Orange County, Texas – Detective Richard Fergon with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department was

recognized in Monday’s Commissioners’ Court meeting for all of his hard work to

stop and catch internet predators that target children. 

The Department of

Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations presented Fergon with a

rarely given Partnerships for Public Safety Award. This national award recognizes

people who have made significant contributions to the DSH-HSI’s child

exploitation mission.

Nathan Curry with the Department of Homeland Security presented

Detective Fergon with the Award because Resident in Charge Agent Ed Silva was

not able to make it to the Commissioners’ Court meeting on Monday.

“We nominated Detective Fergon because he’s become vital contributor to

Operation Safety Net, a multi-agency enforcement initiative sponsored by ICE-HSI

office of the Resident in Charge in Beaumont,” Curry said. “In support of

Operation Safety Net, Detective Fergon conducts online, undercover

investigations, participates in search warrants and conducts digital forensic

examinations in support of HSI Child Exploitation Investigations, both in SAC

Houston area of responsibility as well as nationwide.”

Fergon has identified numerous child exploitation suspects and is relied

upon in support by HSI in the execution of search warrants, most importantly

providing digital forensic analysis. Forensic analysis is critical to the HSI-Beaumont

mission, where the office lacks the requisite personnel with such a unique and

specialized background. Fergon has become a tremendous asset to HSI.

In January 2010, the Orange County Sherriff’s Department began working

with Houston’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) and the Immigration and

Customs Enforcement (ICE) to help catch internet predators that target


Hiring Freeze

The Commissioners ordered a hiring freeze for Orange County earlier this

month, which will require each department to come before the court to request

hiring a new employee. This order did not include temporary help or part time


Temporary workers are hired in emergency situations or when an employee

is out sick or on vacation. Part time help are considered permanent part time.

The Commissioners decided that each department would be able to hire

emergency temporary workers at any given time if there was a need for it. The

department heads would then go before the court at the next scheduled

Commissioners’ Meeting to get approval to keep the temporary worker hired on

until they were no longer needed.

An example of this would

be for the Maintenance Department. When a custodian is out sick or on vacation,

they need a temporary worker to fill in until the employee comes back to work.

The Commissioners approved of Mark Wimberly, Maintenance Director, hiring a

temporary worker on an as-needed basis.

Other business

The County decided to not implement a burn ban even though the western

side of the County was starting to slightly show the fire danger risks again.

Jeff Kelley, director of Emergency Management, said the County probably has

another week before a burn ban should be implemented. Should the need arise

before the next scheduled Commissioners’ Court meeting, the County Judge Carl

Thibodeaux can implement an Emergency Burn Ban.

Pct. 4 Commissioner Jody Crump sought approval regarding the Orange

County Commissioners’ Court to issue a Resolution urging the Texas

Transportation Commission to provide the required funding to complete the IH-10

corridor between Hwy 87 and the Sabine River in Orange County.

“Most of the counties [in

our region] and cities have signed proclamations of support [urging the Texas Transportation

Commission to provide funding to complete the remaining IH-10 corridor in

Orange County],” Crump said. “I’m leaving for Austin on Wednesday for the Transportation

Commission to lobby for the $45 million to get that road done. Effectively

there is no money set aside for that right now.”

Crump explained that this

is a huge issue because that highway is the last thing crossed traveling into

Louisiana and the first thing crossed when coming into Texas.

The Commissioners signed

the resolution.