Area law enforcement agencies receive numerous requests to perform a service commonly known as a Civil Stand-By. Due to exceptional liability issues and the threat of law suits, most law enforcement agencies no longer perform this service under any circumstances. There is no legal requirement that a law enforcement agency provide Civil Stand-By service.
The Galveston County Constable's Office, Precinct 4, may, on occasion, perform this service only under very limited circumstances and within strict guidelines. (See Below)
Most requests for a Civil Stand-By are initiated by a household member, spouse, roommate, tenant, or lessee.
Under the rules of Marriage and Common Law, all property at a residence is known as common or community property. The Constable's Office cannot demand or use force to recover this type of property without a court order.
Under Tennant or Lessee agreements, if the property owner or manager chooses to lock out a tenant, the property owner must provide the tenant with a 24-hour key accessibility to the property until such time as legal (court ordered) eviction has been granted. Likewise, a roommate or family member may be evicted by the homeowner.
Request for Civil Stand-By Guidelines Rules
- Both parties to the dispute must agree to the Constable's or Deputy Constable's presence. The Deputy's only role is to keep the peace. Officers will not participate in physically moving or removing any property.
- The party or parties requesting to remove property must provide a written list of the property to be removed. Both parties must agree to the items to be removed and no other property will be removed.
- Both parties agree not to engage in verbal or physical disputes or altercations.
- Only necessary items such as toiletries, medications, clothes, personal hygiene will be removed during this process. A court order will be required to remove property that one person cannot hand carry out through the front door. The Constables Office may request a hearing with the Justice of the Peace to verify the ownership of the property you wish to obtain.
- The Constable and Chief Deputy or designee must approve (sign off) on the request form prior to performance of the service.
- This service is only made available on Monday - Friday from 8:00am until 5:00pm. During the availability of the District Attorney's Office in case we need to refer to them. Under emergency situations, assistance may be provided at any time by your local law enforcement agency.
- If a history of family violence has been previously reported to the Police, this office may assist you without the other party's agreement in the event of an emergency or to acquire necessary (medical) items for you or a child.
- The Galveston County Constable's Office Precinct 8 has the right to accept or deny this service at any time.
- You must agree that if you are advised to leave by the Constable or Deputy, you will do so.
- You will take no longer than 15 minutes to remove your property.