An ongoing dispute between the Aransas County District Attorney and the Rockport Police Department is now playing out online. D.A. Kristen Barnebey has created a website to explain why her office will not accept cases from Rockport police.
The site was registered just over a month ago, but discusses a dispute that started back in July of last year.
That is when Barnebey announced her office would not prosecute cases that came from the Rockport Police Department.
It started when Barnebey’s office stopped accepting cases involving a specific officer. In a statement, she claimed the police officer was profiling defendants, on one hand and had secretly recorded a case preparation meeting on the other.
"The officer did not say that he was recording, and he has been disciplined for that through the police department," said then Rockport Mayor C.J. Wax, last August, speaking on behalf of the police department.
However since then, multiple mediation attempts have yet to yield a resolution.
Barnebey’s new website claims that since August of 2017, the D. A.’s office has accepted some cases "in which the Rockport Police Department follows the law"
However, the website cites "unethical" conduct, and states that the "Rockport Police Department has brought over 44 cases to the CDA office that have been held pending resolution."
One elected official says it’s time to settle the dispute.
"The bottom line is we just all do our jobs. That’s what we do," Aransas County Clerk Pam Heard told KRIS 6 News.
Heard adds some Rockport residents fear this ongoing conflict leaves a gap in public safety.
"They don’t understand, and they’re scared. They’re afraid that they’re not receiving the services that the government should be providing," she said.
Barnebey would not talk on camera, but she told us via email the website was not paid for with any county taxpayer dollars.