As the portrait of her great-great grandfather looked at her, Dee Aven became the first woman constable in the history of Orange County.

The portrait of her ancestor, County Judge J.T. Adams, hung with other past county judges as the current officer, County Judge Carl Thibodeaux, gave the oath of office to Aven Monday afternoon. Adams served as county judge in 1908.

Becoming the constable of Precinct 2 had another special meaning for the retired sheriff’s deputy. Aven is the replacement for the late Parker Thompson, who encouraged her to go into law enforcement nearly 30 years ago.

“This is a real honor for me,” she said about becoming constable.

As soon as she took the oath of office and accepted congratulatory handshakes, Aven hit the roads to begin working as constable.

Aven is a 1977 graduate of the old West Orange High School and began work as a dispatcher at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in October 1978. She eventually became a certified peace officer. Through the years held a number of different positions, including jailer, patrol, criminal investigator, public relations, crime prevention, DARE officer and the deputy assigned to Little Cypress-Mauriceville school district.

Aven retired from the sheriff’s office in June this year, and has been working two part-time jobs. She called Precinct 2 Commissioner Owen Burton to ask about becoming the interim constable. Burton recommended her for the job last week and the rest of Commissioners Court voted for her appointment. On Monday, she took the oath.
Precinct 2 hasn’t had a full-time constable in months. Thompson had an extended illness that took him from work before he died in September. Commissioners appointed former Pinehurst Mayor Jerry Hussey to constable, but within days, Hussey resigned because of health reasons.

Aven said she doesn’t want to run for the position in 2008, one of the criteria commissioners were looking for in an appointee.

As constable, Aven works as a law enforcement officer and also serves the legal papers for the Precinct 2 justice of the peace court.

She has a son, Cole, 19, who is in the U.S. Army.