As a member of the Civil Advisory Board, Constables Precinct 3, I have learned a great deal regarding the daily workload, the type of work and services provided, and the staffing needs of Precinct 3. Through actual participation in shifts, jobs and daily activities within the precinct and on the streets, I have gained a much greater understanding exactly how difficult the officers jobs are on a daily basis. They provide a service to our community that is immeasurable in terms of quality of life, sense of security, increasing our overall safety, providing much needed traffic patrol and school zone patrol, warrants service and so much more.
Here’s the problem, the Constables face a potential cut in staffing of 3 officers for FY2016. The budget is currently being reviewed in work sessions by the commissioners of Bexar County and Judge Wolff. The budget will be finalized by September 1, 2015 for implementation beginning October 1, 2015. If we lose 3 officers from the Constables office, as a result we lose a great percentage of our coverage and services.
* PCT 3 is the highest growth area in the county. Just look at all the new rooftops we see, traffic congestion and new schools being built;
* PCT 3 residents pay about 47% of the entire county tax valuation, as compared to about 18% for other PCTs, yet you do not get back more of your tax dollars in police services;
* PCT 3 officers are funded by property taxes and we are funded to work both inside any city in PCT 3 and in unincorporated Bexar County;
* All PCT 3 efforts are offset by incidental traffic or warrant fine revenue, bringing in 2-3 million a year, well over the cost of providing these services.
HOW TO HELP AND TAKE ACTION: Please email and/or call Judge Wolff and Commissioner Wolff to support our Constables request to maintain our current staffing at the very least and allowing the budget to be reflective of the tax dollars we (tax payers of Precinct 3) provide to it. The Constables produce enough revenue to completely offset their entire overhead budget…and as a taxpayer that makes terrific sense. They have earned our support to continue providing necessary services to our community.
There are also technology funds in their operating budget n jeopardy of being severely downsized. These funds are essential to providing body cameras, radio improvements, car cameras that protect your officers and taxpayers from frivolous lawsuits, and Automatic License Plate readers that allow us to capture wanted felons, family violence offenders and DWI fugitives by scanning license plates and these devices allow more work with fewer officers, which is the less expensive option to just adding more staff. Those funds should be restored as well.
As we continue to grow in north Bexar County, the need for law enforcement presence will continue to grow. The sheriff, our other area law enforcement option, does a good job but they cannot possibly cover our growing area on a regular basis given the need for them to be spread over the entire Bexar County area filling a variety of needs. You are all aware that Timberwood being non-annexed means we have no city services including SAPD. As neighborhoods around us continue to be annexed, it will become more and more important for us to maintain our current level of service with the Constables in order to maintain our quality of life in the future.
Today, in the Express News a front page article ran describing the pay raise to Commissioners of the Bexar County Courts while they are reviewing the potential of cutting services of law enforcement to our area? Does that sound like a good reasonable plan? I also understand there is ample money in the budget to maintain our services, especially with the increased tax revenue due to property valuation increases.
Last week, I sent a letter to the commissioners court in support of our Constables and would be happy to share it with you if you want the detail. Just send me a message and I will forward it to you. I have provided the facts above to assist you in crafting a personal response should you choose to help out. The Constable’s office needs your help!
Please send an e-mail to both Judge Wolff and Commissioner Wolff letting them know how much you value your current Constable services and the protection, service, quality of life and sense of security they provide to our area. Judge Wolff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and Kevin Wolff can be reached at email@example.com. Every message you send counts and may be the difference in whether or not we receive cuts in our services versus maintaining what we already have and deserve.
Questions? Let me know how I can help answer them!