The candidates for Henderson constable have different approaches to restoring public trust in an office that has been shrouded in controversy.
Republican Kenny Taylor said he would accomplish that by meeting regularly with Clark County commissioners and being transparent about the office’s revenue and spending.
His Democratic opponent, Joe Pitts, said that as constable, he would do what state law requires, but he really wants to transfer responsibilities of the office to the Metropolitan Police Department, an agency that he says can carry out the duties far more efficiently. Pitts unsuccessfully ran for the position in 2014.
“I don’t think the public is well-served by having a rotation every four years,” he said. If elected, however, Pitts says he is ready to serve, and he has projects in mind to deal with chronically evicted residents.
Duties of the county-run constable’s office include carrying out evictions, serving civil court papers and processing abandoned vehicle complaints.
The Henderson constable’s office has faced scrutiny this year over Constable Earl Mitchell’s handling of money. Mitchell, who last year had announced a bid for re-election, dropped out of the race just before the Las Vegas Review-Journal released the results of an investigation that uncovered questionable spending. The story prompted a police investigation of Mitchell. It is not clear when police will finish the investigation.
“I’ll bring a lot of integrity back to that office, and I’ll have an open-door policy,” Taylor said.
State law requires the constables of Henderson and North Las Vegas to obtain Peace Officer Standards and Training certification.
Pitts, a retired Henderson firefighter, says he is not concerned about obtaining the certification, but he thinks other constables in the state should also be required to become certified peace officers.
Taylor, a state transportation authority investigator, says he has the certification.
The position has a base salary of about $103,000.