The outgoing Mayor of Rockport, CJ Wax, is providing untrue information to Aransas County citizens. For instance, CJ Wax is quoted in a Pilot article that he has received no response to his request for solutions. To set the record straight, and allow a new mayor to start with an opportunity for real change, here is the truth.
To suggest there has been no proposed solutions from the County District Attorney’s office is misleading and false. Since July of last year, the County District Attorney and the County’s attorney have tried to get some type of City/Rockport Police Department response after many discussions with the City and police department leadership. At the mediation on February 9, 2018, the “list” and “specifics” from the County District Attorney’s office were discussed and provided on March 5, 2018, in written form, only to be denied by the City. These suggestions included items such as increasing communication with Rockport Police Chief Tim Jayroe, creating trust between the County District Attorney office and the Rockport Police Department, asking the Rockport Police Department to follow its own policies and procedures, creating a team that would report to the City on a regular basis about the ongoings of the Rockport Police Department and most importantly, following the law. These have been denied without suggestions for compromise. Impromptu private discussions with Mayor CJ Wax and Councilmen also resulted in no response. The Mayor and Council have hired lawyer after lawyer, only to seemingly dismiss the advice that they consider and follow the County District Attorney’s suggestions. One consultant, Tom Bridges, stated that …” I told Chief Jayroe that your interpretation of the Michael Morton Act was consistent with the practices of prosecutor’s offices around the State and advised him to comply with your request…” and the City continues to refuse to change.
In fact, we have asked for the law and facts supporting their refusals to negotiate and their attorneys have provided little to none. And just when we seemed to get somewhere after the County District Attorney office requested and set mediation, the outgoing Mayor chose to not attend. Mr. Wax instead told people the City/RPD attended three mediations which is not true. After the only mediation, the County District Attorney suggested that we hire an independent third party consultant to look at both the Rockport Police Department and the County District Attorney’s office and offer a solution and to pay 50/50. The City declined. Further the outgoing Mayor has also stated that the County District Attorney office is not accepting cases. This is false. The County District Attorney’s office has presented cases and secured indictments in more than 20 cases and will continue to review the City’s cases that comply with the law and are appropriate to prosecute.
Law enforcement agencies in Aransas County follow the County District Attorney suggestions on a regular basis because they are part of standards adopted all over Texas. DPS and the Texas Rangers have reached out to the Mayor, the City and the Rockport Police Department to discuss the many issues such as Rockport Police Department’s profiling, lack of cooperation and following the law. The Mayor has discussed the role of the District Attorney, the Michael Morton Act and the law with the Sheriff. The truth is the County District Attorney office remains open for discussion and from the beginning adopted an “Anytime Anywhere” discussion policy to provide transparency. Ask yourself, then, why would the Mayor mislead the public instead of tackle these issues? The reality is that without law enforcement’s investigation of cases, the crime cannot be prosecuted. Why then blame the prosecutor? Why not work together for a solution for Aransas County?
I am accepting cases from the Rockport Police Department when they comply with the law and I am permitted under my ethical obligations and duties as the County District Attorney of Aransas County. On behalf of the citizens of Aransas County, the County District Attorney office looks forward to the review of the Rockport Police Department by the consultant hired by the Commissioners and hopes that the Rockport Police Department, the Mayor and the City cooperate. Please know that you should continue to use the Sheriff’s office, DPS and the Texas Rangers because they have jurisdiction over the entire county and show the willingness to follow all State and local laws.