'I want to make sure people get justice': Montgomery County police captain to run for Justice of the Peace
THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- After 26 years in law enforcement, Montgomery County Constable Precinct 3 Captain Dan Zientek is ready for a new challenge.
Zientek intends to run for the position of Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 as Judge Edie Connelly retires in 2018 after three decades on the bench.
"It's an exciting, new way to serve the community," Zientek said. "I want to make sure people get justice. If someone has caused someone else harm, we want justice."
The role of JP in Montgomery County is vast, including overseeing civil court matters, signing arrest warrants, handling juvenile matters such as truancy, performing civil ceremonies, and serving as the county's coroner for both natural and unexpected deaths.
Zientek is a native Texan. He graduated from Magnolia High School with the goal of becoming a police officer, only to find out he wasn't old enough – he had to be 21 to go to the police academy.
Instead, Zientek went into emergency medical services, eventually becoming a paramedic. And when he was finally old enough to be a cop, he attended the University of Houston Police Academy. After graduating, Zientek worked both jobs – policeman and paramedic.
"I was always interested in medicine, because my mom worked in the medical field," Zientek said. "I thought about going to medical school. But instead, I got on the ambulance and in the police, and both of those fulfilled a drive I had in me to serve others."
His law enforcement career spans more than 26 years with Montgomery County Constable Precinct 5, Harris County Constable Precinct 4, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office and Montgomery County Constable Precinct 3.
Zientek has worked his way up through the ranks, from patrol duty to homicide detective, from sergeant to captain.
He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, and is an adjunct instructor at the Texas A&M TEEX Forensic Science Academy.
"I've seen horrible situations. I've seen people in a lot of pain. I've had to tell parents they will never see their kid again," Zientek said. "It does take a toll. But I've learned that it's what you do with it. By nature, I'm calm and patient. I feel I can help people and families even when it seems like their world is collapsing around them."
Zientek attributes his strength in the face of difficult times to family, faith and community.
He and his wife Kristie, a Conroe ISD teacher, are longtime members and volunteers at The Woodlands Church. They have two daughters, Hannah, 13, and Alex, 12. Zientek also has a 30-year-old son, Dan.
"I have been so blessed," Zientek said. "God has opened door after door. There is simply no other explanation.
"I would love to be elected as Justice of the Peace and serve the community in a new way," he said. "But if it doesn't work out, that's ok. I'm still a captain at the Constable's agency, and I will still embrace serving the public that way."