A week after a murder and a more than 15-hour standoff with the suspect, Kerr County law enforcement officials are still estimating the cost of the response, but at least one official thinks it could break one budget.
Kerr County Sheriff W.R. Hierholzer told the Commissioners Court on Monday that the overtime and expenses from the standoff with Fernando Rolon, who shot and killed Melissa Villagrana in the Walmart parking lot, could cost the county $80,000.
The Kerrville Police Department’s initial outlay was more than $12,000, according to Sgt. Jonathan Lamb. However, the costs of the incident are still being calculated, because time sheets have not been submitted by many of the officers who responded.
That cost doesn’t include salaried employees such as the police chief, assistant chief and three lieutenants, nor does it cover expenses, such as tear gas ammunition expended.
“That dollar amount hasn’t been calculated yet,” Lamb said. “We called in 21 officers/investigators/support staff (from an off duty status to on duty) during this event.”
Although the intent wasn’t to save money on overtime, calling in the Texas Department of Public Safety SWAT team allowed KPD to release officers from duty, many of whom had tallied 12 hours or more and were being paid at an overtime rate, Lamb said.
“We called DPS in because we were approaching a point where many of our officers, especially our (special operations unit) would be too fatigued to continue to operate safely,” Lamb said.
It was a DPS SWAT team that was on scene when the incident ended with Rolon shooting himself in the head.
To help Kerrville, Hierholzer added two extra deputy shifts during that incident. “I’ll be honest, it taxed the police department to the maximum of their personnel,” Hierholzer told commissioners during their Monday meeting.
“I was out 32 hours total before I got to go home the next evening,” Hierholzer said. “The overtime budget is probably going to be a serious consequence this year.”
Hierholzer said his department could be over budget by $80,000. According to county records, $45,000 was set aside for overtime in the sheriff’s office budget this fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.