Now that we’re talking about law enforcers in Texas today, I want to turn attention briefly to an issue I have raised before — and likely will raise again until the Texas Legislature does what it should do.
When have you ever read about a Texas constable playing any kind of significant role in any case, or made a significant arrest?
I continue to be utterly astounded that Texas allows this office to remain on the books throughout the state. It’s an elected office. Yep, we elect these law enforcement officials. We charge them with delivering summonses and other civil papers to residents; they also are empowered to provide court security in justice of the peace courts.
Their powers go beyond just the humdrum of paper serving and bailiff duties.
In actuality, any of those duties could be done by municipal police and sheriff’s departments.
I have written about this before. The Legislature isn’t taking the hint, which I’ve said out loud is to get rid of the office.
The 2019 Legislature isn’t likely to budge on this matter. I wish it would. The problem lies in the power of the constables and judges lobby, which is significant in Austin.
The performance of the office as it has been handled in Texas Panhandle counties has been spotty at best. I’ve been observing this office for more than three decades at opposite corners of the state. I have watched it function badly in the Golden Triangle and again in Potter and Randall counties.
I realize that other counties put constables to more effective use than what I have witnessed up close.
Absent a total abolition of this waste of taxpayer money, my hope remains that counties are given the authority to toss aside constable offices where they don’t serve the public good.
I’m still waiting to read or hear about a constable making a tangible difference in local law enforcement.