County pulls request for new patches after Defenders expose constable's false claim to history

Precinct 2 constable had requested $2,147 for new patches

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County auditor has pulled a request from an area constable to have the county pay for new uniform patches, a day after the KSAT 12 Defenders exposed that the patch includes a false claim to history.

Precinct 2 Constable Michelle Barrientes Vela has repeatedly claimed publicly that she is the first female constable in county history, to the point that the phrase "Making History 2017 1st Female M.B.V." now appears on patches worn by law enforcement personnel within her agency.

But records uncovered by the county clerk's Spanish Archives Division and then provided to the Defenders show that Mrs. S.M. "Indana" Meeks was appointed constable in July 1941, after the death of her husband, S.M. Meeks.

Records show Mrs. Meeks served in that capacity for Precinct 1 for much of the decade.

County commissioners were scheduled to vote on the $2,147 expenditure request Tuesday, until the auditor pulled it for review, according to a county spokeswoman.

If the auditor determines that it is not a county-related expense, Barrientes Vela may have to cover the cost of the purchased patches herself.

A Facebook post disputing the constable's claim of being the first female constable first appeared online late last month.

When questioned about the Facebook post, Barrientes Vela said via email, "It is very sad that a certain individual seek (sic) to destroy my Credibility (sic), however I am the first elected Hispanic female in Pct.2 (sic) Bexar County."

When told that many of her past social media posts did not include the qualifiers "elected" and "Hispanic," Barrientes Vela replied via email, "Sir I ran in Bexar County Pct. 2 of Bexar County area and not in Pct. 1. (sic) of Bexar County. I ran for an Elected (sic) position and not an appointed position. I am the first elected Hispanic female in Bexar County Pct. 2 and the first female in Bexar County Pct. 2. There are more valued stories at this time with my office such as saving positions and voicing concerns for my Deputies (sic)."

About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.