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Meet the Primary Candidates: Denton County Constable Pct. 1

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Early voting runs from Feb. 18-28 for the Mar. 4 Denton County Primary Election and The Cross Timbers Gazette asked each Republican candidate in a contested race in our area to answer a short questionnaire to help you make an informed decision at the polls.

Former Precinct 1 Deputy Constable Johnny Hammons is challenging Constable Jesse Flores, who was appointed last May after Constable Jim Dotson passed away.

The Cross Timbers Gazette hosted a debate between the two Denton County Pct. 1 Constable candidates moderated by Bob Weir at Lantana Golf Club on Jan. 28. See the video here.

Here is a look at the two candidates:

Jesse Flores (I)

Age: 44

City/Town of Residence: Denton

Current Occupation: Denton County Constable Precinct 1

Education: Some College/Master Peace Officer Certification

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? Cross Timbers Christian Church, Denton Chamber of Commerce, Lake Cities Chamber of Commerce, Black Chamber of Commerce, Denton County Republican Assembly, Flower Mound Republican Club, Denton County Republican Club, Denton County Women’s Club and Pachyderm Club of Denton County.

Why should you be re-elected? Being in Law Enforcement was a childhood dream. In high school I made the decision to pursue my dream and joined the Fort Worth Police Explorer program. At the age of 22, I put myself through the Police Academy in order to become certified as a Peace Officer. At the age of 23, in 1993 I was hired by the Lewisville Police Department where I served until being appointed last year as Denton County Constable for Precinct 1. My long successful career has armed me with the knowledge and experience to effectively serve the citizens of Denton County. Bring a seasoned officer I understand true community policing and have the compassion to support and care for the community. I currently hold several certifications; Master Peace Officer, Constable Management Training, Supervisor Management Training, Firearms Training, and Advance Civil Process Certification. These are some of many certifications that I hold with over 2800 hours of documented training through the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement.

What are the main challenges facing your precinct, and how would you resolve them? Denton County is the fifth largest county in the state. We are growing every day. With this growth the demands for service increase. Due to budgetary restrictions this demand must be met through innovative resources. Manpower is not always the answer. Many times it is a matter of strategy and efficiency. I have implemented the introduction of technology into the office. My staff and I have done this in stages, in order to work within the budget and in conjunction with training. My long term goal is to be as paperless as possible. This coincides with the state government which is encouraging electronic filing of court documents.

Website: www.constableflores.com

Johnny Hammons

Age: 50

City/Town of Residence: Denton

Current Occupation: Retired Deputy Constable

Education: Attended Dallas Baptist Police academy

To what religious and civic organizations do you belong? Baptist/Former AAYSA Board member. Former DRWC member, Current Republican Assembly, Annual coat, diaper, food drives for local organizations ie: Friends of the family, Interfaith ministries, Denton Community food bank etc.

Why should you be elected? I have 20 years law enforcement experience with the last 10 years in the office of Constable Pct. 1 ending 05/06/13. I have ten years experience in civil process which is the primary duty of the Constable. I have been awarded the following certifications above the basic peace officers certificate, both intermediate and advanced peace office; Instructor proficiency Sexual Assault/Family Violence Investigator, plus three levels of jailer proficiency including advanced. I am proud of my 20 year career I have served Denton County with respect and dignity. I am a lifelong resident of Denton County and my roots run very deep. This is my home as well as yours. I have no hidden agenda and ask to be your public servant that you can be proud of.

What are the main challenges facing your precinct, and how would you resolve them? Lack of experience and training is the first issue that needs to be addressed; there is no excuse for another Constable to be serving papers in Precinct. 1 when there is a staff of 7 deputies. I would ensure all training money was used to educate my staff, not transfer it to another Constable. Civil process will be the main focus as that is one of the most challenging duties of the Constable if civil is not executed properly the taxpayer can be liable for multi-million dollar lawsuits. Class C warrants are another priority there is a current backlog of 4000 warrants in this office. There are many ways to reduce these numbers for instance the obvious is to make arrests, although you can not put everyone in jail you can have some make payment plans to pay fines and restitution, with Denton being a college town many of these are out of state a simple postcard notice will make an impact. Staff members can help research the entire backlog and update offender information to help achieve this goal. You will find with the proper research you can clear hundreds of these warrants. You will never clear all warrants because they are issued daily, you can however keep them under control. I will lead as an example we will not work off-duty jobs for personal profit out of our precinct or county, it is not the taxpayers responsibility to furnish my or my staffs equipment for personal profit we have seen firsthand how expensive that can be. I will not leave my duties to another constable to ensure they are carried out. Office administration will not be required to keep my schedule due to my absence. When elected I can perform every duty the office requires from the office staff to the deputy level.

Website: www.hammonsforconstable1.com

Visit the Denton County Elections Voter Information page at www.VoteDenton.com to find your precinct, polling location, and see a sample ballot.

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