International relations may be a problem in Washington, but not in New Caney. On Thursday, Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts and Pct. 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden had a European visitor.

Bernadette Rinner who owns Boots & More, a Texas themed store in Grieskirchen, Austria, spent the day in East Montgomery County. Ms. Rinner was accompanied by her American beau, John Sallaz, owner of Phantom Custom Cycles in Pinehurst.

Judge Metts had a courtroom packed with habitually truant juveniles. Rinner was shocked to see the number of students in court and said there is minimal truancy in Austria. She and Sallaz were impressed with the Judge’s handling of the truant students and especially holding parents accountable. After court, Judge Metts invited Rinner and Sallaz into his chambers where Rinner was thrilled to see the Judge’s Texas décor. She was equally excited to see the Texas Judge wearing a starched Texas shirt under his robe and she knelt to examine Judge Metts’ ostrich skin boots, since cowboy boots are her passion.

Like many locals, soon after seeing the Judge, Rinner found herself behind bars in the Constable’s holding cell. Constable Hayden personally gave Rinner and Sallaz a tour of his offices and locked Rinner in a holding cell upon her request. Rinner earlier asked why people called the Constable “Rowdy,” and she learned the reason first-hand when the Constable pretended he could not unlock the cell door to free her. Rinner was not deterred from having the full Pct. 4 Constable’s Office experience. She then asked to be handcuffed, and Sgt. Ricky Warwick obliged. Chief Deputy Barry Welch let her try on a bullet proof vest and a riot helmet. Rinner’s father is an Austrian police officer, and she has a natural interest in criminal justice, which made her fascinated with the differences and similarities between the local system and that of her country.

Around midday, Rinner and Sallaz rounded out their East Montgomery County visit by having lunch at the Splendora Café, where Rinner sampled several entrees and sides, had a big ice tea and said it was her first true taste of the kind of food American’s cook at home. She said it was delicious.
Rinner took advantage of a multitude of strange Facebook photo ops during her visit to Precinct 4 in Montgomery County, and the Judge and Constable gave her some souvenirs to take back to Austria. It was her second trip to Texas, and her first in the intense heat. Amazingly, Rinner said she loved the humidity. She will begin the exhausting 23 hour trip home on Monday, but hopes to visit Texas again soon.

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