Brazos County veteran and mental health court committee expected to be formed

One of the items on the agenda of Wednesday’s Brazos County Commissioner’s Court will be to...
One of the items on the agenda of Wednesday’s Brazos County Commissioner’s Court will be to discuss adding a mental health court for Brazos County.(KBTX)
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 8:05 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Brazos County Commissioners are expected to take the next step in bringing a veterans court and mental health court to Brazos County.

Brazos County Commissioners will meet tomorrow morning to potentially create a committee which would evaluate the need for a veteran’s treatment county and/or mental health court. A veterans court would address the special needs of veterans struggling with PTSD and substance abuse who find themselves on the wrong side of the law while a mental health court will address the growing mental health needs of those in the county, Brazos County Judge Duane Peters said. General Bentley Nettles will serve as chairman of the committee.

Brazos County Precinct 2 Commissioner, Chuck Konderla, said the court wants the committee to move quickly to evaluate what’s the best “product” for local veterans and those who are in need of mental health care.

“Not necessarily that we would combine those unless the committee finds that’s the best way to do it, but making the best product for those who are in our county who deserve special consideration when faced with legal challenges,” Konderla said.

Nettles is an attorney and a retired general with a purple heart. Commissioners have eyed both a veteran and mental health court for a while and Peters said he is confident that Nettles will be able to assist them in creating the committee.

“It has the people that are going to be involved in a veterans court if it’s created,” Peters said. “Judge, prosecutor, adult probation, and of course veterans and a couple of others who need to be on that committee to make that decision and bring it back to the commissioners.”

Konderla said the committee will examine if the court could potentially redefine where someone is at in life and put them on a straight course.

“This is beyond politics, this isn’t a quick thing to claim credit, this is putting together the correct people to form a committee to identify what that product or products might look like and give the best product or products to Brazos County,” Konderla said.

With a large veteran population in Brazos County and the Brazos Valley, Brazos County Precinct 1 Commissioner Steve Aldrich said he is ready to take that next step.

“Anybody who is willing to write a check that says payable with my life on my behalf and the behalf of our country, if there is something that we need to do to meet their needs for having met our need then we need to do it,” said Aldrich.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peters said he’s seen an increase in mental health-related cases.

“I think in the jail they certainly have several times more civilians, non-military who are dealing with mental issues,” Peters said.

Aldrich said since the state of Texas doesn’t have many mental health facilities, inpatient mental health care often falls on the county jails.

“I think there’s a whole lot of underlining issues, problems exacerbated by COVID and we need to be there to help people with those things,” Aldrich said.

Once the committee is formed it still may be some time until either specialty court makes its way to Brazos County, Peters said.

“We need to take a look at both and then get some direction on what makes the most sense and how can we locally help that whole situation,” Peters said.

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