Fort Worth

Wilson points to money saved in Tarrant DA’s office

Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson speaks to the Rotary Club of Fort Worth Friday about her office’s goals and accomplishments during her first year in office. Friday, Jan. 15, 2016.
Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson speaks to the Rotary Club of Fort Worth Friday about her office’s goals and accomplishments during her first year in office. Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. Special to the Star-Telegram

The Tarrant County district attorney’s office ended the fiscal year about $3.6 million under budget, top prosecutor Sharen Wilson told Rotarians on Friday.

“It’s the first time that’s ever happened,” Wilson said.

Wilson said she was able to give employees an average 4 percent raise in the current fiscal year, which started in September.

The office was budgeted to spend nearly $41.6 million in 2015 but spent just under $38 million, according to figures provided by Wilson’s office.

Also, Wilson said that starting Tuesday, a new unit in her office will be assigned to investigate violent encounters between civilians and law officers and also deaths of people in custody of law enforcement personnel. The unit will include two attorneys and an investigator.

“They will have the knowledge and the skills to make sure we do a good job on those cases,” Wilson said.

In 2015, police officers from three Tarrant County departments — Grapevine, Fort Worth and Arlington — fatally shot three civilians. And there were at least two deaths in jails, one in Tarrant County Jail, one in the Arlington jail.

Wilson, who became district attorney a year ago this month, spoke to the Rotary Club of Fort Worth at the Fort Worth Club.

Wilson says she has saved the county money in her first year in office

Wilson said one reason her office saved money is that the Texas Department of Insurance began paying for an attorney and investigator to pursue insurance fraud cases out of her office. That attorney and investigator took over 45 insurance fraud cases, Wilson said.

The state insurance department is doing this statewide to help county district attorneys prosecute more insurance fraud cases, Wilson said.

The fraud prosecutor started June 1, 2015, and the state has paid more than $118,000 for costs associated with his work, according to Jerry Hagins, a state insurance department spokesman.

Wilson retired from a state district judgeship to run for district attorney in 2014.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3

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