Q&A with Greg Evans, candidate for Justice of the Peace, precinct 1.
Updated: Feb 11
(Publishing note: The following responses to questions from Beneath the Surface News appear exactly as they were submitted by the candidate. The answers have not been edited in any way.)
Q. What are the main duties of the Justice of the Peace?
A. The main duties of the JP are judicial procedure and death investigations:
Judicial Procedure – There is a general misconception that a Justice of the Peace has to be an attorney, but that is not the case in Texas. A person running for the office of JP must meet certain requirements such as age, citizenship, length of residency, a generally clean personal history and to be of sound mind.
According to the 2018 Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials, Justice of the Peace Duty/Responsibility 1. Judicial Responsibilities states “the most important duties of the justice of the peace (JP) are judicial: holding justice court, acting as judge of small claims court, issuing a variety process and writs in situations where justice court has jurisdiction, holding court for minor misdemeanor offenses, and assisting in evidence proceedings.”
Of course this is not the only duties of a JP. Actually the list is 7 pages long and can be found on the Erath County website.
That being said, a JP must have the ability to run a court room based on knowledge of the law and experience. Traditionally, a judge must rely on conflict resolution to maintain peace and order in a courtroom. Safety must be a priority. Threats and intimidation have no place in court.
As your Justice of the Peace I will maintain a professional and safe courtroom. As your JP my judicial decisions will be unbiased and based on the law.
The question asked above is the “main duties.” And the answer is judicial. It is my opinion the second main duty is death investigation and I will explain below.
Death Investigations - Due to the fact that Erath County does not have the population to require it to have a medical examiner’s office, the Justice of the Peace must attend most death scenes. The JP determines whether an inquest or autopsy is required to determine the cause of death in cases where a doctor will not sign the death certificate.
An additional primary duty of a JP, in my opinion, is to maintain a contract with a nearby medical examiner’s office so that autopsies take place in a timely manner, at a specific location in order to allow for consistency, for cost effectiveness, and to maintain a proper chain of evidence collection.
Q. What educational and career experiences in your background make you the most qualified candidate for this position?
A. Judicial Procedure - As a career law enforcement officer of 45 years reaching my goal of Master Peace Officer, I have spent a great deal of my life preparing for and testifying in courtrooms.
I have spent many hours training for and utilizing conflict resolution as a SWAT officer at hostage situations. My knowledge of the law and its practical application has been updated as the laws have changed.
I have spent hundreds of hours observing outstanding jurists who were professionals in maintaining order in court. I will model my role as JP after the best judges. Safety and decorum will be upheld at all times in my court.
Upon receiving my degree in Criminal Justice, I was promoted to Detective Sergeant with the Dallas Police Department.
During my career I attended over 4900 hours of in-service training in investigative techniques, forensics, and law.
I am familiar with forensic evidence and terminology that is introduced in court. I know what evidence can be allowed and what is tainted and in-admissible.
As a Dallas Police Detective Sergeant, I required all of my detectives to adhere to the rules of law and probable cause in obtaining any warrants and I will, as JP, require the same be upheld in my court.
Death Investigations - As a police officer I was the first on the scene of many criminal offenses where a death occurred, including the loss of police officers and firefighters. My experience and training has served me well in dealing with the angst at a death scene.
A good JP understands the sensitive nature of dealing with relatives and friends of the deceased. I have delivered death notices for 45 years and it never gets any easier but it must be done.
I was selected for special assignment at the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office where I investigated death scenes and observed the follow up autopsies. I have worked with state agencies such as game wardens in the cases of drownings and state troopers in the cases of vehicle and aircraft fatalities.
Whether a death is ruled accidental or intentional, recklessly or knowingly it must be handled professionally. Cooperation is the key to a successful investigation outcome and I promise to maintain an open door policy with victim’s families and investigators.
In regards to a contract with a medical examiner’s office, I have negotiated and maintained contracts to provide for services from the private sector and I consider this to be a priority for my office.
Q. Why did you decide to run for Justice of the Peace?
A. As this question is personal in nature, I must address it personally to your readers. To answer this question fully I must explain what led us to Erath County in 2008.
