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Population Booms, Jail Upgrades, and Glock Clips: Sheriff Reynolds on Ongoing Battle for Security

Population Booms, Jail Upgrades, and Glock Clips: Sheriff Reynolds Reveals Comal County's Ongoing Battle for Security
By: Kaitie Moore Underwood | REALTOR®, Blue Collar Commercial Group
 
The Bulverde/Spring Branch Chamber of Commerce recently hosted an insightful event featuring Sheriff Mark Reynolds, who provided a comprehensive update on the latest developments in Comal County, Texas. One notable highlight was the population growth in the county, which has seen a significant increase from 165,000 residents reported in the 2020 Consensus to the current estimate of 183,000 residents.
 
Sheriff Reynolds also shed light on the possible need for expansion plans for the local jail.  The renovated Sheriff’s Office, a facility encompassing 72,000 square feet. Notably, the Sheriff’s Office has been meticulously remodeled to endure for several decades, with a projected lifespan of 40 to 50 years. In the coming years, the jail is set to undergo an expansion that will augment its capacity from approximately 582 beds to 1,008 beds, achieved through the addition of two housing pods. Currently comprised of 2 to 3 individuals, the dispatcher team is ready when needed to expand to include up to 20 dispatchers, ensuring efficient and responsive emergency services for the community. 
 
During the event, Sheriff Reynolds voiced his concerns, which he routinely appeals to the legislature about. One of these concerns is the availability and use of Glock clips, accessories that can transform a standard Glock firearm into an automatic weapon. Previously, these clips were only accessible from China, but now, domestic manufacturing has made them more readily available in the United States. Sheriff Reynolds is actively involved in efforts to prevent criminals from obtaining and utilizing these dangerous accessories, especially with regard to their potential use in schools, both public and private. He seeks to advocate for the deployment of law enforcement in Texas schools to enhance security.  The Texas Legislature has passed a bill that law enforcement or armed security guards be placed on every school campus.
 
Sheriff Reynolds also drew attention to the emergence of a concerning new crime trend in the area involving synthetic Fentanyl. Following the tragic deaths of four individuals in San Marcos, there are indications that this dangerous substance has made its way into our community. Of particular concern is a recent emerging national modus operandi wherein rags soaked in synthetic Fentanyl are deliberately placed in car wheels or door handles. Unsuspecting victims inadvertently come into contact with these rags, leading to exposure and compromise. This alarming tactic often precedes robberies, and there are apprehensions that sex traffickers may also be involved.   While there have been no reports of this in Comal County, Sheriff Reynolds asked that citizens be ever vigilant about suspicious materials.
 
Discussing the evolution of burglaries, Sheriff Reynolds highlighted the shift from "old-fashioned burglars" to "new-age burglars." The traditional burglars would break into homes and systematically steal valuables, investing considerable time in their criminal activities. Conversely, the new-age burglars adopt a "smash and grab" approach, driven by drug addiction and a desire for quick profits.
 
Another area of focus for Sheriff Reynolds is combatting the illegal resale of Catalytic Converters. He shared the unfortunate incident in which an officer was shot during a two-man robbery of a Catalytic Converter, resulting in the passage of a law bearing the officer's name. This legislation significantly hinders individuals from selling stolen Converters legally, aiming to curb this illicit activity.
 
In a bid to enhance security measures, Sheriff Reynolds highlighted the phasing out of paper license plates by the end of 2024. Due to rampant counterfeiting, the decision has been made by the Texas Legislature to issue only metal license plates, which will serve as a more secure and reliable identification method.
 
Lastly, Sheriff Reynolds touched upon the situation at the border, emphasizing the critical shortage of law enforcement personnel in border town police forces. It’s not uncommon for these border town forces to be operating at half capacity. While the staffing shortfall in the local area is not as pronounced as in these border towns, with 174 of our 196 current deputy positions filled, Sheriff Reynolds underscored the importance of maintaining an adequate force.
 
In conclusion, Sheriff Mark Reynolds' informative presentation at the Bulverde/Spring Branch Chamber of Commerce event shed light on the pressing issues and ongoing efforts in Comal County, Texas. From population growth to jail expansion, public safety measures to combatting new crimes, and advocating for stricter regulations, Sheriff Reynolds demonstrated his commitment to safeguarding the community. With a comprehensive overview of current challenges and proactive initiatives, his address served as a call to action for local residents and businesses to remain vigilant, support law enforcement efforts, and work together towards a safer and more secure future for Comal County.