With almost seven months on the job, Curtis Polk Jr. is finding his stride as he goes about his work as the new Ellis County constable for Precinct 3.
Polk Jr. was sworn into office in January, following his father Curtis Polk’s footsteps into a career of public service. The elder Polk served as Precinct 3 justice of the peace for more than 35 years. One of his last official acts was to administer the oath of office to his son.
“I always looked up to him and had much respect for my dad,” Polk Jr. said. “I was hoping that I could have got this position before he retired. It would have been no greater feeling in the world than my dad and I working side by side but it didn’t work out.
“It is a blessing to have this opportunity for this job,” he shared with the Sun. “Right now, I am still in the honeymoon phase and every day is a good day for me. It has been a dream. My dad tried to think about this 20 years ago, him and Mr. (Jimmy) Ray (former Precinct 3 constable). They tried to talk me into it a long time ago but I felt like I was not ready. I didn’t want to get in here and make a mistake. If I would have got in here and done something, it would not have only reflected on me but on my dad as well. I didn’t want to do anything that would tarnish that legacy. I waited my time and, by the grace of God, I am here now.”
As a constable, Polk Jr. is a commissioned law enforcement officer, having gone through the Navarro Police Academy. He’s also attended the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas for newly elected constables.
As constable, Polk Jr. is responsible for serving as a bailiff when the JP 3 court is in session, answering citizens’ complaints, making arrests, enforcing court directed orders, performing traffic enforcement, subpoenaing witnesses and executing judgments.
“I want the constable’s office to be recognized for what they do,” he said. “People, a lot of time, don’t know what a constable is or what they do. A constable does a lot. You just don’t see them every day running traffic.
“The job can get dangerous because when you (evict) somebody out of a house or perform a writ where you have to take somebody’s property, it can get dangerous,” Polk Jr. said. “My approach is to talk with a person, stating that this is a job that I have to do because it is court-ordered. It is not me against you.”
Polk Jr. said he strives to treat everyone he encounters fairly and to do what he can to help those he can.
Apart from his official duties, Polk Jr. feels the responsibilities of the constable extend into the community through working with people and serving as a role model for youth.
“I’m all about community policing,” he said. “I wanted to get out and meet with the community to show them that everything they see on TV is not the true story all of the time. They make the police out to be the bad guy when they are not but certain calls call for a certain reaction from a police officer.
“Before school got out, I would go around to a couple of schools and just walk around and shake hands with the kids,” he said. “It is to let them know what police officers look like because, when they get called out, there is a reason for them to be there.”
Before becoming constable, Polk Jr. worked for Waxahachie ISD for three and a half years as a campus security guard. He feels that being a mentor for youth at a young age helps to steer them on an early path to success. When speaking to students, he said he tries to instill confidence in them.
“My thing is, you have to speak up for yourself,” he said. “You can’t dislike a person without knowing a person. Regardless of what race or nationality the person is, just get to know them. That is what I tell them. You have got to look at a person’s heart.”
Polk Jr. said he doesn’t like to see students getting bullied and feels that communication is vital to finding out what is going on in their lives. He said he tries to relate to them as much as he can when he talks with them.