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Bev's Burner
Some's Hot, Some's Not 

By B.K. Carter

"Bev Carter is the owner/publisher of the Fort Bend Star, winner of numerous state and national awards. She has been a voice of Fort Bend's largest circulated newspaper for 29 years."


Car 54, where are you.....I’ve heard rumblings from sheriff department personnel about a raise. Supposedly, a couple of employees did a salary survey and found that Fort Bend was way underpaid.

Then county commissioners authorized spending $50,000 for a salary survey and found the same thing. Now the cops are all up in the air because they think they are not going to get one.

If some of their command staff would give up their take home cars, maybe the department could afford to give them a raise.

There are currently 118 take home cars in the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department. Now these are not patrol cars. Oh no, patrol cars are shared between two shifts. No, these are cars that employees drive home and the county provides not only the cars, but gas, tire, oils, batteries, insurance, etc.

What I’ve complained about for years is that many of these cars are driven out of Fort Bend County, and many of them are driven by people who have non-24 hour jobs.

Why, pray tell, does the head of the sheriff’s human resources need a take home ride? Why does the jail supervisor need a take home car?

I could cite employee after employee who have county furnished rides, and who drive them from home to work and back again.

I saw an article from the Dallas Morning News earlier this year whereby the Dallas sheriff was being questioned because she had issued take home cars to unauthorized personnel. Seems that in Dallas County, unlike in Fort Bend County, the commissioners keep a pretty tight rein on their sheriff, and if someone gets an unauthorized car issued to them, it is scrutinized by commissioners.

By the way, Dallas County has 33 authorized take home cars. The commissioners had called the sheriff to task because the number of take home cars had crept up to 41. Forty one in a county that is triple the population of Fort Bend!!!

No, wait. Fort Bend’s estimated population in 2006, according to the U.S. Census Bureau was 493,187--Dallas population from the same source---2,245,815.

The same newspaper articles says each take-home vehicle costs taxpayers about $33,700.

Dallas has 1 3/4 million more people than Fort Bend, but Fort Bend has three times the number of take home cars.

Dallas commissioners would have apoplexy if they were sitting on the Fort Bend bench. Makes you wonder what the Fort Bend commissioners are afraid of.

Oh, what is the budget at the Fort Bend Sheriff’s Department?

Would you believe $78 million.

I know 118 take-home cars are a drop in the bucket compared to the sheriff’s total budget, but they are indicative of the waste and favoritism rampant in that department.

A time to remember........ www.Ancestry.com choose Thursday of the week before Memorial Day to unveil more than 90 million U.S. war records which can be accessed for free until the anniversary of D Day on June 6. Records include the first English settlement at Jamestown in 1607 through the Vietnam War’s end in 1975 and includes the names and gravestone details of 3.5 million deceased U.S. soldiers, including 2,000 who died in Iraq.

The records came from the National Archives and Records Administration and include 37 million images, draft registration cards from both world wars, military yearbooks, prisoner-of-war records from four wars, unit rosters from the Marine Corps from 1893 through 1958, and Civil War pension records.

I’m telling you this because several years ago I wrote about the death of my Uncle David Nealon Compton, whom everyone called Nealon, in World War II and how it affected the life of my grandparents until their deaths many years later.

Uncle Nealon was a co-pilot of a bomber and was supposedly shot down over Innsbruck, Austria. His body was never recovered, according to my grandparents.

I remember a visit from the Army after the war when they wanted my grandparents to accept the remains of a body. I can’t remember now where it was found, but my grandparents claimed the dental records and height didn’t match my uncle.

Perhaps they just didn’t want to believe he was gone. As long as his body was not found, they could still believe he was alive and had amnesia or captured by the Russians and taken to the Soviet Union, or any number of other scenarios.

I remembered the military types telling my grandparents that they would take care of him since my grandparents wouldn’t.

So this Memorial Day weekend, I looked up David N. Compton on the new www.Ancestry.com website and sure enough I found where the Air Force had buried him--David N Compton, Second Lieutenant, Army, Neuville-En-Condroz Permanent Cemetery, Belgium. Through the same internet search, I also discovered that, according to Army records, he was in the 727th Bomber Squadron, 451st Bomber, and his date of death is listed as Feb. 25, 1945 in Ardennes, France.

I can’t figure out how he died in Ardennes, France, since his bomber was blown up over Innsbruck and some of his group bailed out and survived. However, no one that my grandparents talked to remember seeing his parachute open.

Nearly every family has lost someone during some past war. This website is great for looking up relatives in past conflicts, and what better time to remember them than on Memorial Day.


Contact bkcstar@earthlink.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  June 13, 2007