When our son was recruited to play baseball for Tarleton, I retired shortly thereafter from the City of Dallas after a 36 years career.
My initial plan was to spend the next years watching Tarleton baseball and enjoying retirement. My wife, Bunny, was the Cedar Hill High School Special Education Department Chair and was not ready to retire at that time.
From the start, my wife and I did not know much about Stephenville or Erath County but we learned quickly, as our weekend address became the La Quinta while we attended home games.
During one of the first games, I ran into a fellow Dallas PD retiree who was a captain at the Erath County Sheriff’s Office. Although we had been friends and coworkers in Dallas, we had not seen each other in years.
It was during our reunion that I mentioned that I was a grant writer. Shortly thereafter he convinced me to become an Erath County Reserve Deputy Sheriff.
From 2009 to 2018 I served as both a reserve deputy and, when needed for a short period, a full time deputy for Erath County.
As a reserve deputy I worked patrol duties and special assignments such at the Firecracker Bicycle Race and football games.
During that time I was able to apply my skills to write numerous grants for much needed equipment. It was while I was assisting with the office and jail remodeling project that I was able to obtain grant funds to assist in procuring a new radio system for the dispatch office through North Central Texas Council of Governments.
Another successful grant that I authored provided funds to obtain a new, fully equipped vehicle for our department canine deputy. For this work I was promoted to Lieutenant of Reserves.
As a reserve deputy, I saw the need for all ECSO deputies to attend training to deal with school shootings. Since I am a licensed Texas police instructor, I volunteered to conduct an Active Shooter Response Course for any agency or law enforcement officer wishing to attend free of charge.
The course was attended by most of our local law enforcement officers. The course was considered highly successful earning local, state and national news recognition.
Additionally, I met with most local school districts to discuss the prevention and mitigation of school violence.
It was during my 9 year tenure with the ECSO that my wife and I came to know and love Erath County and the Stephenville area.
I left the ECSO in 2018 in good standing and we bought a home in Timber Hills, north of Stephenville. Bunny and I enjoy raising cattle and gardening. Our daughter and son live nearby so we get to spend time with all our grandchildren on a regular basis.
Besides my vocation as full time peace officer I have always volunteered my time in public service. Previous to moving to Erath County I had served 8 years on the Cedar Hill, Texas Park Board where I was elected chairman. During this period I was selected as a member of the city steering committee where I worked with the city council and economic development board to build an eight million dollar, award winning recreation center.
While living in Cedar Hill, I was president of my homeowners association where we introduced a forum for local candidates; instituted National Night Out and updated our neighborhood park playground and facilities. Our homeowners association was strictly voluntary with no restrictions on homeowners applied. Of 274 homes in the addition most homeowners were members.
When I was contacted about running for Justice of the Peace, I researched the position and following a great deal of prayer and advice from family and friends, including Judge Bass, I decided the time was right for me to run for this position.
To complete my research for the JP position, my wife and I recently attended the 2 day Texas Farm Bureau Campaign Seminar to learn how to successfully run a first time campaign.
The most important lesson we learned is that holding public office affects your spouse and the whole family. I would not do it without their support.
For these reasons I believe I have the experience to be your next Justice of the Peace.
Q. If elected what would you like to accomplish during your first two years in office?
A. Coming from outside the office I can offer a new perspective. I have never settled for the excuse that “We have always done it this way.”
I do not foresee any wholesale changes but I will listen to all JP office staff to see if they have ideas that could improve efficiency and service. I have managed large numbers of staff and supervisors in my career which will aid me in making my decisions.
Teamwork is the key to success. After 2 years my goal for the office will be great service and planning for the future.
I intend to implement my Justice of the Peace for a Day Program as soon as I take office. This program will allow local high school students who are interested in public service careers to attend JP court for a day.
An essay will be required for selection stating the reasons why being JP for a day will help them reach their goals. At the 2 year benchmark of my term I intend the program will be fully functional and my goal of 100% participation by local school districts will have been met.
After 2 years, a steering committee of staff and volunteers will be in place and working to set goals for the long term needs of the JP office in Erath County.
As your JP I will work with everyone to keep Erath County a safe place to live.