SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - A Smith County deputy constable under investigation for allegedly pulling a gun on party guests after money went missing is now officially licensed with the State of Texas. But, he is on unpaid leave.
23-year-old Derek Phillips was hired by Constable Henry Jackson's office. The problem started with his paperwork. Constable Jackson gave KLTV a copy of the official notice from TCLEOSE that Phillips' license has now been issued.
Ironically, the day he becomes official, he's off the streets due to an investigation by the Texas Rangers. TCLEOSE says they rejected Phillips license application on June 24th because of missing information. Then, just Thursday, Constable Jackson faxed the corrected form.
Questions have also been raised over Phillips' history of Class "C" misdemeanors, including speeding tickets, driving without car insurance in the past, and a minor in possession of alcohol.
But Gregg County Justice of the Peace B.H. Jameson, says minor offenses like that cannot affect a peace officer's license.
"It would be a concern but he'd need to look at each individual offense and situation of what took place," said Jameson. "What one office would not hire another office may. It depends on any expertise he may have."
One East Texas constable says he would not have hired Phillips because, in his opinion, those traffic violations would be too big of a liability.
TCLEOSE says that it wasn't illegal for Phillips to work without a license because an agency technically has 30 days. But, it isn't recommended they be sworn in until the form is officially accepted.