Dallas deputy constables ordered to turn from crime

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on August 24, 2011 at 11:09 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 25 at 10:18 AM

NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

DALLAS — It is an alarming admission from the head of the Dallas County Constable's Association: Deputies have been told to turn their backs on criminal activity.

That is what happened Monday in Precinct 1 when a mother tried to get help finding her kidnapped sons. The boys were later found murdered.

Some people may not know that a deputy constable is a licensed peace officer in the State of Texas. That means hours and hours of training to be able to carry a weapon and also to respond to criminal situations — situations that some officers say they are being told to avoid.

It is a confusing and, some say, a dangerous path to go down.

On Monday, a bloody Kametra Sampson begged a deputy constable to help rescue her two kidnapped sons. Precinct 1, however, has a strict "no chase" policy.

But was there something else on the deputy's mind?

"Those officers have been told — and I don't know by which administrators — that if you see some criminal activity, turn your head. Handle your civil process," said Renee Christian, president of the Dallas County Constable's Association.

Does that mean they've been told to ignore criminal activity? "Not per se to ignore criminal activity, but if you can sidestep it, sidestep it," Christian said, adding that she is only aware of Precinct 1 deputies being told to turn away and not do what they were trained for.

Dallas County constables met Wednesday night in a specially-called meeting, where dozens gathered to try and figure out ways to work with the county on budget and policy issues, including trying to figure out what their roles really are and what the public should expect from them.

"I'm in my uniform; I've got my badge on; I've got my gun on. The general public will come to me with a question," Christian said. "It is my obligation to handle it."

Precinct 1 Constable Derick Evans told News 8 that Monday's incident remains under an investigation which he hopes to have completed by the end of the week. Until then, he declined to discuss the help request that was denied or any associated policies.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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