Hays Co. constable resigning amid multiple state investigations

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Just four months after defeating his Republican primary opponent in the March primary, Constable Ray Helm is quitting.

Helm was first elected to lead the Hays County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office in 2016.

But Helm doesn’t plan to finish out his first and only term.

“I found out last Friday that he was resigning,” Hays County Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell told KXAN. Shell said Helm told him in a phone call that he was resigning effective July 31.

Shell didn’t report reasons Helm might have given for his decision.

Shell and Commissioners Mark Jones and Walt Smith were the only members of the Hays County Commissioners Court to respond to requests for comment for this investigation. Jones and Smith said they had not had any conversations with Helm concerning his decision to leave office.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra, Becerra’s chief of staff Alex Villalobos, and Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe never responded to emails and phone calls to discuss the Helm resignation and the fallout with KXAN.

Helm never responded to multiple texts, emails and phone calls seeking comment and the reasons for his resignation.

Helm is currently the subject of multiple investigations into allegations that he faked law enforcement training records. KXAN has confirmed active investigations at the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

PREVIOUS HAYS COUNTY PRECINCT 3 INVESTIGATIONS:

TCOLE issued Helm a written reprimand in January after investigators found Helm submitted training credits for body camera training courses “that one deputy constable never took the body worn camera course but was still reported by you as if he had taken the training,” TCOLE’s Executive Director Kim Vickers wrote in the Helm disciplinary letter.

Vickers also said neither Helm, nor any of the other 11 deputy constables, actually spent the required two hours training on the cameras, which is required by the commission before receiving credit for the training hours.

Helm only spent 20 minutes giving his deputies an “overview of the camera and instruction on how to operate the camera,” Vickers wrote in the letter.

Helm’s former second-in-command, Gary Griffin, filed the complaint with TCOLE that led to Helm’s disciplinary letter. Griffin also filed a complaint against Helm with the commission after Griffin said he found he’d received drone training credit, which he said he never participated in.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement sent Ray Helm a disciplinary letter on Jan. 15 substantiating a complaint that Helm submitted body camera training records for credit hours that never happened (TCOLE)

Helm claimed TCOLE credit for 20 hours of drone training for himself and three other deputies in 2018, according to commission records.

“The commercial producer wanted video of our patrol vehicle(s) deployed in a manner as if we were on scene looking for an injured/missing person with drone deployment assistance for the commercial,” Griffin wrote in his TCOLE complaint filed in February.

“Additionally, the commercial video producer wanted a night time scene that showcased the aerial drone equipment’s FLIR capabilities in which an actor portrayed a fugitive along with Cody Cheatham & Donny Torres portraying Officer(s) searching for a fugitive from justice during night time operations. I refused to participate in that video production,” Griffin stated in his TCOLE complaint.

Griffin said the deputies were on duty and being paid by the county during the commercial shoot.

A TCOLE spokeswoman told KXAN the investigations into Helm were still open and ongoing.

The commission could not give a timeline on when those investigations would be finished.

Sources with knowledge of the daily operations of the Hays County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office told KXAN Helm has not been seen working in the office this week and had not informed his deputies of his decision to resign his office effective July 31.

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