UPDATE: 4 East Texas lawmen arrested
SMITH COUNTY — DPS Regulatory Agents and Texas Rangers have arrested three Smith County Precinct 3 Deputy Constables for violations of the Texas Private Security Act.
In an investigation that began in 2011, DPS received information that the constables had been providing security for three locations in Smith County without having obtained proper licensure.
The Texas Occupations Code, chapter 1702.322, outlines the exemptions and conditions under which full time peace officers may provide security related services.
http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/psb/docs/Chap1702OccCodewithChgs.pdf , page 20.
Four deputy constables—Monty Ward, Thomas Burns, Mark Pierce, and Justin Stockwell—will be charged with operating a private security company without a license, a Class A Misdemeanor.
Release from Texas DPS
Smith County Precinct 3 Constable Dustin Rust began inquiring about obtaining additional fuel money for his office in the spring of 2011. He formalized his request to the commissioners court in writing on May 25, 2011 for a budget amendment to increase his fuel money allotment. Additionally, the commissioners court obtained the minutes from meetings of a local homeowners' association indicating the potential use of county assets for private security work performed by the Pct. 3 Constable’s Office.
As part of its budgetary responsibility the commissioners court issued subpoenas seeking documentation of any private security contracts or activities documenting private security work being performed by the Pct. 3 Constable’s Office. The commissioners court forwarded the results of its preliminary investigation to an outside independent law enforcement agency in the summer of 2011.
Of particular concern to commissioners is the possibility of unauthorized and potentially improper use of county resources. After referring the matter to law enforcement, the commissioners court has had no further involvement and will make no further comment regarding any pending criminal investigation of the Pct. 3 Constable’s Office.
Release from Smith County
Dustin Rust, Smith County Constable from Precinct 3, tells KFXK, his department is accused of stealing fuel for use in their off-duty jobs.
Rust says the commissioners court launched the investigation, during which three or four deputies involved were found to be unauthorized for off-duty work.
According to Rust, the law states that employees must have full benefits in order to perform off-duty work. However, Constable Rust tells KFXK, the employees in question are all full-time employees with benefts, but lack health insurance coverage.
These employees are being charged with misdeamenors.
Not long ago, officials from the City of Whitehouse were being investigated by Constable Rust for similar charges.
Click here for a link to KFXK's story from the beginning of February when the Texas Rangers took over the investigation into the Whitehouse officials for what have been called "financial irregularities".