Baricades

McLennan County officials set up fences and other security measures around the courthouse in October in preparation for the first Twin Peaks shootout trial.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte, file

Crowds of spectators and media interest in the first Twin Peaks shootout trial fell short of expectations, and the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office is undertaking a full assessment of its security effort before the next trial, officials said.

The office spent almost $572,000 in overtime for the first trial. The cost came in even higher than expected because efforts related to Hurricane Harvey prevented state and federal agencies from sending personnel they had planned to send to Waco, McLennan County Chief Deputy David Kilcrease said.

“We knew last year this was going to be very expensive,” Kilcrease said. “We had to plan for everything. We had to cover every contingency that there was, and that’s what we did.”

For one, officials expected the courtroom to be packed with reporters, spectators and supporters of the defendant throughout the trial. Instead, it was sparsely attended, he said.

Now that the first trial is over and a second one is expected for the spring, the department will evaluate what worked, what areas could be trimmed back, and how everything unfolded, he said. Every law enforcement agency in the county stepped in and helped offset costs for the county by offering assistance in place of the federal and state help that was needed elsewhere, Kilcrease said.

There were many unknowns, and several courthouse officials and others involved in the case required 24-hour security, he said.

“All that being said, it is incumbent upon us at the sheriff’s office to be judicious in the expenditures of funds and resources of the county. We owe that to the citizens of the county,” he said. “We will definitely be trimming any area that we can without trimming out safety, because that’s what we don’t want to do. The last thing that we wanted is to have an incident occur that affected the trial or affected public safety.”

Twin Peaks overtime by the numbers

Source: McLennan County / 2017 data

Pay period OT hours Employees Cost
May 7-20 52.5 14 $2,459.95
July 30-Aug. 12 3.5 1 $175.04
Aug. 13-26 52.5 14 $2,459.95
Sept. 10-23 798.5 39 $36,098.15
Sept. 24-Oct. 7 1,189.25 61 $40,053.63
Oct. 8-21 4,963.25 131 $216,067.65
Oct. 22-Nov. 4 4,086 126 $182,148.01
Nov. 5-18 2,144.25 118 $92,147.05
TOTALS 13,289.75 $571,609.42

Overall, the security effort for the first trial went off as well as it could have, Kilcrease said. Sheriff’s office officials will report back to county commissioners after a debriefing and before the next trial, he said.

Sheriff’s office deputies worked just shy of 13,290 hours of overtime, worth $571,609, between May 7 and Nov. 18, with the bulk coming during the actual trial, according to county records.

Twenty-nine months after the deadly skirmish at Twin Peaks, Jacob Carrizal, president of the Dallas Bandidos chapter, was the first to stand trial. The first day of testimony was Oct. 11, and the trial ended in a mistrial Nov. 10 after the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

From Oct. 8 through Oct. 21, 131 sheriff’s office employees worked 4,963 hours of overtime related to the case. Another 126 employees worked 4,086 hours of overtime in the pay period between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4, according to county records. As the trial wrapped up, 118 employees worked 2,144 hours of overtime between Nov. 5 and Nov. 18.

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David Kilcrease

Kilcrease

But those overtime numbers represent only a fraction of all the hours worked, Kilcrease noted.

Commissioners have said the county is still in good financial shape despite having spent half its countywide contingency on the overtime.

There is about $532,000 left of the original $1,016,000 in the countywide contingency line item a little more than two months into the fiscal year.

County leaders still hope to get more money from the state to help cover Twin Peaks costs. The state has reimbursed $268,000 so far, out of about $1 million the county has spent on Twin Peaks-related expenses since the incident.

More than 300 steel barricades went up around the perimeter of the historic downtown courthouse Oct. 10. Access was blocked to curbside parking spots on three sides of the building.

The 315 barricades were purchased Sept. 29 from Dallas Midwest, LLC at a cost of more than $31,440, according to county documents. Precinct 1 Commissioner Kelly Snell and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ben Perry split the cost of the barriers out of their precincts’ road and bridge funds.

Perry said he had plans to replace barriers for his precinct anyway, and the remaining barriers could be divvied up between departments that need them.

Perry said he and Snell used precinct money for the barricades because time was short and it needed to be done.

“It was probably one of those deals where everybody thought everybody else had it covered,” Perry said. “I’m very confident and comfortable we can use those in multiple departments.”

Kilcrease said the need for the barricades was discussed several months before the trial started.

“If anybody has to take it on the chin for not communicating the timeliness of putting the barriers up, that has to go to the chief deputy,” he said.

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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