FROM STAFF REPORTSHays County’s longest-serving elected official, Pct. 2 Constable James H. Kohler, couldn’t be more confident that he will win his eleventh consecutive general election this fall.
“I’m a damn good constable,” Kohler says with typical irreverence and brevity.
But to keep his job another four years, Kohler first must secure the Republican Party nomination against two veteran law enforcement officers running for the Kyle-area office.
Jimmy Zuehlke has worked for three years as a Hays County sheriff’s patrol deputy after retiring from a 25-year career at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Hays County reserve deputy Steve Avalos is a longtime area resident whose 17-year law enforcement career includes positions at the Lockhart Police Department and the Hays and Caldwell sheriff’s offices. Avalos served as president of the Hays County Law Enforcement Association during a successful campaign in 2009 to win voter approval to meet-and-confer contract negotiations for county law enforcement.
If none of the three wins an outright majority in the March 1 primary, the top two finishers will head for a May 24 runoff. Kyle police officer Michael Torres, running unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination, will take on the GOP victor in November. Education: High School diploma. San Antonio College.
Steve Avalos (R-Kyle)
Education: High School diploma. San Antonio College.
Experience: More than 17 years in law enforcement. More than 2,200 law enforcement training hours. Instructor certifications. Master peace officer certification.
Experience: 38 years
Education: Associate’s degree in law enforcement, Blinn College. Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, Texas State University.
Experience: Retired from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission after 25 years of devoted service. Patrol deputy with Hays County Sheriff’s Office for three years.
Q: What do you think are the most important responsibilities of the constable’s office?
Avalos: The main responsibilities of the constable’s office are to protect citizens not only through effectively implementing state mandated responsibilities such as civil process and court security but also to provide exceptional public service to the citizens by keeping up with the expectations and needs of the community. Due to the considerable growth of the precinct, it is important to track changes and ensure the office grows along with the precinct.
Kohler: To make sure all people in my county — young and old — are safe.
Zuehlke: As the Hays County Pct. 2 constable, I am ready and looking forward to becoming a key figure as a proactive community leader to provide civil process/court documents and criminal law Enforcement to the citizens of Hays County, and the citizens of this Republic of Texas! My priority will be to serve any and all civil process papers, serve criminal warrants, and provide the justice of the peace with all expected service from a constable.
Q: What emerging problems do you foresee in the constable’s office and how will you address them?
Avalos: I foresee the continued problem with the backlog of Class C warrants as well as the need for current training of deputy constables to ensure safety and reliability in performing their duties. I will conduct regular local warrant round-ups, prioritize civil process demands and scheduling, and implement in-house procedures to ensure successful workflow and cooperation with the justice of the peace court. I will also foster strong relationships with other agencies.
Kohler: I don’t foresee any problems in our office.
Zuehlke: The entire precinct 2 area, as well as Hays County as a whole, has grown by leaps and bounds in the past several years and it continues to grow in population and technology. I will make sure that my supervisory experience will motivate my personnel and promote professionalism to excel in all aspects of the Constables office. I will provide internal, external, and whatever means possible to educate my personnel and prepare them for them for the future.
Q: What should be the minimum qualifications for the position of constable?
Avalos: Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Certified Peace Officer; prior law enforcement experience; professionalism; organizational and management skills; excellent communication skills; team player.
Kohler: Common sense and another deputy.
Zuehlke: A four-year college education should be mandatory for a constable. At least 20 years of law enforcement experience which includes supervisory experience. I personally achieved the rank of lieutenant with TABC. As society changes, so must a constable. Experience with budgetary and financial issues. Foremost is to be able to communicate with the community in a positive and professional manner.Email | Print