Collin County District Attorney John Roach will get his gear.
The county commissioners have given up their effort to stop Roach from spending $25,000 on high-powered rifles, shotguns, helmets and shields to outfit a one-of-a-kind courthouse security team.
The commissioners, who approve the district attorney’s overall budget, sought a legal opinion but found that Roach can use asset forfeiture funds for the purchase.
“It’s very clear,” Commissioner Matt Shaheen said.
Earlier this month, he and other Commissioners Court members questioned the legality and necessity of having two dozen DA investigators don riot gear to respond to a courthouse shooting.
They still don’t like the idea.
Commissioners say the McKinney Police Department, the Collin County sheriff’s office, the Homeland Security Department and bailiffs provide plenty of firepower to handle an emergency.
“Here’s my concern: Who’s in charge?” Commissioner Jerry Hoagland said. “If a shooter does show up in a courtroom, who’s going to do what?”
Roach, who is retiring at the end of the year, said he never doubted he had the authority to buy the SWAT-type equipment.
The prosecutor is part of the executive branch, and controls funds that no civilian or elected representative can apparently prevent him from spending. Consider the implications for representative democracy.