Constables have the oldest law enforcement position in the world. On March 5th, 1823, Constable Thomas Alley was appointed in Stephen F. Austin’s original colony, and sworn in by Judge John Tumlinson, making the Constables the first law enforcement in Texas.
Each precinct has an elected law enforcement representative (constable) and local judicial representative (justice of the peace). The constable, through Constitutional authority, can enforce both civil and criminal laws.
Joe Montgomery serves as the Gray County Constable for precincts two and four. Previously, Montgomery served as Constable for Wheeler County. Being elected in 1988 and taking office in 1989, Montgomery served for five terms, totaling 17 years overall.
Eventually, Montgomery moved to Pampa and worked for the Gray County Sheriff’s Office for 5 years. Once Chris Lockridge decided not to run for the constable position again, Montgomery ran and is now in his 11th year serving Gray County.
Montgomery summarized the typical responsibilities of the constables.
“We mainly do the civil process. I preside over precincts two and four and Jason Rushing takes care of precincts one and three,” Montgomery said. “We work well together. We can also issue traffic citations and work as bailiffs. We can do it all but we mainly stick to civil process.”
Though he heavily enjoys his career, Montgomery acknowledges that there are challenges that come with it as well.
“A lot of the times, the bad part of the job is evictions,” Montgomery said. “It’s dangerous, especially when you have to remove them from the house.”
Montgomery offers his advice to those interested in persuing a constable position or similar law enforcement job.
“In order to be a Constable, you need to have law enforcement experience and your peace officer license,” Montgomery said. “If you don’t, then you must have an associate’s degree and after being elected, you have 270 days to get certified.”
Montgomery spoke highly of the work ethic that the law enforcement agencies have in Gray County.
“I work well with the Department of Public Safety, Pampa Police Department, Gray County Sheriff’s Office, and Lefors City Marshal,” Montgomery said. “We are all in this together and we’ve got each other’s back.”
For more information about the Gray County Constables, contact (806) 669-8002 or (806) 669-8056.
***Sections of this article were provided from Texas Constables: 200 Years of Excellence, by Constable Jevonne Pollard, Jefferson County.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here