For the first time in its history, the Liberty County Pct. 5 Constable’s Office has its own headquarters. The new office is located at 22350 SH 321 in Tarkington directly next to the small office building it shared for many years with the Pct. 5 Justice of the Peace.
With five full-time deputies, and another being added in the coming days, Constable David Hunter said the cramped space of the previous office was an untenable situation.
“I had five deputies sharing the same office,” Hunter said. Three of the five deputies are contracted through Tarkington ISD to work as school resource officers.
The new headquarters, purchased by the County from Standard Buildings in Cleveland, has four offices, a lobby and kitchen area.
“We now have a space where the county prosecutor can meet with a defendant privately. In the past we had to let them use an office space and clear out of the way for a while,” Hunter said. “I am very grateful to County Judge Jay Knight and the commissioners for voting to allocate funding to help us expand.”
Hunter has served as Pct. 5 constable since 2017, but started with the agency in 2007 as a deputy for former Constable Warren DeSpain. Hunter said the precinct is quickly evolving from mostly-rural to be a residential area.
“This precinct is steadily growing. Pct. 5 goes all the way east to the Trinity River, north to the Cleveland city limits and south to the Dayton city limits. All of this rural farmland is being subdivided and sold out,” he said. “It’s still the largest precinct in Liberty County at a little more than 210 square miles.”
Hunter is the third constable to serve Pct. 5 since Liberty County was split from four to six constable precincts. The first constable, Frank Taylor, served in the 80s and 90s. Taylor was followed by DeSpain, who was appointed as constable on Dec. 1, 1998. After being elected to the position for four more terms, DeSpain, at the age of 74, announced his retirement in 2016.
Hunter started his 28-year law enforcement career as a sheriff’s deputy for former Liberty County Sheriff O.J. Stewart. From there, he worked as an agent for the Liberty-Chambers County Narcotics Task Force, which was ultimately disbanded. He then became a deputy for Pct. 5.
“When he retired, I knew I wanted to step up to the plate to fill his shoes and take care of my community,” Hunter said.
At a grand opening event for his new office on Thursday, Aug. 4, Hunter thanked the County, Knight, the four commissioners and the many people who volunteered items to furnish the office with kitchen appliances, tables and chairs.
“Rev. Charles Stoker with Hi-Way Tabernacle Church gave us chairs for our lobby. Cordelia Kirkham and Kem Kirkham-Arnold donated an air fryer and utensils. Ray and Regina Parris bought the refrigerator. The coffee pot was donated by the Greater Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and the lady who owns the sign shop next door provided us with a microwave,” he said. “We are very appreciative of the community effort and support.”