The Dallas Morning News details the difficulties of investigating allegations of wrongdoing by constables. The paper revealed last month that constables have towed thousands of vehicles without accounting for them. Constables are elected officials in constitutionally established positions who have quietly expanded the size and scope of their law enforcement operations with relatively little internal or external oversight.
When Dallas County Judge Jim Foster tried to persuade someone to investigate alleged wrongdoing involving constables, the response was less than overwhelming. He said he first met law enforcement officials from an agency he won’t name about a year ago. In recent months, he said, he tried to get the Dallas County district attorney’s office interested but was not satisfied with the response. Foster went to Austin to seek help from the Texas attorney general’s office and was told that its staff couldn’t intervene without an invitation from the local district attorney. He contacted the Texas Rangers, who, he said, indicated that his concerns were outside their purview.