Tarrant County deputy constables allegedly falsify work time for troubled department

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Tarrant County deputies

Four Tarrant County deputy constables were caught allegedly performing security duties for private clients while billing the public for their regular pay as they operated out of an office that was flagged for poor record keeping last year.

The deputies from the office of Constable Michael Campbell this week were charged with crimes related to the double dipping. The officers were alleged to have performed security services at Fiesta and Walmart while on the county clock.

Deputy Arnold Holmes pleaded guilty and received five years of probation on a charge of abuse of official capacity. He must also pay back $6,600 he received through the malfeasance. Deputy Hayward Charles Jr. pleaded guilty to theft and received two years deferred adjudication. He owes $9,993 in restitution.

Both officers have agreed to testify for the prosecution and have retired, according to news reports. Deputies Keith Johnson and Jason Lockett  were charged with theft by a public servant and tampering with government documents

“Johnson and Lockett are on paid administrative leave,” said Tarrant County spokesman Marc Flake, as “required by civil service rules.”

Campbell, who oversees the office, was elected in 2012 and reelected in 2016, both times without an opponent in the general election.

In an investigative report in August, the CBS affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth followed Campbell and several of his deputies.

“As an elected official Campbell sets his own hours and can go where he pleases,” the report noted. “We rarely saw him at the precinct, but we did see him working at Fiesta.”

Johnson told a reporter who approached him at the Fiesta,  “What you see — and us being here — like I say, is our off-duty time. They are not charging the county. I know that that has been reported a couple months ago, almost a year ago. And I made sure that I addressed that. It wasn’t happening then, and it’s not happening now.”

All four of those named in this week’s action were named in the CBS story as being among those allegedly working private jobs on public time.

The office of Tarrant County Constable Michael Campbell was cited by the county’s auditor in August for numerous failures, including shoddy financial oversight and little oversight over the duties of employees.

Among the problems:

  • Receipt books for two of the last seven years were missing
  • Some cash collected by the constable’s office for the county tax collector was not entered into the mainframe computer, “as a result, loss of  funds owed to the tax office could occur,” the report stated.
  • Seized evidence including drugs and weapons was not retained in keeping with state statute

See Campbell’s bio here. He has not been charged with any crimes.  

Steve Miller can be reached at [email protected]

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