Precinct 3 Constable Helm corrects racial profiling report

Hays County Pct. 3 Constable Ray Helm has corrected errors in the racial profiling report he presented to the Commissioners Court on March 3, citing confusion associated with a new reporting system.

In his original report, Helm said that his office conducted 329 traffic stops in 2019 and all but one of the vehicles were searched. That was reversed in his corrected version, which lists only one vehicle search.

He had also reported that 275 “Hispanic/Latino” drivers were stopped, along with eight “black” and 43 “white.” That was corrected to 275 “white” and 43 “Hispanic/Latino.”

The report is required of all Texas law enforcement agencies. Helm’s was the last to be accepted by commissioners, who gave their OK to Pct. 1 Constable David Peterson’s report on Feb. 25; to Pct. 2 Constable Michael Torres’ and Pct. 5 Constable John Ellen’s reports on Feb. 18 and to Pct. 4 Constable Ron Hood’s report on Feb. 4. Commissioners also accepted the Hays County Sheriff’s Office report on Feb. 25.

Helm’s report as presented to commissioners was accepted without discussion as part of the consent agenda.

Though the original version said 328 vehicles were searched, neither it nor the corrected version indicate any contraband was seized. Traffic stops were conducted on 197 male drivers and 137 females. The reports indicate the ethnicity of two of the 329 drivers was known prior to the stop.

All the stops were for moving violation, both versions of the report say. Also, they specify that 189 occurred on a state highway, 72 on city streets and 68 on county roads. None of the stops involved physical force.

Of the 329 stops, Helm said 133 resulted in written warnings and 193 resulted in citations. One stop resulted in an arrest for violation of the penal code.

“I have had to correct the report. I have resubmitted it to TCOLE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement) and spoke to them today,” Helm said in an email March 9. “This is the new reporting system and it was a bit confusing. The report has been fixed and resubmitted to Commissioners Court. I am sorry for the confusion.”

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