Riley, who currently serves as Precinct 2 Commissioner in Montgomery County, had just moved to town and dabbled in rebuilding old motorcycles with his brother and friends. Naturally, Riley said to a crowd Friday night, you have to see how fast your bike goes once you’re done fixing it up.
Little did he know, Precinct 5 Constable David Hill, who was a rookie DPS trooper in Magnolia at the time, was on patrol that night waiting to catch the punks and bad guys who happened to come out. Riley was booking it down the farm-to-market road when he saw his fate coming at him, fast.
“The first thing I saw was a black and white Plymouth,” Riley said. “I knew the minute I saw that car I needed to pull over.”
But he wasn’t heading to jail. Instead, Hill took Riley back home for his parents to deal with him.
That was how Hill would patrol the West Montgomery County community as a trooper in the 1970s and then from 1982 until today as Precinct 5 Constable. Hill’s 50 years in law enforcement were celebrated Friday night at a special dinner in Magnolia where friends, family and fellow law enforcement officers gathered to honor the veteran constable.
Hill grew up in the small city of Palestine in Anderson County and graduated from the DPS academy in 1968. He was assigned to patrol in the Magnolia area, where he planned on only staying for about two years.
“If hearts were equipped with tears like my eyes, my heart would be crying right now,” Hill said. “This is why I’m in Magnolia, these folks right here. It’s not the other way around. I came here as a rookie, green as a gourd, barely 21 years old. They put their arms around me and made me part of this community.”
Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace Matt Masden, who worked for Hill up until 2006 when he was elected to his current position, said Hill’s a good friend who has done an outstanding job in his time serving the county.
“I know he’s done a great job,” Masden said. “We know what loss is, people who have lost their loved ones. We’ll never lose this man. He’s put a stamp on this area that I think won’t ever go away.”
The dinner almost felt like it was setting up for Hill to announce his retirement from law enforcement. After all, as Hill pointed out, not many law enforcement officers have served as long as him. Hill even pointed out who he would endorse as his replacement, current Precinct 5 Constable’s Captain Billy Masden.
But Hill’s tenure as constable is far from over, he said.
“I have three and a half years left in my term, the best place in the world to be,” Hill said. “I don’t have to come into work, but I want to. I want to continue helping everybody, and I want to work hard.”