Increase in sexual assaults lead GCSO to ask for investigator

Jerrie Whiteley
Herald Democrat
Grayson County's Sheriff's Office will soon be getting a designated sexual assault investigator to help the two detectives who have been trying to keep up with the county's growing caseload of such crimes.

Out of the 54 sexual assault cases Grayson County Sheriff's investigators have taken from January to May, 43 involved children. 

And the two county investigators that were working those cases had a lot on their plates.

So when budget time rolled around for 2022, Sheriff Tom Watt asked the county for permission to hire someone to work specifically on those cases.

The request was granted this past week.

The person hired for the spot won't be working alone. GCSO Captain Brian Ford said they have had two investigators for some time now that took it upon themselves to work those types of cases primarily.

And, they were constantly overworked.

"It just seems like the last couple of years more and more cases are coming in involving sex crimes including child pornography," Ford said in a recent phone interview.

A lot of the new crimes involve internet crimes against children.

Those cases can be complex and take a long time to work but they are important because those victims might have no where else to turn, Ford said. 

The increase in the amount of work might be partially due to the fact that the SO officers who were working those kind of cases have gotten good at knowing what to look for and how to find evidence that helps bring those sort of cases to trial. 

"We have become more proactive," in finding those cases Ford said. Some of the cases come to the SO through the Grayson County Children's Advocacy Center and others come from deputies who notice things that give them pause when they are investigating other incidents.

Ford said these type of cases take a lot out of an investigator but they are also the type of case that investigators who have a knack or a heart for it won't leave open if they can do anything about it, even to take a much needed break. Adding one more investigator specifically tasked with these cases will give the other two time to step away to prevent burnout.

The GCSO expects the position might be filled from within. If it is not, they will look for someone with specific experience in this type of work, Ford said. 

The Grayson Crisis Center could not be reached for comment.