Commissioners considering consolidating constable precincts

Three Cameron County constables could be out of a job soon.

"They want to eliminate 3 constables in the county," said Robert Lopez, Constable Precinct 4.

He along with Horacio Zamora, Constable Precinct 1 and Cesar Diaz, Constable Precinct 7 are demanding answers as to why the county commissioners are proposing the elimination of their precincts to consolidate into only four.

"My concern is that they eliminate my precinct which includes Rio Hondo, Combes, Arroyo City. We're a rural area and the citizens themselves will lose the extra patrol that we give," said Lopez.

"You're losing this community policing that we have now. That probably won't exist otherwise," said Zamora.

The constables say if their precincts are combined with the others, their residents will be left out in the cold.

"There is spillover from Mexico at this time. In Port Isabel they stopped a cartel member from Mexico, and now is not the time to cut down on law enforcement we have at this time," said Zamora.

"I feel like it's very politically motivated. We were told by one of the commissioners when he first took office that changes were coming," said Lopez.

Cameron County Commissioner Dan Sanchez disputes those claims.

"It's not political. I'm not saying I want you out or you out. It's for budget reasons and they can run for constable in the four precincts if that happens and the people can decide to elect them," said Sanchez.

He says the proposed consolidation of the precincts will benefit the taxpayers of the county saving them roughly $280,000 if the three constable positions and the costs of their offices and vehicles are eliminated.

As for the safety of the communities in the precincts being considered for consolidation, Sanchez says residents will remain protected because none of the deputies will be pulled from their positions they will just serve under four constables instead of seven.