Lubbock Constable: Office cannot properly serve public due to personnel shortage
Paul Hanna is the Constable for Precinct 1. His office conducts criminal and traffic investigations, as well as clerical duties and serving as bailiff for each Justice of the Peace court session.
He said it has gotten harder and more dangerous to do his job without any help.
"Due to the fact that the county is growing, a population size, we're at over 300,000 now, it's getting harder and harder for a one-man office to do all of the work that's required to us by the constitution and the penal code," Hanna said.
The Commissioner's Court is not giving the constables equal treatment to help properly serve the public, Hanna said.
"The Commissioner's Court this last time had us up in the court three times to talk about personnel requests, and at the very end, had decided that to help us out, they won't give us the personnel, but they'll give the sheriff four bailiff positions to put in our courts, thinking that's going to free us up," Hanna said.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Jason Corley said the court is trying to free up more of the constables' time, by adding part-time bailiffs to every JP court.
When constables are dealing with dangerous situations, Corley said LPD and the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office can and will back them up.
"At the end of the day, it's just like our personal budgets at home," Corley said. "Sometimes you've got this much money in this much month, and it's the same with the county, there's only so many funds available without raising people's taxes to be able to fund different things."
The court has met with constables about their concerns, Corley said, and they went through the budget multiple times.
"We've had Constable Barnes and Constable Hanna have been in probably three or four times. We've brought them back and said, 'Hey, hold on, let's look a little deeper into this,' so the decisions that have been made have not been come to lightly."
Even though this budget cycle has already gone through, Hanna said the need for more staffers is great, so citizens can receive proper service.
"As population grows, as the times change, we need to look at making sure that all offices within the county are adequate enough to be able to perform the duties, and currently at this time, the constables' offices are not adequate enough," Hanna said.
Corley said the court must take a "macro" look at the county to decide where to best allocate funds. He also said budget workshops are available online, so residents can see how and why these decisions are made.