Bexar County constable says comments advocating for truck weight enforcement officers were meant to give context

BEXAR COUNTY – A Bexar County constable’s statement during a commissioners court meeting was called into question by people who worry profit is being prioritized over public safety.

Precinct 4 Constable Kathryn Brown and other constables spoke in favor of adding more weight enforcement officers on Tuesday.

The officers are responsible for making sure large trucks are in compliance with state regulations.

Right now, there’s only one — Deputy Damien Hall.

On Thursday, he cited a truck that was not in compliance.

“Their right mudflat was a little too high,” Hall said. “They had no reflective tape on the back as well as their tailgate wasn’t latched all the way.”

His day starts with paperwork, but he spends most of the time patrolling the highways, checking side roads, inspecting trucks, and checking weights.

“Why do you think the county needs more of these weight enforcement officers?” reporter Daniela Ibarra asked.

“The main thing for me is because we don’t have anybody focusing on it except for me,” Hall said.

Constables, including Hall’s boss, Constable Brown, asked the commissioners to add more weight enforcement officers across the county.

While others focused on safety, Brown told commissioners about the financial impact.

“Any citation can average between $5,000 to $15,000 per stop,” she said. “So it’s a good revenue funding for our precincts to substantiate our existence.”

Her comments worried some truck drivers.

“What’s the difference of going like 500,000 pounds over?” said Emmanuel, a truck driver who declined to share his last name. “You know, I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do, but sometimes you get loaded a little a little too much and it’s under the not under the truck driver’s control.

James Quintero, a policy expert with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said it raises concerns.

“It‘s corrosive to public trust,” Quintero said. “You know, I think we all have an expectation that law enforcement exists to protect and serve.”

Brown defended her comments and said they were meant to contextualize the larger conversation about the positions.

“The commissioners court’s concern was how much is it going to cost for them to implement this program,” she said. “So that’s why I articulated (it).”

“Do you see how people might have misunderstood that?” Ibarra asked.

“I guess from my side of the coin, I don’t see it because I’m here trying to help the other constables get their programs off the ground is substantiated,” Brown said. “But, you know, to the public, perhaps, you know, because they’re not in my shoes and they don’t know how things are done with the county system.

The commissioners voted to approve the addition.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Grant Moody said he believes Brown’s comments were misunderstood.

“When you’re investing in traffic enforcement officers, weight control officers — there’s going to be, if they’re doing that job and they’re enforcing the law, there’s going to be some offsetting revenue that comes with that,” Moody said. “And we should just be aware of what that is. That does not mean that that you are putting those individuals in place specifically to try to raise money for the county.”

Moody’s office said the county received $2,599 from weight enforcement tickets in fiscal year 2023.

Brown said the ticket revenue goes into the general fund, adding that those who damage the road end up funding the fixes.

We’re here to protect and serve,” Brown said. “Not to target drivers.”

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