The cops vs. cops thing
Almost everyone who deals with Sheriff
Milton Wright says he doesn’t like constables. He denies
this—to an extent—and says he simply doesn’t like for the
constable’s to do police work. Their job, he feels, is to
serve civil papers and unless they are driving along and
accidentally come across a crime, should not do regular
policing. “I’ve said since day one constable’s should leave
the policing to me and should serve papers—that is what they
are supposed to do,” Wright said in a recent interview.
Adding fuel to the fire is the rumor that
Wright is handpicking several opponents to take down the
existing constables—in the political arena, that is. So, if
he doesn’t like the position, is that going to make a
hand-chosen elected official any more tolerable or more of a
cop or what? Who knows.
Wright pulled out of the Fort Bend Toll
Road Authority contract as soon as he learned the FBTRA was
going to let the constable’s department in Precinct 4 take
over the contract in the forthcoming fiscal year. Wright
says he pulled out to protect his deputies, who might miss
out on one of the job openings he currently has and
basically be out on the street come Oct. 1. Some of Wright’s
less than ardent supporters think it was just sour grapes
and a long-standing feeling of animosity towards the
constables that prompted Wright to leave the FBTRA high and
dry a couple of months before the end of the contract.
Others say it was unprofessional. Wright says it is no big
deal and the contract was flexible enough to allow it.
Then, last week Wright threw a kink in
the kilter of Cinco Ranch’s plan to switch from the
sheriff’s office to Precinct 3 Constable Rob Cook for that
subdivision’s contract deputies. I’m sure it is a temporary
kink, but a kink nonetheless. Wright says he read an
Attorney General’s opinion to say the “Sheriff may” do this,
that or the other in regards to contract security and since
it doesn’t say “constable may”—maybe they can’t. And, he
says his deputies working the Cinco Ranch contract were
motorcycle deputies that supply their own motorcycles and
gasoline and were compensated at a rate of $60 an hour. He
says he was told by a person on the Cinco Ranch board that
Constable Cook came in with an offer of doing the job at $50
an hour and, if that is the case, is not only undercutting
Sheriff Wright but could be stiffing the homeowners. The
standard rate for a contract deputy is $25 an hour. So, if
the new contract with Cook calls for $50 an hour and those
deputies are driving a county car and using county gas,
something is amiss, he says.
Cook was moving to another office
location and couldn’t be reached for comment on what the
actual contract might call for. What really matters, though,
is the seeming turf war that has been going on here in Fort
Bend County for so many years.
I don’t know about you, but I see a cop
and I feel better knowing they are looking out for my
welfare and protecting me from the growing criminal element
in this county. I honestly don’t pay a whole lot of
attention to what color uniform they are wearing or if they
are a county sheriff’s deputy, a city police officer, or a
deputy constable. I see badge, gun, uniform, marked car and
think “good guy” looking out for me.
I really wish the Sheriff had the same
attitude—those guys attend the same schools, are required to
have the same training (and more) and they bleed the same
color. Contrary to what Milton would have you believe—they
are real cops.
Turf wars are for punks—not professionals.