What’s the Difference Between a Constable and Commissioner Precinct?

If you live in north Harris County, chances are that both the Harris County Precinct 4 commissioner and constable serve your area.

Although commissioner and constable precincts aren’t related, Harris County Precinct 4 is unique in that the boundaries of the Precinct 4 commissioner and constable mostly align. Constables in Precinct 1, 3, and 5 serve only a few areas that align with the Precinct 4 Commissioner’s boundaries. Unfortunately, sharing a precinct name has caused confusion about the two agencies.

Under the Texas Constitution, every county has a commissioners court consisting of a county judge and four commissioners, whose duties include creating county-wide policy, adopting a budget and tax rate, appointing leaders to fill vacancies, and maintaining county facilities. At the precinct level, each commissioner works to maintain precinct roads and bridges, along with other duties depending on the county.

While four commissioners and a county judge manage the county, the Texas Constitution allows up to eight constables per county to serve the county’s law enforcement needs. Constable duties include issuing traffic citations, providing bailiffs for Justice of the Peace Courts, as well as executing criminal processes.

For more information about local government, visit www.county.org/about-texas-counties/Pages/default.aspx.