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Commissioners Upset About Lack Of Suspensions Following Investigation

By JD Miles, CBS 11 News
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At a county meeting Tuesday, Commissioners John Wiley Price and Clay Jenkins said they’re upset that some of the deputy constables accused in a fraud investigation last week were placed on desk duty rather than suspended.

“I don’t like it, I don’t agree with it,” Jenkins said. “People that violated policy and violate rules have no business doing desk work.”

Last Friday, Jenkins revealed that a countywide audit of GPS devices placed in constable patrol cars showed that more than two-dozen deputies lied about trying to serve eviction notices when they actually didn’t.

State law mandates deputies make two visits before leaving a notice. The investigation found deputies in all five precincts falsified records.  Those suspected were asked to a sign a statement of complaint concerning the audit’s findings Monday.

“Judge Jenkins has encouraged Constables from all five precincts to cooperate with the Commissioners Court by bringing anyone who may have falsified documents to justice by placing them on administrative leave with pay until the investigation is concluded,” read a release sent to media Tuesday night.

On Monday, some of the supervisors of the accused fired back at the commissioners, saying the deputies were being asked to sign confessions without proof. Some precincts launched internal investigations aside from the commissioners, and deputies protested that the GPS devices had a history of being inaccurate.

In the release, county spokeswoman Maria Arita said the employees were asked to sign complaints, which are not admissions of guilt. The complaints ensure that the deputies “understood the accusations against them and that they had been shown the evidence against them.”

The Dallas County Commissioners met Tuesday morning to discuss next year’s budget. Some threatened to slash the budget of the county constables after hearing that deputies accused of loafing on the job were transferred to desk duty instead of being suspended.

“If certain management principles don’t change, it’s going to be my position that we place them in contingency and we’ll go from there,” Price said.

Signing the complaints would mean automatic suspension. Some constables said there’s a rush to judgment in the county’s investigation.

“At this time we’re not placing anybody on administrative leave, we’re going to conduct our own investigation,” said Precinct 5 Chief Deputy Constable Mike Ramirez.

Ramirez said the internal investigation has already cleared one of his deputies.

However, the constables’ decision puts the five of them at odds with some of the commissioners who control their budget and promise to retaliate.

The commissioners have scheduled a closed session meeting Saturday morning to discuss the investigation further with the constables heading the five precincts.

“By Saturday, we expect to have had all responses in by the deputy constables who have already received their (statement of complaint),” read the release.

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