Republican Ron Smith faces one more opponent as he seeks a second term as constable in Precinct 6.
Democrat Ken Williams, 56, is challenging Smith, who defeated Douglas Lee in the Republican primary.
Smith, 66, a business owner, served as a police officer in the mid-1970s and returned to law enforcement when he was elected constable four years ago. Williams, a licensed peace officer who has served for many years as a deputy constable in Dallas County, also served as a deputy constable in Precinct 6 from 2003-05. Both men are from Carrollton.
Early voting continues through Nov. 2.
Denton County voters can cast their ballot at any of 17 polling places located throughout the county. Voting is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday. This weekend, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Polls will be open for extended hours, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 29 through Nov. 2. Election Day is Nov. 6.
The Precinct 6 constable’s electoral lines are the same as that for the justice of the peace in Precinct 6 of southeastern Denton County. The precinct covers Carrollton and Hebron, those portions of the cities of Plano and Dallas that are in Denton County, and the southernmost portions of Lewisville and its extra-territorial jurisdiction, which includes the special taxing districts of Castle Hills.
A constable doesn’t enforce city ordinances, however. Instead, constables and their deputies are sworn peace officers with statewide jurisdiction for enforcing Texas laws.
However, most people become familiar with the constable’s office in the course of a civil dispute or a criminal matter that comes before a justice of the peace. Constables are often on the front lines when an individual or family is evicted from their home — something that has happened more often since the economic downturn.
“A lot of people think we just serve papers,” Smith said.
Technically, an eviction should be executed when it’s presented, Smith said, but his office has tweaked that.
“We try to find some common ground when they can move out on their own, rather than us surprising people and moving them out,” Smith said. “We’ve been fortunate in that it’s worked. A lot of plaintiffs have been very cooperative — it’s better for us and it’s better for them.”
Precinct 6 doesn’t see a lot of truancy cases compared to other precincts, Smith said, but he and the deputies have worked with parents when they have caught teens in traffic violations.
“Usually, it shakes them [the teens] up a little, because they have to go home and tell their parents,” Smith said.
Williams agrees that better communication serves people better, even in the eviction process, which he has seen a lot more of in the past 10 years.
“It’s better to work with people on the time they can move out, and the time we can give them before the eviction,” Williams said.
If elected, he would work for the constable’s office to be open in the evening hours, particularly because southeastern Denton County is filled with families who work during the day.
“If they can pick up their civil paperwork after work time, everyone benefits,” Williams said.
Officers would be more accessible for youth programs as well, he said. He plans to start a program that takes teens to tour the county jail.
“It helps them see that this is a path they really don’t want to follow,” Williams said.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
PRECINCT 6 CONSTABLE
• Hometown: Carrollton
• Age: 66
• Born: Muncie, Ind.
• Education: diploma, Southport High School, 1960; continuing education, Indiana University
• Experience: U.S. Army and Vietnam veteran, 1963-70; police officer, 1973-78; business owner, 1994 through present
• Hometown: Carrollton
• Age: 56
• Born in: Ashtabula, Ohio
• Education: bachelor of science in communications, University of District of Columbia, 1979; graduate, Collin County Law Enforcement Academy, 1994; Texas peace officer certification, master peace officer license, fire-arson investigation experience
• Experience: Dallas County deputy constable, 1997-2003; deputy constable, Precinct 6, 2003-05; Dallas County deputy constable, 2005-10