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Medical examiner’s quarters viewed

Commissioners discuss possible need for bigger building

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Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021 6:35 pm

Ector County commissioners today will consider using federal CARES Act money to buy a bigger building for the medical examiner’s office, which is currently housed at 200-A W. Third St. in Odessa.

In their 10 a.m. session today in the county administration building at 1010 E. Eighth St., the commissioners will hear Chief Medical Investigator Ron Inge seek more supplies and a cooler with a capacity for 20 bodies.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Gardner said Monday that the proposal’s feasibility had not been established. Gardner said the ME’s office had been using a mobile storage system for bodies during the pandemic, but the court was in the preliminary stage of its considerations.

They’ve been overwhelmed and are looking for a long-term solution,” he said. “I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’m not sold on it yet. I’m not sure if CARES money would cover all of it or if that’s the best way to spend it.”

Precinct 3 Commissioner Don Stringer said there was a possibility that a new ME’s building would be constructed near the sheriff’s office and jail south of town off U.S. 385. “They are understaffed and under-squarefootaged,” Stringer said.

In other business, the court will go into an executive session in part to discuss hiring a public information officer.

Gardner said a PIO “would provide a better flow of information.

We have talked about doing it and we have some interviews tomorrow,” he said. “I’m not totally sure I’m for it. We need to look into it a little bit more and see what ideas the applicants have and what benefits we would get out of it.”

Stringer said he had not considered the PIO question in depth, but hiring one would make it easier for the media to cover county government.

The court will also:

>> Discuss COVID-19-related issues and Gov. Abbott’s disaster declaration in response to last week’s statewide blizzard and power outages.

>> Accept one 30-yard trash container each from West Tex Disposal and Basin Disposal and thank the companies for their contributions in combating illegal dumping. A cubic yard of trash can be spread over 100 square feet, or a 10-by-10-foot area, at three inches of depth.

>> Consider installing additional speed limit signs at the intersection of Joan Drive and Robin Avenue in West Odessa.

>> Accept a $5,000 donation from Occidental Petroleum Corp. for the sheriff’s office.

>> Review appropriating $450,000 to hire JSA Architects and build an addition onto the sheriff’s evidence vault and armory.

>> Consider leasing property from MCA Properties for a law enforcement sub-station.

>> Discuss amending the county’s contract with Securus Technologies to implement video visitation for inmates.

>> Review hiring part-time nurses at the jail.

Odessa, TX

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