Conroe, February 24 – Precinct 2 Constable Gene De Forest, a member of County Judge Craig Doyal’s “Hit List” of County employees who have not backed him politically, has called for greater Commissioners Court support for law enforcement. De Forest said, “I’ve been there for commissioners and our community in times of natural disasters and my Department has always served the community. The County Commissioners Court, however, is not giving the law enforcement community the support they need. DA Brett Ligon has said law enforcement is understaffed substantially. I absolutely agree with him.”
De Forest explained, “Craig Doyal was a county commissioner for 12 years before he became county judge. He never supported law enforcement as a county commissioner so I’m not surprised he doesn’t support us as county judge. Our community deserves the manpower on the street to protect their lives, their safety, and their property. The Commissioners Court just isn’t doing their job in providing law enforcement with the tools we need to combat crime.”
De Forest confirmed that he is a member of Doyal’s “Hit List” which Doyal and his top supporters developed immediately after Doyal won the Republican Runoff Election in 2014. County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw recently wrote of her being on the “Hit List” and Doyal’s insistence that she pledge her fealty to him in a February 13, 2017, letter Shaw sent to Doyal and the four County Commissioners. “I feel Doyal has used my being on his ‘Hit List’ against me and the citizens of Precinct 2 as far as taking care of the law enforcement needs of the community.”
Doyal’s “Hit List” reminds those interested in recent history of President Richard Nixon’s “enemies list” which he developed during the 1972 election to target his political enemies. Doyal has terminated at least two “Hit List” members, County Purchasing Director Darlou Zenor and County Infrastructure Director Mark Bosma.
De Forest thanked Ligon for providing the funds to add an Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) detective to the Precinct 2 staff. He also noted that local businessman Don Buckalew provided his Department with trucks for the motorist assistance program to get people safely off county highways and roads if their vehicle broke down.
De Forest accused the County Commissioners of forcing local law enforcement to engage in “reactive policing, not the pro-active policing that peace officers are trained to do.”
“Citizens need to call their commissioner and the county judge to let them know that we need more law enforcement manpower. The people elected me to fulfill my obligation to serve the people of Precinct 2. I don’t have the manpower to patrol and be pro-active and patrol neighborhoods,” De Forest said. “I’m only asking for things that will help our community which deserves adequate manpower on the streets.”
De Forest’s Precinct 2 Constable’s Office serves more than 5,000 civil papers each year, the most of any of the five Constables of Montgomery County, according to Constable De Forest. His Department has four administrative assistants who mostly handle the clerical duties associated with those civil papers and processing many other papers that must go to other Constable Precincts throughout the County. Additionally, De Forest supervises twelve law enforcement officers – one ICAC detective, one motorist assistance program officer, one narcotics officer, and nine officers who provide civil process services.
De Forest explained that one particular need his office has had for over a decade is for the Commissioners Court to provide funds for a bailiff for the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Court (Judge Trey Spikes presiding) so that De Forest does not need to pull an officer off the streets to perform that function when the Court is in session. He noted that Article 102.017 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure mandates that a court security fee of $4 be charged as a court cost for each defendant convicted of a misdemeanor in a justice court and that those funds are earmarked by law for bailiffs and other justice court security services. The Golden Hammer confirmed that Montgomery County does take those funds into its coffers with each misdemeanor conviction, according to County Budget documents. “Those funds should go to provide me with a bailiff and free up my other officers to patrol,” De Forest said.
The Citizens Budget Committee is presently working on line-by-line county spending cuts from the Montgomery County budget in order to achieve $100 million in spending reductions to eliminate wasteful non-law enforcement spending and to provide approximately $40 million to the law enforcement departments to provide them with additional manpower, training, and equipment.