KAUFMAN –– It's been nearly a full month since the parking lot, execution-style murder of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse. And while the investigation into who is responsible spans the state, the tragedy has caused the issue of public safety to bubble up to the surface inside the county.
Six years ago, voters rejected funding a new courthouse, which dates back to 1955. The population in Kaufman County has ballooned since –– when the courthouse was built, 25,000 called the county home. Now, 105,000 do.
As such, Kaufman County Commissioners have returned to the issue.
"We are less than 100 feet from where he was murdered and so, certainly, that brought it to the forefront," said County Judge Bruce Wood. "We've known for several years now that we had a space issue."
The frayed nerves and emotions left in the wake of the murder is proof for Wood that, at the very least, now is the time to address improving and expanding the courthouse on the Kaufman square.
"We are trying to do the right thing," Wood said. "We are looking and going to encourage our citizens to be a part of this. We want a county buy-in for it.
Commissioners may vote as early as March 11 whether to send a construction bond issue to the voters. And while no costs or designs have been discussed, details may take a back seat to public safety.