ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer
New Caney, May 1 – Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden presented some of his strategic planning to the group of East Montgomery County citizens who attended the Concerned Citizens of East Montgomery County meeting on Monday, May 1, 2017. Hayden told the meeting that his Office’s priority is “to provide a safe living environment for all residents, visitors and those that commute through the Precinct, by professional law enforcement and civil processing standards.”
If anyone has embodied a commitment to “improve the quality of life for the innocent and pursue and bring to justice those who break the law” in this rapidly-growing area of Montgomery County, its Hayden and his team of 30 full-time peace officers as well as the reserve officers who serve with them. What was particularly impressive about Hayden’s presentation was that the Concerned Citizens only gave Hayden short notice for the presentation which Hayden, Precinct 4 Sergeant Jim Slack, and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department Captain Kevin Ray gave together to the group of community activists and concerned citizens. Ray is the Captain who commands the East Patrol Division for Sheriff Rand Henderson’s Office.
Hayden noted “I was elected to office January 1, 2009, and I hit the ground running to serve over 95,000 people that live in the 232 square miles of my Constable’s Precinct. The population and businesses are growing every day. It’s an exciting place to live and work here in East County.” Hayden’s Constable’s Department includes his Chief, a Captain, two Lieutenants, four Sergeants, and his Deputies. Constable Hayden has 30 full-time peace officers, 14 sworn reserve deputies, and 5 administrative staff people. Hayden made clear that many of his reserve deputies work very long hours and make as many arrests as do his full-time officers.
Because of the diverse nature of the growing East Montgomery County, Hayden’s civil and patrol divisions include an Internet Crimes Against Children unit, Swift Water Rescue, Environmental Investigations, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Drug Taskforce, and Special Response Team. Hayden also provides the Bailiffs for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, James Metts.
Hayden explained that, like Sheriff Henderson, his Office is working to implement “community policing.” “Community Policing” is a major component of the Strategic Plan that Sheriff Henderson presented on April 11, 2017, to the Montgomery County Commissioners Court. Basically, the concept means to “promote organizational strategies that support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to address proactively the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.” Hayden gave a great example of his officers’ use of bicycles in suburban neighborhoods to provide more direct access to the homeowners and citizen population in order to identify problems and prevent crime. In addition to his Bike Patrol team, Hayden’s Constable’s Office includes the use of an easily-accessible website, social media, a Citizens’ Police Academy (renowned as one of the best programs in all of Texas), other neighborhood patrolling, vacation watches for homeowners, and active participation in community meetings, such as the Concerned Citizens.
Hayden told the Concerned Citizens that social media, especially Facebook, directly contributed to the arrest of the bank robber who recently hit a financial institution in the New Caney area.
Captain Ray of the Sheriff’s Department discussed how Sheriff’s Henderson’s Department was working cooperatively with the Constable’s Office to prevent crime and to make arrests. Together, they operate a Real-Time Crime Center in order to gather and disseminate data related to offenses as quickly as possible in “real-time” or as events unfold. The Constable and the Sheriff track criminal “hot spots” through “heat maps” which show statistical crime data in graphic form, so the Hayden’s officers and Sheriff Henderson’s East Montgomery County Patrol Division know where best to deploy.
Hayden and Ray stressed that their Departments feel that they are in a “working partnership” with the public to control and prevent crime in East Montgomery County. Hayden told The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, that crime is the most intense in “areas where it’s busiest, the shopping districts that are growing in our community.” Hayden also explained that his and his team’s biggest “area of concern is trafficking in illegal narcotics.”
During the month of April, 2017, the Constable Precinct 4’s Office made 33 felony arrests and 45 misdemeanor arrests.
The Concerned Citizens of East Montgomery County are a terrific community organization that meets the first Monday of each month at the R.B. Tullis Library in New Caney at 7:30 p.m. The group has been active for more than three decades. The meetings contain community reports from each of the leaders of East Montgomery County, most particularly the County Commissioner, Constable, school superintendents, fire departments, and emergency medical departments. Captain Ray of the Sheriff’s Department is a regular attender of the meetings as well and will give you some of the most thoughtful answers you’ll ever get on matters pertaining to public safety. Both Ray and Hayden are characters who enrich the community of East Montgomery County.