HAYS COUNTY — With a fast-growing population and the need to handle additional inquests, Hays County recently swore in Judge J.R. Mendoza Jr. as the Justice of the Peace (JP), Pct. 2, Place 2. He will work alongside longtime Pct. 2 JP Beth Smith in the Kyle precinct office.
The Hays County Commissioners Court appointed Mendoza. The newly approved role will become an elected position in November 2024.
“I am honored to serve as a Hays County Justice of the Peace,” Mendoza said. “I have long been a part of this community and have seen it grow over the years. As a JP, I will aim to do what’s best for Hays County residents.”
With a college degree and more than 10 years of law enforcement experience, including most recently with the city of San Marcos as both a park ranger and a police officer, Mendoza believes he brings many of the skills needed to be a judge.
“At the San Marcos Police Department, my roles included patrol officer, field training officer, school resource officer, crash team investigator and defensive tactics instructor,” he said.
He was also awarded the Police Medal of Honor in 2018 for his actions.
Mendoza grew up in Hays County, graduating from Jack C. Hays High School. He attended Our Lady of the Lake University, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science. After college, he worked for the State of Texas and spent more than 12 years overseeing the management and expenditure of state and federal funds. Mendoza has also been a board member for various nonprofit organizations, including the Hays County Emergency Services District #2.
“I’m ready to begin fulfilling my role as a Hays County Justice of the Peace in Precinct 2 and look forward to working with Judge Smith and with the community,” he said.