A former Hays County Deputy Constable is returning to normal life after facing charges of tampering with government documents, abuse of official capacity and theft by a public servant.
Gary Griffin left Constable Ray Helm’s office in June 2019 with an “Honorable Discharge.”
Griffin said his reason for departure was over differences on several matters happening within the precinct under Helm’s administration.
According to the separation form filed by the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement by Helm, Griffin’s departure was not connected with any “pending or final disciplinary actions or a documented performance problem.”
Griffin wasn’t under investigation for anything at the constable’s office.
In the months following Griffin’s resignation, several complaints were filed with TCOLE against Helm.
The complaints alleged Helm had falsified training records from a June 2019 TCOLE-sanctioned training, did not disclose previous criminal convictions when seeking his peace officer license and acted in a video production, which was later cited as “drone training.”
One of the complaints, filed in November 2019, alleged Helm and 11 deputy constables received credit hours for body-camera training; after two months of interviews and investigation, TCOLE reprimanded Helm for falsifying the document.
However, in January, shortly after TCOLE reached its decision, Hays County District Court Judge David Junkin received and signed five arrest warrants for Griffin from Constable Helm.
The affidavits asserted Griffin had used his position within the constable’s office to tamper with government documents and even steal some of them.
Griffin surrendered himself to local authorities and denied the charges; after spending 13 hours in jail, he was released without bond to begin the battle against the charges.
Griffin said, “I was an honorable, respected police officer in Central Texas for over 34 years. And me having to surrender myself on bogus, illegal, unlawful charges, it destroyed my credibility in my community” and went way past embarrassment for not only him but his family, friends, children and everybody he had taught as an active instructor in his career.
Griffin said he began his career in law enforcement in Hays County and eventually went to serve the Round Rock and Williamson County communities.
After retirement, he began serving as a security site lead for a major hospital in the Austin area and was approached by Constable Helm to be his second in command.
Griffin said he had to surrender his job at the hospital following his arrest.
“I had to self-surrender private security license, my personal protection license, my retired police officer credentials,” Griffin continued. “I was an active member at the Texas State Guard as a warrant officer; I had to be placed on inactive status. My concealed handgun license I had to self-surrender.”
Griffin’s case was deferred to Caldwell County District Attorney Fred Weber after Hays County County DA Wes Mau recused himself and his office from handling Griffin’s potential prosecution.
On March 10, Weber informed Mau in two letters that the charges against Griffin contained insufficient credible evidence, and the Caldwell County District Attorney’s office would not pursue prosecution on any of the five charges.
According to Griffin, his attorney requested the documents from Helm’s investigation but received only the affidavits used to obtain the arrest warrants.
“I have since been exonerated,” Griffin said, “But I’ve got an expungement issue to contend with. I’ve been financially impacted because of this. I’ve been financially impacted because of this. I don’t believe there is an adjective that effectively describes how this has affected me.”
Griffin said he has been able to get his concealed handgun license, private security license, his personal protection license and his retired police officer credentials reinstated, but he is still working on getting reinstated as an active member at the Texas State Guard.
“He did this out of retribution and retaliation and anger,” Griffin said. “That is not what cops are supposed to do. They are supposed to follow the facts. And if probable cause exists, they deal with it, and if it doesn’t, they don’t.”
Griffin said he intends to file a civil lawsuit against Helm and Hays County, but the Supreme Court has closed the court filings until May 31.
In the meantime, Constable Helm has been the subject of investigations by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and the Hays County Auditor’s Office recently.
Helm is expected to have a meeting with the Texas Attorney General and TCOLE soon to hear the results of the investigations.