Tijerina prepares for constable election

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By ANTHONY FLORES

Running as a Democrat, Robert Tijerina, a law enforcement veteran of 23 years, is hoping to sway the minds of the Williamson County community to head to the polls Nov. 3 and elect him in as the new Pct. 2 Constable — a job held since 2011 by the retiring Rick Coffman.

Tijerina was born a Texan and raised in the south Texas city of Raymondville before relocating to Hobbs, New Mexico, after his father’s passing at age 11. After attending Blinn Junior College with an athletic scholarship for cross country and New Mexico Junior College, Tijerina returned to Texas to start a family and begin his law enforcement career.

He began his career, working in the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, where he befriended his current opponent, Jeff Anderson, who retired from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for about 23 years, I started working with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, and that’s where I met my opponent in this race, we worked together there,” Tijerina said. “About 11 years ago, I went ahead and started working at the constable’s office, and I’ve been doing constable work ever since.”

The Democratic candidate decided to run for constable after encouragement from Coffman.

“Initially our constable came to me and explained that he was looking at retirement, and he would retire,” said Tijerina. “He’s the one who told me I should run, he said, ‘Robert I think you should run for constable; I think you’d make a very good constable,’ That was probably a little over a year and a half ago.”

After five years in Williamson County, Tijerina feels now is the right time and believes he can bring some change that would improve the office and its effectiveness.

“I currently work at the office in Pct. 2. I’ve been here for about five years, and I understand what the office is about, and I’ve experienced it now for some time,” he said. “I considered it, and it fits now at the right time. There are some things that I’d like to do that are a little bit different, and at this point, I felt like I can do some good.”

Tijerina has several ideas for new initiatives that he would like to see implemented if he wins. One of them focuses on coordinating with other agencies to take care of the elderly in the community.

“One of the things I want to do is a senior services program,” he said. “I want to be able to get together with different agencies in the area and create an initiative where we can do wellness checks on senior citizens.”

Increasing the accessibility of the Constable’s Office to the community is another major focus for Tijerina. Adjusting business hours to better match up with the average Williamson County resident is the first step. Followed by increased social media presence.

“I would increase the business hours in our precinct because most people work 8-5. If we increase the hours to those that better work around regular working folks and maybe even on Saturdays, that would help them to be able to come and do business at the office,” he said. “I’d like to open up the office so that everyone feels included and there’s better access, there’s many different ways that you can do that. I want to utilize social media differently so that people would know what our goals are and what we’re doing so we can help them.”

Tijerina’s goal is to make the public more aware of the office’s services. From his own experience, many in the community are unaware.

“For me, any communication or more communication between us and the public is better,” said Tijerina. “The people that live in this precinct, the more they know, the better. I just call it increased access. From my day to day working experience, I see that they don’t realize that there are things that the constable’s office can do that they may not know about.”

Along with increased community outreach and a focus on the welfare of the elderly in the community, Tijerina hopes to bring focus on environmental crimes and prevention instead of reaction.

“One of the unique things that we do at the Constable’s Office in Williamson County, which is very different from surrounding areas, is we’re tasked with responding to and investigating environmental crimes,” said Tijerina. “Right now, it’s a very reactive type of role we’re playing. People will call and report an environmental crime, and we’ll respond, but what I want to do is take it a step further and be proactive, so our deputies are out there and looking for these things daily and respond to them.”

When asked why these are his major focuses heading into November, Tijerina says it’s because of the county’s growth, the need to service more and more people as the growth continues.

“One of the things that has truly changed our area is the growth,” said Tijerina. “That brings on whole different issues because this area is growing and it’s growing very fast. We’ve seen every year over the last five years when we’re asked about the things that we do, and whether they’re increasing or decreasing, it’s never once decreased.”

In a race where both opponents have decided to rely on their strengths rather than point fingers at the opposition, Tijerina believes his familiarity with the constable’s office and how it operates is his strongest trait.

“My opponent is not a bad person, he’s a good man. You’re not going to hear me saying anything of that nature,” said Tijerina. “But the reason that I believe I’m the best person for the job is because I’ve been doing this job for 11 years as a constable and deputy constable. I’ve been a sergeant, and I know the challenges these offices face, that constable’s offices face. I’ve been here for five years, and I can tell you that if I’m elected, on day one, there won’t be a learning curve for me. I know exactly what we need to do. I believe that some of the initiatives that I would like to begin are things that I have seen and believe will help this community. My entire career has always been about helping people.”

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