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  • Tennessee Constable

    I was wondering if anyone out there has any direct info about TN constables. Ive read the laws, and have a general understanding. How do they go about electing them, which counties have them removed from LE powers (Metro?), ect. I have a friend who is thinking about running, and ive always been curious myself.

    Also, if anyone here is a constable, how do you get paid? From what I understand you get money for each ticket, arrest and paper service. