Retiring Longview police officer Mike Grisham was appointed Thursday to fill an unexpired term as Gregg County Pct. 1 constable.
Grisham, whose retirement reception is at 2 p.m. today at Longview Police Department, will assume the constable job Sept. 1 — one day after elected Pct. 1 Constable James Plumlee retires Aug. 31.
Grisham’s decorated resume includes 1985 Rookie of the Year; three-time Officer of the Year in 1992, 2002 and 2014; the 1993 Meritorious Conduct; and the News-Journal 100 People You Can Trust awards, but he’s been most visible through his duties on Longview High School Viewette security detail since 1988, Drug Abuse Resistance Education fifth-grade curriculum instructor, traffic patrol and investigation and a dozen years as a hostage and crisis negotiator.
In 1997, he was named Regional Negotiator of the Year by the Texas Association of Hostage Negotiators.
Grisham has accumulated 6,578 education and course hours through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.
“I believe my 35 years of law enforcement experience at the Longview Police Department demonstrates I have the skills and personality to perform the duties of constable,” Grisham said in requesting the appointment. “I am a driven, organized, very dependable and personable servant that handles situations with straightforward honesty and diplomacy. I pride myself in the fact I take tough scenarios to calm successful solutions.”
Plumlee announced his retirement in mid-March after submitting his intentions to County Judge Bill Stoudt and Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace B.H. Jameson. His 28-year law enforcement career includes the past 14 years as constable, but his departure leaves Grisham to complete the current term that ends Dec. 31, 2020.
Grisham will receive the same $45,900-a-year salary that Plumlee receives, County Auditor Laurie Woloszyn said.
“They’re going to make the same amount of money as the elected official because that’s what it’s published at,” Woloszyn said.
Before the appointment was unanimously approved, Pct. 2 Commissioner Darryl Primo asked whether Grisham would earn the full salary regardless of his appointment — rather than being elected — or the number of hours he works. Woloszyn answered that neither elected officials nor appointees report their hours to the Auditor’s Office.
“Do you think we should have some way to measure performance?” Primo asked. “Don’t people in the private sector have to measure performance somehow or another?”
Woloszyn answered, “Not an elected official. Again, they are elected by the public and answer to the public. I prefer the auditor not be the involved in the middle of that one.”
Constables serve summonses and other court papers and officiate on-site during evictions. They are certified peace officers, often back up other departments and sometimes perform traffic patrols.
“During my years at the police department, I have intermittently filled in for our traffic sergeants administratively,” said Grisham, a Silsbee native, “and because of my knowledge, many people continuously come to me with traffic- and ordinance-related questions. I have come to understand the complexities politics can have on law enforcement and have learned to navigate this area kindly and professionally.”