Ector County D.A.: Record Number of Felony Cases Expected This Year

Ector County D.A.: Record Number of Felony Cases Expected This Year

ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) - It's a record-setting year for the Ector County District Attorney's Office.

"When you have a downturn in the economy and an increase in population, those kinds of things will happen," said Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland.

3,000 felony cases are expected, breaking the 2013 record of 2,200.

Cpl. Steve LeSueur, Public Information Officer of the Odessa Police Department, says to date, the department has processed about 1,000 felony arrests.

"A lot of those have been arrested for multiple felony charges. So the number is believed to be much higher than that," said LeSueur.

Odessa Police make more than five felony arrests a day. They say within the past six months, officers have seen an increase in the more violent crimes. Although there are many factors that come into play with this change, they say the status of the economy could be the bigger culprit.

"I wish I had a crystal ball because I can't tell you whether it will go up or not. We knew we would get more when we got a larger population and we saw that. It wasn't so outrageous that we couldn't handle it, but now it's to a point that we need to take action," said Bland.

With more work on their shoulders than ever before, Bland came up with a plan.

"Our goal is to reduce the jail population significantly over the next year so we won't have to send these prisoners out of town and we can save the county some money," he said.

He approached county commissioners with a proposition: To get more help in the DA's office, which will process the cases quicker.

His wish was granted with three more prosecutors on his team. He says this change will save the county $400,000 this year and into the millions the years that follow.