Scott HensonNone of that explains to me why many of those duties aren't redundant with other agencies or why taxpayers wouldn't benefit from streamlining administrative functions and subsuming constables into county sheriffs. Where constables stick to process serving and acting as court functionaries, it's less of a concern. Where they want to establish competing law enforcement agencies alongside the Sheriff and local police departments, to me that improperly pads costs paid by taxpayers and creates too many accountability problems.
Grits for Breakfast
Sent by e-mail
Consider this an old-fashioned letter to the editor, regarding your recent on-line question about the abolition of constables in Texas. You should first understand that Texas’ 254 counties are too varied to paint one brush stroke across them all, such as abolition of all constables.
Besides, democracy’s way of weeding out officeholders whose constituents are not happy with them is at the ballot box. Also, commissioners courts may withhold budgets if they believe other officeholders are not doing the job expected.
Constables are constitutionally authorized peace officers who perform a myriad of important law enforcement functions. They are the first link in a county's chain of law enforcement. They have the same arrest powers and duties as city police and sheriffs, along with the added responsibilities of serving as judicial officers and executing civil process for the courts. They subpoena witnesses, act as bailiffs and execute judgments.
In large metropolitan counties, constables may perform patrol functions to alleviate the burdens on other law enforcement agencies. They may make criminal investigations. They may operate truancy programs and disabled parking enforcement. They may be heavily involved in family law services, including serving process in cases of divorce, child support enforcement and domestic violence.
Hence, the conclusion that Texas doesn’t need constables is wrong. It overlooks the significant contributions constables make to the overall effort to reduce the effects of crime in their communities. Constables are important cogs in the law enforcement wheel of Texas, and they need to remain such.
Director of Media Relations
Texas Association of Counties
Monday, November 09, 2009
Texas Association of Counties says constables still needed
Here's a dissenting institutional view on constables, received via email: