Election 2018

With Denton County Precinct 3 Constable Jerry Raburn retiring, two Republican law enforcement officials from Lewisville are vying for the Precinct 3 constable office.

Constables are peace officers with certain powers of arrest. Although constables in Denton County have patrol functions and conduct criminal investigations, their primary role in the county is to serve as officer of the Justice of the Peace Courts for their jurisdiction.

There are six constables in Denton County, and each has their own jurisdiction. Precinct 3 covers Lewisville, Highland Village and Copper Canyon.

Jeri Rodriguez, 58, is the chief deputy constable for Precinct 3 and has experience working as a deputy for Precinct 6 and a reserve officer for Precinct 3. Rodriguez has been endorsed by Raburn.

Dan Rochelle, 50, is a Lewisville police captain who has served with the Lewisville Police Department for 28 years in various roles. Both are running for the Republican nomination.

The winner of the Republican nomination in March will get the post since no Democrat has filed to run in this precinct.

The most recent campaign finance report Rodriguez submitted shows $1,200 in political contributions, with $3,273 maintained. Rochelle’s most recent report shows $150 in contributions and $2,314 maintained. Older campaign finance reports can be found via the campaign finance portal on votedenton.com.

The Denton Record-Chronicle reviewed several public records in building candidate profiles for Denton County candidates, including campaign finance reports, voter history and employment history.

Candidates took the time to answer four questions about the constable’s position ahead of primary elections. Here are their responses in alphabetical order. Their responses have been edited for brevity.

Daniel Shane Rochelle

Dan Rochelle mug

Dan Rochelle

Age: 50

Born in: Arkansas

Experience: Lewisville patrol sergeant/police supervisor, 1997-1998, 2001-2004; Lewisville patrol lieutenant/shift watch commander, 2004-2010; Lewisville detention services lieutenant, 2010-2014, Lewisville police captain, 2014-present

Do you plan on receiving training through the Justice of the Peace and Constables Association Inc. and attending conferences?

Most definitely. I’m familiar with the association and know they provide training.

How are you planning on allocating funds for the constable’s office? Do you foresee any changes?

I’m not in the constable’s office. I have looked at their budgets. It’s mostly personnel costs. Most of the funds are going to pay the people. One of my first goals is to get to learn the county budget processing system, which I’m sure is very similar to what I’m used to at the city [of Lewisville]. Anywhere you go is going to have a different setup. You need to learn that system and be prepared for next year’s budget.

How would you establish and build integrity in the constable’s office?

I would keep the integrity going. I believe Precinct 3 staff has good integrity now, and I would maintain that.

This is an elected position where candidates run under a political party. How much of your political stances go into your decision-making?

There are very few decisions as a constable that you can make in the direction of a political party because, as a constable, you’re mostly serving orders for the court. There’s not any leeway on how you’re going to do that. You have to make those arrests. Much like a police chief, there’s not a whole lot of political party stances you can take; you gotta do the job.

Jeri Ann Rodriguez

Jeri Rodriguez mug

Jeri Rodriguez

Age: 58

Born in: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Experience: Deputy with Precinct 6 constable’s office, 1999-2002; reserve officer with Precinct 3 constable’s office, 2002-2007; warrant/civil deputy, 2007-2011; chief deputy constable, 2011-present

Do you plan on receiving training through the Justice of the Peace and Constables Association Inc. and attending conferences?

I have to do that anyway. It’s mandated. If I’m elected as constable, there’s a new constable’s course that is required, so I will be attending that. We have to maintain our 20 hours of civil process every cycle, which I’ve been doing since becoming a constable deputy.

How are you planning on allocating funds for the constable’s office? Do you foresee any changes?

I don’t foresee changes. We have a really good relationship with the Commissioners Court. Every year we put our budget request in; honestly, we’ve always operated within our departmental budget. I don’t see any major changes to that. We’ve always been able to operate within the budget.

How would you establish and build integrity in the constable’s office?

Honestly, we hired really good personnel. All of our deputies, with the exception of one, have civil process certifications, and that’s not easy to get. You have to work with civil process for a minimum of three years before you can sit with that exam at [the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement]. Being familiar with that and having experience is very important. You can open taxpayers up to liability and being sued, because that does affect taxpayers when a county gets sued. An officer we were given a few years ago gave us a completely new position, so he hasn’t been here long enough to be eligible for TCOLE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement).

This is an elected position where candidates run under a political party. How much of your political stances go into your decision-making?

I do believe in the core values of the Republican Party. An example would be our Second Amendment right. Being an elected official, I’d make sure I support that and would stand with the sheriff to not allow the government to take weapons away from law-abiding citizens. It’s my Republican belief to make sure I use good judgment and stand by those core values.

ZAIRA PEREZ can be reached via Twitter at @zairalperez.

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