump) breastmilk in a private location without risk of retaliation and without regard to any other breaks that that employee may already get
  • updates and additions regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act, military leave, insurance payments, pay periods, paid quarantine leave, and other topics
  • removal of the County cell phone policy since the County no longer provides cell phones to employees
  • the addition of a whistleblower policy

Also at the meeting, the commissioners followed the advice of County Constable/Fire Chief Wayne McMullen and took no action on the status of a burn ban for the county. Currently, there is no burn ban in place. McMullen said that the drought index for the county is low right now. That means that, unless something drastically changes within the next week, fireworks stands will be allowed to sell fireworks in the county beginning June 24. Click here for more information about the drought index in relation to fireworks sales, as well as news about upcoming local fireworks shows.

The next regular County Commissioners meeting is scheduled for June 24. Although the agenda for that meeting has not been posted yet, you can check this link to see the agenda when it is posted, likely on Friday, June 21.


Cutline, top photo: Stephens County 4-H member Josiah Moreno, center, talks to the commissioners about the Range Evaluation and Plant ID team winning both competitions at the recent Texas 4-H Roundup. At the podium with Moreno are, from left, Jerry Corbett, Aiden Boulevard, Jessie Shortes and Isaac Tait. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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