Chief Deputy Rodeny Harrison was recognized at Commissioners’ Court on Monday, Sept. 27 for his recent graduation from the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. He was accepted in the the program early last year and was at this academy from July 12 to Sept. 17.

Sheriff Keith Merritt explained that since the opening of the FBI National Academy in 1972, more than 37,000 middle and upper-level management personnel serving in law enforcement have graduated from the FBI National Academy. The current curriculum focuses on leadership, management training (consisting of courses related to management science), behavior science, law, education, forensic science and health and fitness. More than 6,000 graduates of the National Academy now occupy the top executive head of his or her agency.

Top level enforcement management personnel from all over the world have attended the FBI National Academy. Each academy has around 20 law enforcement officers from countries in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. The academy offers training in both academic hands-on and physical fitness. Less than one percent of law enforcement officers in the United States have graduated from this academy.

“Very few people in this area, and the United States, get to go to this very prestigious academy,” Merritt said. “It’s not easy, it’s very difficult. We are highly appreciative for Chief Harrison for getting to go this. It not only makes you a better person, but it makes you a better law enforcement officer. I think Orange County as a whole will benefit from his instruction and everything he’s received from the academy.”

“Sheriff I’d like to thank you, I’d like to thank the staff at the sheriff’s office for one supporting me through this endeavor in my career and second I want to thank the entire county for allowing me to represent Orange County,” said Chief Deputy Harrison. “It was a huge honor. It was something I will remember for the rest of my life.”

Vergie Mooreland, county treasurer, was recognized by the court, as well, for earning a Lifetime Membership for her contributions to the County Treasures Association of Texas in the 20 year tenure she has served as Orange County Treasurer. The criteria for receiving this award is that one must either be retired or serving in the year prior to retiring.

“I served on that committee and they kept it a secret from me,” Mooreland said. “I was very honored to receive this award and to be part of the County Treasures Association of Texas and represent Orange County.”

Mooreland was one of four county treasures in the state of Texas to receive this award.

Bobby Fillyaw, director of the Orange County Economic Development Cooperation and member of the HOT committee, explained a few years ago the committee went before the Texas legislature to get permission to get a two percent tax on hotels and motels for occupancy and hotel rooms. Part of this funding is going to fund the new CHAMPS facility, but last year the committee started taking applications from different non-profit organizations around the county to help assist in projects that will bring in tourism.

This year, $904,239 worth of applications came in. The committee was only able to grant a fews of the organizations some money.

The organizations are as follows:
Bridge City Historical Museum will receive $14,100 for the preservation and management of the museum.
Bridge City Little League will receive $2,000.
The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce will receive $7,000 to help fund next year’s S.M.A.S.H.
The Heritage House will receive $7,500.
The Holy Rollers Car Club will receive $500.
The Lutcher Theater will receive $15,000.
The Historical Commission will receive $7,000 to cover some of the cost of reprinting some books that were destroyed by Hurricane Ike.
The Paul Cormier Museum will receive $2,500 for advertising costs.
The Vidor Chamber of Commerce’s the opening of City Hall, the Walk of Fame, Musical Festival and Barbecue Festival for $7,500.
The Orange County Economic Development Cooperation magazine will receive $15,000 to help fund the cost of the magazine thereby making it more affordable for advertisers to take advantage of the magazine. Those fund will also cover costs of marketing for the EDC.

The HOT committee also awarded $7,000 to the hotels and motels in Orange County to pay for their membership fees in the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association (THLA). This puts them on the internet, allowing them to have registration done through the web and makes it easier for people outside of Orange County to find their hotels.

The total of money being distributed to these non-profit organizations is $85,100, leaving approximately $120,000 for the CHAMPS project. The HOT committee now has approximately $250,000 for the CHAMPS project with last year’s and this year’s tax dollars.

Next weeks commissioners’ court meeting will be at 10 a.m., instead of 2 p.m.