HOUSTON - All eight Harris County Precinct Constables are protesting what they see as plans to "defund" police and are now crying out for action in a letter obtained by Fox 26.
In what amounts to a united front, the Constables contend the County Administrator and the Democratic majority on Commissioners Court have clawed back more than $4 million the agencies need to fight crime.
In the letter to County Administrator Dave Berry, the Constables say confiscating each precinct's financial reserves at the end of each year amounts to "defunding" their officers.
The letter, authored by Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen, cites Senate Bill 23, a measure passed the last legislative session which prohibits local Texas governments from reducing the money spent on law enforcement.
While the Constables set a deadline of five days to resolve the issue, their battle for funding is getting plenty of support from front-line peace officers.
"It's troubling that you take money from elected officials who've been good stewards of their funding, and you just snatch it from them like a thief," said Eric Batton, Executive Director of the Harris County Deputies Association.
In recent weeks Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has pushed back on the "defunding" claim contending law enforcement budgets are actually increasing.
However, Batton says the men and women dealing with the crime wave feel shortchanged in terms of resources and pay.
"Our job is, our commitment is, and our passion is, to make sure the people of this County are safe, and it's fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes to what it is we need to do our job," he said.
FOX 26 reached out to Administrator Berry for a reaction to the letter, but he has not responded to our request for comment, as of this writing.