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County News

New Smith County Constable Named for Precinct 2

Smith County Deputy Constable Josh Black was appointed to replace Precinct 2 Constable Andy Dunklin, as he vacates the office to become Justice of the Peace.

Dunklin submitted his resignation as constable to the Commissioners Court on Tuesday, December 4. He will leave his post as constable on December 31, 2018, and start his new position as justice of the peace on January 1, 2019. Dunklin was elected in November, and will replace Justice of the Peace Gary Alfred, who is retiring at the end of the year.

“I have had a wonderful career and a wonderful relationship with this court, and I hope that continues,” Dunklin told the Commissioners Court.

Constable Dunklin has served as constable for Precinct 2 since December 8, 2008. Since beginning his law enforcement career in 1978, he has worked as a county jailer, city police officer, state trooper and state drug enforcement agent. Dunklin said he has enjoyed the decade he has served as constable.

“Constable Dunklin has been an outstanding public servant,” Commissioner Jeff Warr said. “He will make an excellent justice of the peace. He is one of the finest men I’ve ever known.”

“A constable must not only be concerned with election campaigns, but enforcement of state laws and county ordinances, investigating criminal activities, serving the justice court, responsible for maintaining vehicles, submitting reasonable budgets, acting as a building manager, remaining current with required training, and the management of law enforcement personnel,” Dunklin said in his resignation letter. “As an elected official, the constable must sustain a close working relationship with all other elected and department leaders.”

Dunklin recalled several important issues he faced while serving as constable.

In 2009, Dunklin’s office began traffic enforcement of non-compliant, private, heavy haul trucks; and with the legal department, began negotiations with large trucking firms to determine damage of county roads caused by heavy truck traffic and reimbursement to repair them. The teamwork between the county and truck companies continue to this day, Dunklin said.

In 2012, Dunklin began working with the Smith County Clerk’s Office in preparing for alcohol sales in the county. Together, they received applications, conducted on-site investigations, background checks and examined retailer documentation. “Since that time, my office has enjoyed a great relationship with the clerk’s office, while traveling the county conducting the required site inspections and checks for 87 retailers to date,” Dunklin said.

In 2014, the court was faced with solicitation groups requesting to stand in rural roadways and gather donations for various causes. Dunklin worked with the court’s legal department and other constables to draft an ordinance to permit qualifying organizations to apply for permits. Since its adoption, many qualifying organizations have taken advantage of the ordinance that safely authorizes adults to stand in rural roadways at certain dates, times and locations to collect donations. These permits help drivers feel comfortable with donating to groups that legally meet state law and county ordinance standards.

When Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson left office in October 2017, Dunklin volunteered to assist with daily oversight of that precinct until Constable Bobby Garmon was appointed to assume those duties.

“I hope I’ve been a valued resource to the court and hope you will consider gaining my assistance in the future as the need arises,” Dunklin said.

During Commissioners Court on October 31, 2017, Dunklin announced his intention to seek election for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2. The Commissioners Court voted to approve Dunklin continuing as constable throughout the election process. He ran unopposed in the November 6, 2018, election.


On Tuesday, Dunklin endorsed his Deputy Constable Josh Black to replace him as constable. The Commissioners Court followed his recommendation, and appointed Black to fill Dunklin’s unexpired term of two years.

“My deputy, Josh Black, is well qualified for the position,” Dunklin said. “He comes from a long line of family working in law enforcement, from his grandfather, father, brother and uncle. He has more than 16 years of experience with Smith County, as a jailer and a deputy, and has many hours of criminal investigative training.”

Dunklin said he has worked in law enforcement with Black’s father for decades, and he has watched Black grow up. “He’s matured as a fine policeman,” he said.

Black served briefly in the Texas State Guard before he worked at the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, in the jail from 2002 to 2007, then on patrol from 2007 to 2014. Black has worked as deputy constable for Dunklin for more than four years, and recently graduated from the Texas Police Chiefs Association’s training, Developing Leaders for Texas Law Enforcement.

“Josh Black has been serving at the Constable’s Office for more than four years and has a successful and lengthy history in law enforcement,” Warr said. “His appointment makes sense, and I think he will do a great job for our precinct.”

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said he can attest to the quality of man Black is.

“Josh, I think you’re the right man to fill this position,” he said.

Black said he was very honored and humbled to have been chosen by the Commissioners Court and his colleagues to fill the vacancy at the Precinct 2 Constable’s Office.

“I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to shadow Constable Dunklin during my four-year tenure under his command, to build and learn from his distinguished leadership. I will continue to be a good steward to the public and I look forward to serving the citizens of Precinct 2.

“I will also strive to keep a good rapport with other law enforcement entities and the Commissioners Court, which Constable Dunklin has always instilled in his office,” Black said. “I know I have big shoes to fill, and I wish Constable Dunklin the best of luck during his transition from constable to justice of the peace of Precinct 2. I know he will make an excellent judge, just as he has done being the constable. I look forward to still working with him, just in a different capacity.”

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