RIO GRANDE CITY — The Starr County commissioners appointed a new constable for precinct 4, a little over a year after the commissioners had appointed someone else to the position.
Joel Rocha, 37, took the oath of office during Monday morning’s commissioners court to finish out the unexpired term vacated by Javier Vela II.
Rocha said he was approached by Pct. 4 County Commissioner Ruben Saenz about filling the position, which he said he was.
“I was looking forward to it,” Rocha said. “I was honored to be asked and I’m excited.”
Rocha’s been in law enforcement since 2003, serving with the sheriff’s office for the majority of that time until August 2018, he said.
Since then, he and his wife, Esmeralda Rocha, opened up a security guard company based in Rio Grande City.
“So that’s what I’ve been doing since,” he said.
Esmeralda Rocha, 36, said she was excited for him, adding that he was deserving of the position.
“He’s worked so hard,” she said.
A constable performs various law enforcement duties, serves warrants, subpoenas, temporary restraining orders, and serves as a bailiff for a justice of the peace.
“This is a different aspect where we actually deal closer with the courts, specifically the justice of the peace court,” Rocha said. “It’s really interesting; it’s a different aspect you get to work with.”
Rocha will now be the third person to hold the constable Pct. 4 position for the same term.
Vela, the previous constable, was appointed in July 2018 and resigned to take a higher-paying job. He had been appointed to replace Jaime Martinez, who was elected to the position in November 2016.
Martinez, however, did not have his peace officer’s license when he was elected and failed to obtain it within the allotted time, forcing his resignation.
The current term expires in December 2020, but Rocha said he would be running to stay in the position for another four years.
“I have support from a lot of friends, family, from the community. So I will be running,” he said.