My first year I listened to Constables Richter and Luna who felt they needed more help in their departments. Not feeling we could justify new law enforcement staff we settled on developing an active reserve program for both Precinct 2 and Precinct 3.
I set a budget that included needed equipment such as body armor and uniforms. We also included money for used patrol vehicles and related equipment. These reserve officers will be required to put in 20 hours per month and keep all law enforcement training and certification current. Commissioners Court also passed a policy protocol for everything from conduct to use of force. Everyone, including Constable Richter and Luna did their homework and I believe we instituted a cautious and effective approach.
Constable Luna jumped off to a quick start with his acquisition of vehicles and personnel. Constable Richter has been getting his into place and is moving along with his program now.
Constable Luna shared some numbers for his 2016 program, which started in March of last year. He shows 978 hours donated. One of the responsibilities of the constable is to provide security for the Justice of the Peace Court and the reserve deputies can serve in this area as court bailiff, freeing the constable for other duties. Some other numbers from Constable Lunas report is: 1.) Approximate calls for services 275; 2.) Deputies handled numerous misdemeanor cases as well as felony burglary cases (cleared by arrest); 3.) Deputies have conducted over 250 traffic stops resulting in the issuance of a warning or citation increased visual patrol presence is a proven deterrent to property crime; 4.) Decreased response time to citizens calls; 5.) Increased response to assist other agencies. 6.) Speed on service of civil papers has increased. Constable Luna is proud to announce that the total fee money collected for 2016 has increased by 2.8% and he intends for his reserve officers to play a role in collections.
As I have more information on the program in Precinct 2 I will share that with you. I am very proud to have played a role in assisting these two constables increase the law enforcement presence in their precincts in a very affordable way.
Thanks for listening. We want you to be proud of your County Government.
Bob Hurley is the Atascosa County Judge. You may E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.