The Bell County Attorneys Office is currently one of the fourth busiest in the state of Texas in processing cases, the Harker Heights Rotary Club learned Feb. 7.
Bell County Attorney James Nichols shared this and other statistics as the meeting’s guest speaker.
“I’m from the ‘Law and Order’ TV show era,” he said. “I watched that show and thought there’s still a little bit of reality in TV. But I was also convinced, we’re a lot busier.”
Currently, the most prevailing problem in the county is driving while intoxicated, Nichols said, with domestic violence coming in at a close second. Last year, more than 12,000 misdemeanor crimes were committed, not including traffic tickets.
The number and type of misdemeanors can affect the quality of life in a city or county, Nichols said.
“We don’t take these cases lightly, because many times they are a determining factor where a family chooses to live in Bell County.”
The work of the Bell County Attorneys Office includes the prosecution of adult major misdemeanor offenders, such as DWI, domestic violence, motor vehicle burglary and some animal abuse offenses. They also oversee the prosecution of juvenile delinquents (i.e. under 17 years old) mostly for felony offenses ranging from major theft to murder, Nichols said.
Nichols said the Bell County Attorney’s Office represents the Child Protective Services agency when children are removed from a home due to abuse or neglect and the court is required to oversee their well-being until a suitable place to stay has been established.
“This is the most critical of all of our responsibilities because sometimes this scenario includes the termination of parental rights,” he said. “Therefore, it involves immediate protection of defenseless children from abusive parents and revolting conditions.”
The next meeting of the Rotary Club is 7 to 8 a.m. Thursday at the Killeen ISD Career Center, 1320 Stagecoach Road Killeen.