Wise County commissioners Monday approved five reserve constables for Precinct 4, and as of Thursday, four had been deputized.
Jerry McGee, Brian Bernardo, Greg Leveling and Randall Joy will assist Precinct 4 Constable Kevin Huffman with serving evictions and writs as part of a reserve constable pilot program. All the men have law enforcement backgrounds.
If the program proves to be successful, it may be extended to the other three constables.
Huffman proposed the program in January, citing safety as the main reason he requested backup.
“When I’m doing evictions and writs, it’s nice to have someone to back you up,” Huffman said. “When you’re going to kick someone out of their home or you are going to take their property from them, I’ve had several occasions where people tend to get a little irate.
“If you’re by yourself, that’s not a good situation to be in.”
At this week’s commissioners’ meeting, Precinct 1 Commissioner Danny White asked why they should approve five reserves.
“If it was just one or two, they have other things going,” Huffman said. “I think that’s enough that I can at any time get someone.”
Huffman explained there are some writs he has to serve immediately so he needs someone on standby at all times.
“The other three are not requesting any, and you are requesting five. Why?” White said. “The question also was, if the other three are able to do their jobs without any reserves why does he need five reserves to do his job?”
“We just need an answer whenever taxpayers ask these questions.”
Leveling was at the meeting and said he completed manpower studies during his work with public safety organizations.
“Sometimes you can run through one or two people really quick,” Leveling said. “It’s nice to have enough depth. Four or five usually gives you enough leeway.”
He also said he and the other deputies would be willing to help the constables if asked.
“If there ever is a need, I can’t see Kevin not being a good neighbor, cup of sugar thing,” Leveling said. “It does provide reserve components so if one of the other constables is in need I can’t imagine a situation where Kevin wouldn’t be amenable for us to be of assistance.
“We don’t want any of our fellow constables to be in a situation where if they needed a spare man we wouldn’t come running.”
Huffman said he also offered the use of the reserves to County Court No. 2. He mentioned that when they’re not serving writs and evictions, the reserves may make phone calls to encourage those with warrants to come pay their fees.
White explained he felt he had to ask about the necessity of the program because it was a concern of taxpayers, although he added that most people were unaware the deputy constables will not be on the county payroll.
The county approved to pay the bond for the reserves, but the rest of the expenses will fall to the deputy constables.