The Lone Star Review - State

Hays County Commissioners Court May Need to Review Constable Budget

PLEASE NOTE: Nothing in this publishing or on this website should be taken as legal advice.

Hays County Commissioners Court May Need to Review Constable Budget

We first reported a disparity in traffic enforcement amongst the five Constable Offices. The Constable’s Offices for Precinct 4 and 5 had a high volume of traffic enforcement versus the other three Precincts.

We explained the statutes and authorities of Constables in Texas. Then we requested more information to determine if the two offices were performing their primary duties. The answer is rather shocking; especially when we consider budget talks and jail issues.

The Hays County Sheriff’s Office Does Not Perform Civil Process Service

Due to the number of traffic enforcement actions taken by two offices we wanted to see if the Sheriff’s Office was picking up the work load of any of Constable’s Offices.

We were informed the Sheriff’s Office does not perform any aspect of civil process service and it is not in the scope of the Sheriff to do such.

We also requested warrant service for the 2021 calendar year. The Sheriff’s Office provided the following information related to its warrant service.

  • Precinct 1: 142
  • Precinct 2: 66
  • Precinct 3: 15
  • Precinct 4: 20
  • Precinct 5: 45

None of the figures related to warrant service surprise us or indicate a problem with work load of the Constable’s Office. Precinct 1 and 2 seem to be the more populated parts of Hays County.

It was comforting to know the Hays County Sheriff’s Office does not perform civil process service. We know of at least one county which does perform this function and will be working to publish on the matter at a later date.

Civil Process Service Appears to Be Inconsistent with Constable Staffing Levels

We also requested the 2021 Calendar year civil process statistics. These numbers show a cause for concern with budget allocations within each individual Constable’s Office. What it also shows is Precinct 4 and 5 perform traffic enforcement due to lower work loads. Meaning, by statute, the performance of traffic enforcement falls in line with meeting their obligations under their primary function and not wasting time or money without activity.

In our request, we asked for the number of civil process received, the number executed, and the number of warrants served. Here are the figures:

  • Precinct 1
    • Citations Received: 2,131
    • Citations Executed: 1,892
    • Percentage of Service: 88.8%
    • Warrants Executed: 89
  • Precinct 2
    • Citations Received: 1,081
    • Citations Executed: 775 (332 were returned up executed as unable to locate the defendant)
    • Percentage of Service: 71.7%
    • Warrants Executed: 0 (the Justice of the Peace prefers that no arrest be made for class C’s and prefers the Constable mail notification cards. 206 notification cards were mailed in 2021)
  • Precinct 3
    • Citations Received: 288
    • Citations Executed: 217
    • Percentage of Service: 75.7%
    • Warrants Executed: 0 (no warrant officer for Calendar Year 2021)
  • Precinct 4
    • Citations Received: 217
    • Citations Executed: 180
    • Percentage of Service: 83%
    • Warrants Executed: 267
  • Precinct 5
    • Citations Received: 481
    • Citations Executed: 363
    • Percentage of Service: 75.5%
    • Warrants Executed: 104

Per the Hays County Government page the Constable’s Offices show the following staffing levels:

  • Precinct 1 -1 Constable, 3 full-time Deputy Constables and 1 Reserve Deputy (a current Hays County Commissioners Court Member)
  • Precinct 2 – 1 Constable, 4 full-time Deputy Constables
  • Precinct 3 – 1 Constable, 3 full-time Deputy Constables
  • Precinct 4 – 1 Constable, 5 full-time Deputy Constables
  • Precinct 5 – 1 Constable, 4 full-time Deputy Constables

Hays County Commissioners May Want to Reconsider Budget Allocations of its Law Enforcement Arms

Based upon reviewing the Constable work load it appears there may be staffing and other maintenance type costs which are not used in the best interest of Constable duties. This does not mean any Constable’s Office is performing improperly. It means the actions of the Constable’s have been correlated to the budget allocations and work loads of each office.

Whether the Hays County Government should consolidate offices or realign staff while keeping the offices open is definitely something to consider. The salaries of each Constable may be something to consider too. Much of this should follow some kind of growth plan.

What seems to be clear is the focus on areas such as the jail and turning ones head to proper root cause analysis may create poor fiscal management and improper staffing issues throughout Hays County; ultimately, creating a jail issue.

A Couple of Our Other Reads

You may be interested in reading about a prior Hays County Reserve Deputy Constable and his unregistered private investigation company.

Or you may find our story on a prior Hays County Deputy Constable and a jailhouse relationship of interest.

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