Hays County constable resigns under fire

Investigations

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) – “Effective 7/31/2020 I will resign as Constable Pct.3” is all he wrote in a letter ending his first and only term in elected office. A term that began Jan. 1, 2017.

No reasons or explanation given.

Ray Helm, the Hays County Precinct 3 constable at the center of multiple state and KXAN investigations, sent the county that letter Tuesday afternoon, formally giving up his office. Helm will not serve out the remaining five months of his term as the top law enforcer in the county’s third precinct.

Except, there is a scenario where Helm could stay on through Dec. 31.

A week and a half ago, Helm told multiple county commissioners and the county judge he planned to resign by July 31. Until Tuesday’s commissioners court hearing, no one Helm spoke with announced Helm’s reasons for stepping down. Commissioner Lon Shell hinted at the reason when he told the public during Tuesday’s commissioners court meeting Helm was resigning because he was “associated with an investigation.”

Helm has not responded to multiple KXAN messages left for him.

Helm’s resignation left the Hays County Commissioners Court scrambling for answers on what to do now that Helm has quit his job. Commissioners spent a while behind closed doors during Tuesday morning’s public meeting trying to figure out the legalities surrounding Helm’s departure, and how they would handle appointing someone to lead the office through Dec. 31.

After the closed-door meeting, commissioners still had not sorted out what happens with Helm’s resignation.

“There are still questions on technicalities,” Shell told KXAN. If no one is appointed by August 1, Shell said Helm could continue on as a holdover official. This means Helm would continue to hold office until Dec. 31, according to Shell.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement sent Ray Helm a disciplinary letter on Jan. 15, 2020 substantiating a complaint that Helm submitted body camera training records for credit hours that never happened.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra, who chairs the county commissioners court, admitted at Tuesday’s meeting that neither his office nor the county attorney’s office has figured out how to handle Helm’s replacement, “It’s not every day a constable resigns, so I’m not surprised that we at commissioners court don’t have a clear, rubber stamp road map to proceed, so we’re moving through this.”

In March, Helm defeated his Republican primary opponent in a primary race. Helm was first elected to lead the Hays County Precinct 3 Constable’s Office in 2016.

Since late 2019, Helm was under investigation by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, accused of falsely certifying body camera training records for his deputy constables. TCOLE found one deputy constable listed on the roster never took the course and that Helm claimed he and his deputies spent the required two hours in the course.

Helm only spent 20 minutes giving his deputies an “overview of the camera and instruction on how to operate the camera,” TCOLE Executive Director Kim Vickers wrote in a January 2020 disciplinary letter to Helm.

Helm is currently the subject of multiple investigations into allegations that he faked other training records. KXAN has confirmed active investigation at TCOLE and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Helm also claimed TCOLE credit for 20 hours of drone training for himself and three other deputies in 2018, according to commission records. The drone training turned out to be Helm and his deputies participating in a commercial video shoot for a private drone company, according to the complaint against Helm filed with TCOLE.

That investigation and Helm’s conduct surrounding the drone commercial shoot is still being investigated.

Although Helm was disciplined by TCOLE in the body camera training and the commission is investigating other allegations against him, Helm has not been charged with a crime.

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