Image: Precinct 4 Montgomery County Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden whom the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement intends to suspend as a licensed peace officer for six (6) months along with four of the Deputies in his Constable’s Department for turning in false training and certification documents.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE, DECEMBER 31, 2019: THERE HAS BEEN A MAJOR UPDATE TO THIS STORY. THE TEXAS COMMISSION ON LAW ENFORCEMENT CLEARED CONSTABLE KENNETH “ROWDY” HAYDEN OF ALMOST ALL CHARGES. PLEASE SEE “Texas Commission On Law Enforcement Clears Hayden Of Wrongdoing Related To Alleged Errors In Reporting Training,” The Golden Hammer, December 31, 2019.
New Caney and Austin, June 7 – The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE), the Texas State agency which licenses and certified peace officers in the State of Texas, will notify Precinct 4 Montgomery County Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden and four of his Deputy Constables that TCOLE intends to suspend their licenses for six (6) months. While TCOLE’s Director of Governmental Relations and Media Contact Gretchen Grigsby would not confirm the suspension, an office in the Enforcement Division of TCOLE as well as several individuals who are Montgomery County employees have confirmed the upcoming suspension.
Hayden and the four Deputies will have the opportunity to challenge TCOLE’s findings and the severity of the punishment. The four Deputies are Chief Deputy Barry Welch, Deputy Cory Arnold, Deputy Richard “Ricky” Ford, and Deputy Bryan Hosler. Welch and Ford are also licensed trainer for TCOLE certification classes who will lose their training certification as well.
Grigsby did confirm that the five officers are on “enforcement holds” with TCOLE, meaning that they may not seek employment as peace officers with any law enforcement agencies presently (other than where they presently work).
Hayden declined to comment. Montgomery County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw also declined to comment.
TCOLE has investigated Hayden and Welch over whether or not they turned in false training and certification documents to the state agency with respect to a civil law class they supposedly took. The documents involve instances where Hayden and Welch were course students and also circumstances where they provided training to others. Civil law is the centerpiece of the constitutional duties of a Constable under Texas law, since their required duties involve service of civil process, such as lawsuits and civil complaints.
TCOLE investigators spent several days examining records in Hayden’s Constable’s Office in New Caney beginning on Thursday, June 7, 2018. The investigators returned to Hayden’s Office for another day of investigation on Tuesday, June 12. They have also investigated records at the City of Roman Forest, which is the official “training provider” for law enforcement agencies in East Montgomery County. TCOLE investigators have returned to Montgomery County to interview witnesses and review internal documents inside of law enforcement agencies. The investigation also included whether Welch has engaged in retributive actions against potential witnesses involved in the TCOLE investigation, which has become a major component of the evidence the Attorney General’s Office is likely to adduce before the Grand Jury.
Two TCOLE enforcement officers who spoke with The Golden Hammer, on the condition of anonymity, stated that an appeal of the suspensions would likely not find much success.
Since the Deputies receive their County government compensation as peace officers, it’s unclear how the County government could continue to employ the four who are not elected officials on the County government payroll. Since Hayden is the elected Constable, it’s likely that he would continue to receive his salary during the suspension.
Hayden spoke with The Golden Hammer on Thursday, June 14, 2018, and confirmed the pendency of the investigation. He did, however, state, “We’ve provided TCOLE with information that we believe shows that we are in full compliance with TCOLE regulations and with Texas law.” Hayden explained that he provided the information to TCOLE on Wednesday, June 13, but that he could not comment further about the matter because it is an ongoing investigation.
”I try to provide the best public safety and law enforcement services to keep the people of East Montgomery County safe,” Hayden told this newspaper. “Serving this community is what I love to do.”
Hayden remains a popular Constable in Precinct 4 who maintains a close political alliance with Precinct 4 County Commissioner James Metts. Both Metts and Hayden are members of the Davenport Ring, the group of politicians who have taken their direction from corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport.
TCOLE is the main regulatory agency for all certified peace officers in the State of Texas, including sheriffs, deputies, constables and their deputies, marshals, police officers, and other similar law enforcement positions. All law enforcement officers must take 40 hours of continuing education, training, and certifications every two (2) years. Constables and their deputies must have 20 hours every two years in civil process, since that is the primary statutory duty of constables under Texas law.
In recent years, TCOLE and local law enforcement agencies have become far more strict to ensure compliance with the education, training, and certification requirements.
TCOLE’s investigation involved some criminal proceedings as well as a referral of the cases to the Office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. During the investigation, however, a TCOLE Sergeant mistakenly complete a probable cause affidavit to support a search warrant with the wrong telephone number on the affidavit and issued search warrant for telephone records. As a result, TCOLE terminated the employment of the investigating Sergeant. Paxton and TCOLE decided not to pursue the criminal charges against Hayden and the four Deputies as a result of the problem with the investigating Sergeant.
A related federal investigation into a civil rights issue involving Hayden and one of his reserve Deputies is continuing and in the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.