NEW CANEY – Porter Fire Chief Jody Binnion introduced Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden at the Community Chamber of Commerce of East Montgomery County’s monthly luncheon on Wednesday. The Constable was the featured speaker at the event, held at the East Montgomery County Improvement District Complex.
Chief Binnion told the large crowd that he and Constable Hayden have been friends since around age 19, when they both were firefighters in Porter and Splendora, respectively.
Constable Hayden updated attendees on the status of his office and its various programs, calling it a “full service” agency, dealing with civil and criminal issues. Since Constable Hayden took office in January 2009, the agency has grown from 13 to 19 fulltime positions, with five reserve officers, who he said “work just as hard” as the paid officers. The agency also has four paid office personnel.
The Constable used a PowerPoint presentation, showing photographs of seized drugs, money and vehicles. Since taking office, his agency has racked up over $750,000 in asset forfeiture funds, which are seized proceeds from crimes, items acquired with proceeds from crimes or items used in the commission of crimes. Everyone benefits from asset forfeiture, since the Constable’s Office keeps 70 percent of those funds to enhance their abilities, with the remaining 30 percent going to the District Attorney’s Office to supply needed equipment to law enforcement throughout the county.
Last week, the Constable and District Attorney Brett Ligon announced the new Montgomery County Remove Impaired Drivers – or RID – Team, a cooperative effort between their two agencies and the Office of Montgomery County Sheriff Tommy Gage to make county roadways safer by taking those who habitually drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs off the street. During one holiday weekend, the Pct. 4 Constable’s Office was responsible for 33 percent of the county’s DWI arrests.
Constable Hayden discussed his “No License, No Insurance, No Way” policy, which goes beyond writing tickets and has vehicles towed when someone is driving without a license or proof of financial responsibility, which has significantly reduced those numbers. The Constable and Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts’ hot check program is another source of pride for both officials, having returned thousands of dollars to area merchants.
He also mentioned the Constable Charles Hayden Scholarship, which is named in honor of his father and provides money to local students pursuing a future in criminal justice. In another new outreach to area youth, Rowdy the K-9 mascot, a giant dog character in a Pct. 4 Deputy Constable uniform visits school children, establishing a positive relationship with law enforcement.
The Pct. 4 Constable’s Office Motorist Assistance, or “M.A.P.” Program, has a fulltime deputy devoted to helping stranded motorists, with funding from Pct. 4 Commissioner Ed Rinehart. The Commissioner also provides the Constable’s Office with a vehicle seizure storage lot, and provided the van used for the Special Response Team (SRT), which conducts what some other agencies call “SWAT” operations.
The Constable displayed photos of his agency’s new water rescue boat. Several deputies, as well as the Constable completed special water rescue training. Additionally, the agency has added bicycle and ATV patrols, allowing them to pursue criminals and patrol areas unreachable by patrol cars.
Another specialty that sets the Pct. 4 Constable’s office apart is having two livestock deputies who cover all livestock calls east of Interstate 45 in Montgomery County. They recently worked with the SPCA and Judge Metts to remove 26 seriously neglected horses for an area residence.
Constable Hayden praised his deputies, calling them the “finest deputies possible.” The audience was apparently in agreement, since he received a standing ovation.
Commissioner Rinehart and Judge Metts were unable to attend the event. However, the Commissioner recently renewed his “gold membership” with the Chamber, and the Judge sent representatives and a door prize, which was won by Larry Fleming of Accurate Inspect. Judge Metts and Commissioner Rinehart said the Chamber and Constable Hayden have their full support.