Sharing Career Experiences with Constables at LEMIT

Program Coordinator Rebecca Bowden, Contables.
Program Coordinator Rebecca Bowden, Contables

Rebecca Bowden was the first female Deputy Constable hired in Jefferson County, and she rose through the ranks during her 27 years to become Chief Deputy of the agency. Now Bowden is joining the Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT) to share her experience with other up-and-coming Constable leaders.

In the 1980s, as a Beaumont Police Officer, Bowden applied for the Deputy Constable position, only to be told there were no openings for secretaries in the office. When she told then-Constable Frank Rollins that she was applying for a law enforcement job, he took her under his wing, meeting with her daily for two weeks. When he died suddenly, his wife Marie was appointed to fill his unexpired term and one of her first official acts was to hire Bowden as a deputy.

Female Constable exiting a patrol car.“I learned that just because you are female, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be in leadership roles,” said Bowden.

“I have stepped up throughout my career and been in leadership positions. I have never taken a step back in my career. I want to see other women step up and go forward.”

Bowden is the Program Coordinator for two mandatory training programs for newly elected Constables as well a continuing education program for Constables every four years. She hopes to bring her knowledge and experience from the field to the classroom to help the next generation of leadership.

“I’m excited that I am going to be part of their education, and I look forward to learning new things and techniques in training them,” Bowden said.

Photo of light bar of police car with officers in the background.Bowden is a graduate of several LEMIT programs, including the Leadership Command College, the Texas Constables Leadership College and Leadership Inventory for Female Executives. She is an instructor with the Texas Justice Court Training Center, a program at Texas State University which provides mandatory training for Constables, Justices of the Peace, and other court personnel. Bowden also is pursuing a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice Leadership and Management at Sam Houston State University, College of Criminal Justice.

During her 30 year law enforcement career, Bowden has worked in city and county law enforcement, including in patrol, in a burglary unit, on a tactical team and as an undercover narcotics officer. In the Constable’s Office, she introduced a civil service tracking system, which is used by attorneys to monitor the processing of court documents, for which her office earned the Best Practices Award from the Justice of the Peace and Constable’s Association of Texas. She was also instrumental in getting bulletproof doors and windows installed in her office to protect clerks.

Court documents being signed by a judge.The Jefferson County Constable’s Office handles civil process, and she has been involved in evictions and child custody disputes. As a licensed peace officer, she sometimes finds herself handling fatal accidents and robbery cases.

“I have been a city police officer and a Deputy Constable and my jobs have run the gamut,” said Bowden. “I have been an undercover narcotics officer to a midnight patrolman on the street, I’ve seen just about everything you can imagine”.

Member of The Texas State University System