Starr Co. Precinct 1 Constable Resigns, Another Uncertified
RIO GRANDE CITY – Starr County is facing several dilemmas after two newly elected constables were found uncertified.
A county official found Precinct 1 Constable Daniel Muniz was ineligible for a state peace officer’s certification due to prior misdemeanor convictions.
Starr County Attorney Victor Canales said the commissioner’s court has to accept Muniz’s resignation at their next meeting. The court will have to then appoint a replacement.
“So he’s ineligible at this time. He can never become a peace officer and, therefore, he does not qualify under the statute,” he said.
The county attorney said he was working to remove Muniz before the constable submitted his resignation. He said the process doesn’t check qualifications before someone runs for office.
Canales said the county is also dealing with another recently elected constable who is not certified as a peace officer, Precinct 4 Constable Eli Martinez. He is currently in the police academy working on his certification.
“You can just imagine a person who has no law enforcement training going to conduct and effectuate an arrest. Now, it would be a valid arrest because he is a constable,” he said. “However, he could be endangering people, he could be endangering himself or he could be endangering the person he’s trying to arrest.”
CHANNEL 5 NEWS looked into the requirements to become a constable. The Starr County Election’s Office said it only takes a one-page application from the state of Texas.
“I would hope in the future that the state legislature would address it, in as much as to create a qualification to run for the office,” Canales said.
Martinez is working to get his peace officer’s license. He said his education track got held up when the police academy in Mission temporarily closed.
“They pushed it all the way back to October… I should finish on April the 28th,” he said.
Canales said he is still within the 270-day grace period to obtain the certification.
Martinez is currently working in the constable’s office while attending school. He said the Justice of the Peace Office in his precinct is being assisted by other Starr County constables.