Here’s the Chron overview of the Democratic runoff for Constable in Precinct 1 between Alan Rosen and Cindy Vara-Leija.
Rosen is an investor and a reserve major with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, who has been a certified peace officer for 21 years. He spent six years with Precinct 1 in the 1990s as a full-time deputy and a volunteer reserve. Vara-Leija retired from Precinct 1 as a captain last fall after more than three decades.
Both pledged to perform a thorough review of the agency. Rosen says he will implement an ethics policy; Vara-Leija says she will form an office to investigate external and internal complaints and monitor staff behavior.
“I have valuable insight that my opponent does not. I did come from Precinct 1,” Vara-Leija said. “I know exactly where to go, how to take care of problems that I know are already there.”
Rosen countered that his broad experience – including stints at three constable precincts and the Sheriff’s Office – better places him to restructure the department. “It’s not going to be the same old cronyism that goes on down there,” he said. “I’m a candidate of change.”
Vara-Leija accused Rosen of misrepresenting his post at the Sheriff’s Office by not clarifying that he is a reserve. Rosen called that a “non-issue,” noting that reserves have the same training and arrest powers as full-time officers and that his training hours and patrol experience exceed his opponent’s.
“The sheriff himself does not designate the difference between a reserve or a paid person,” Rosen said. “I’ve arrested hundreds of felons.”
Though the Harris County District Attorney’s Office had been asked to investigate how some Precinct 1 deputies had received mail from the Rosen campaign – officers’ addresses are exempted from public disclosure – prosecutors have confirmed that Rosen was not the target of the probe.
Online, Rosen supporters have questioned whether Vara-Leija knew of Abercia’s alleged crimes while at the precinct.
“My responsibilities and my duties were to supervise and to make sure those under my command were taking care of the community’s needs,” Vara-Leija said. “Whatever was going on in the constable’s office, I was not privy to.”
My interview with Cinday Vara-Leija is here, and my interview with Alan Rosen is here. Unlike the Precinct 2 Constable race, the Chron has made an endorsement in this one, recommending Vara-Leija in May. I think they’re both good people and good candidates, so you can’t go wrong whoever you choose. As long as you vote, it’s all good in this race.