Constables play critical roles in law enforcement

Constables play critical roles in law enforcement

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Some area constables have been in the headlines lately, notably for running afoul of the law they're sworn to uphold. You'll rarely see these peace officers patrolling the county, but they play critical roles in both civil and criminal cases.

Paul Hanna is one of Lubbock county's four constables. He's actively worked for the county for a decade with 15 years in law enforcement. He said tackling this job takes a deep understanding of the state's constitution.

"We bailiff the JP courts we serve the civil process of the JP courts. We also charge under the U.S. constitution to arrest all offenders and bring them before the court as well as to suppress all riots, routes, and affrays," said Hanna. "So that gives us the whole broad prospects of the law enforcement field."

Lubbock county constables also work on criminal cases, civil process, traffic investigation, evictions, serving lawsuits, subpoenas and writs, and truancy cases. The workload can be overwhelming, Hanna said constant changes in state law means more paperwork at the precinct level. It puts the burden on the four constables for a growing Lubbock county.

"We have requested additional man power in the last budget," said Hanna. "But it wasn't able to be approved at that time."

Precinct one commissioner Bill McCay said managing and allocating the proper funds is a constant challenge.

"There is always a long list or wish list, things that gosh this would be great if we could do this, but it is going to cost a pretty chunk of change," said McCay. "So we really have these needs that we are mandated by the state to fulfill."

In the state of Texas constables are elected.

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