New Bexar County Precinct 2 Constable Sworn In After Judge Dismisses Former Constable's Lawsuit | Texas Public Radio

New Bexar County Precinct 2 Constable Sworn In After Judge Dismisses Former Constable's Lawsuit

Oct 9, 2019

There’s a new constable for Bexar County’s Precinct 2.

Leticia Vazquez was sworn in Wednesday afternoon. Vazquez, a 25-year sheriff’s deputy will now assume command of the precinct 2 constable’s office. Bexar County Commissioners had selected Vazquez last week after nearly 30 applications applied for the position, however the restraining order filed by the now-previous office holder initially prevented Vazquez from taking office.

A judge dissolved that restraining order shortly before the swearing in.

Vazquez said one of her first responsibilities now will be training any new constable’s deputies in her office.

“I have a lot of support, I have a lot of backing with the sheriff’s office, everyone is offering to help to include training, so I can train my officers with stuff they don’t know, get the court back to the way that it used to be,” she said.

Constables, while peace officers, provide mostly civil services like acting as the bailiff for justices of the peace and serving legal documents like divorce papers. Vazquez, who has worked in criminal law enforcement and community policing said she would need to acquaint herself with that aspect of the law.

“I’m going to be doing some training, because I don’t know all the civil stuff,” she said. “I need to get brushed up on it.”

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar his deputies would be providing the necessary services like security at the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Offices which is the duty of constable deputies.

“We received word from the [Justice of the Peace] that the deputy constables were not at the door providing security and so as we speak Bexar County Sheriff’s deputies should be arriving them now to assume control and we’re going to be there until the new constable decides we don’t need to be anymore,” Salazar said  

According to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, Vela agreed to vacate the office via her attorney as the restraining order was dissolved Wednesday.

Judge Martha Tanner ruled her court did was not the correct jurisdiction for the suit and restraining order. The now-former Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela must vacate the office by 8 a.m. Thursday.

“Part of this transition will be making sure Constable Vazquez has what she needs to put her team together… there may be some folks from the sheriff’s office helping with that transition in the meantime,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Justin Rodriguez said

Vela triggered resign to run laws two weeks ago when she announced she would run for Sheriff.  Her tenure has been marred by accusations of allegedly forcing people a family to pay for security at a county park, and sexual harassment allegations, which she denies.  Vela’s office was recently raided by the FBI and her several of her high ranking deputies have been the subject of mismanagement claims.

Those deputies are still employed until Vazquez makes a decision on whether or not to keep them in her office.

“I plan on looking into everyone. I don’t know anyone there so I need to go in there with an open mind and see what’s going on,” Vazquez said. 

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.