Who’s Protecting Marfa Citizens Until A PD Is Formed?

MARFA, TX (Ben Caxton) — Last month Marfa fired Pecos County Sheriff Danny Dominguez and his deputies in a dispute over accountability and contract terms. Marfa has relied on the Sheriff’s Department for policing since it disbanded its own force in 2008 and now is in the process of hiring a new police force for the city. But in the interim, the Sheriff has fired most of his deputies as a cost-saving move, including those assigned to Marfa. After statements by the Sheriff at a council meeting that if residents needed help he’d give them phone numbers for the mayor and council to call, and a public spat with the new mayor when her home was vandalized after the recent election and many believed the Sheriff did not properly respond, the question of just who is protecting Marfa has become more urgent. Valentine Radio News put the question to the Marfa City Attorney “That’s a question for the Sheriff.” Teresa Todd went on to explain that it’s about priorities, “The Sheriff has said, Sheriff Dominguez, if it’s not an emergency, that they want to prioritize emergencies.” Sheriff Dominguez for his part has said that without the income from Marfa’s contract, and the resulting loss of staff, he does not have Deputies available to personally handle every call, and had said that the graffiti incident at the mayor’s office did not warrant immediate attention from his office. So no officers were sent., So what crimes and calls require a response, and what to do if you call for help and no one comes? “I don’t know what [Dominguez] thinks qualifies as an emergency so if the Sheriff’s Office does not respond then folks can ask for it to be transferred to the Constable. And DPS has offered to provide backup services to the Constable if he needs those.” Marfa has budgeted $216,000 for a new city force. They’re in the process of hiring a full-time police chief, a full-time officer, and two part-time officers that will answer directly to the Marfa City Council.

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