Commissioner Carlos Salazar Jr. asked Monday during the court’s meeting that Arismendez be appointed to fill the position left vacant after Lance S. Frerich left.
“Recently the constable of Precinct 1 resigned to move on to Oklahoma to get employment over there,” Salazar told his fellow commissioners.
“I had several individuals interested in the position.”
Salazar said that he approached Justice of the Peace Judge Raul Casarez with the applicants.
“The JPs and the constables serve hand in hand,” Salazar said.
“At the recommendation of Raul, and I concur with him, I would like to announce and get the court’s approval to appoint Ralph Arismendez to the position.”
By unanimous vote — excluding Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez who was not at the meeting — Arismendez was appointed.
“This will be until the next general election,” Salazar said.
Arismendez offered his thanks to the court and the judge.
“It is a great honor for me. It is a lifelong dream for me that I always wanted to get into law enforcement,” Arismendez said. “This is just a dream come true for me. I won’t let you down.”
Commissioner Dennis DeWitt reminded that Arismendez will still need to get his peace officer’s license.
Salazar said, “He is fully aware of that.”
Arismendez added that he is currently concluding his associate degree in law enforcement.
Run for council
This isn’t the first time that Arismendez has entered the political arena — constable is an elected position.
During this past council election, he tried unsuccessfully to get a seat as a city leader.
Arismendez had thrown his hat into the ring to run for a seat in Ward 4.
Arismendez was upset because at the time of his filing for the city position, he had intended to run against David Carabajal and not longtime Councilman John Fulghum.
Due to last minute switching of wards by his opponents, he was left running against the incumbent Fulghum.
“To be honest, I almost walked away and withdrew completely,” Arismendez said in a statement prior to the election.
Ultimately, he lost that race 117 to 21.
Wrecker fee dispute
Arismendez is also no stranger to the county and its inner workings.
About two years ago, commissioners were considering implementing a maximum amount that wrecking companies could charge when called out by law enforcement.
Technically, the county cannot regulate wrecker fees. However, it can create a list of approved companies that are called when law enforcement requests a tow. These companies would agree to charge only so much depending upon the service requested.
The issue then was that some wrecking companies were charging what some were considering excessive fees.
Arismendez’s towing company, in fact, was one of the companies that was being discussed. However, he countered, that was a fee charged to an insurance company — not a citizen.
Ultimately, he was one of those placed on a committee that would decide what maximum amount would be considered a fair fee.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.