Friday, November 13, 2009

'Constables Gone Wild'

The title of this post is the headline to a Dallas News editorial about evidence that two Dallas constables misled investigators when they claimed not to have contracts with a particular towing company. An attorney for the towing company was able to produce the contracts with the constables' own signature on them. I agree with every word of the Dallas News editorial (something I don't often say), but especially this conclusion:

No one in this dispute has a shred of credibility left. Not the commissioners who recently approved the copying of the hard drive of one the constables. Not the district attorney who has been coy about whether his office is investigating. Not the constables who suddenly have signed towing contracts that a few weeks earlier supposedly didn't exist. And certainly not the towing company, which the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is investigating for possible administrative violations.

There are lots of words to describe this debacle. Straight shooting isn't one of them.

In a recent reader poll, 67% of Grits readers thought constables' offices should be abolished (though the Texas Association of Counties disagreed).

About the only positive you can say about the fiasco in Dallas is that it's re-raised debate over just what the hell these obscure, antiquated offices are doing in the modern era. In larger counties like Dallas where, unregulated and unaccountable, they've taken on workaday policing duties, the short answer IMO is "tasks that should be performed by someone else."


RAS said...

I believe constables get paid less than deputies or policemen so it saves money using them to serve supboenas etc. Their duties should be restricted according to their training.

Anonymous said...

On second thought, if the sheriff's deputies are too busy writing speeding tickets to respond to hours of calls begging for help from a bipolar man with access to guns who eventually killed himself and three others, maybe we do need constables out picking up the law enforcement slack.

Hook Em Horns said...

How about "Texas Gone Wild"? The public corruption, deceit and malice in the Lone Star is wide spread and thorough.

Anonymous said...

The constables offices are indeed antiquated and there is no consistency in their duties or training. They need to be abolished and the money used to hire more professional sherrifs (chortle).

Hook Em Horns said...

Revisiting this...that would make a great reality TV show!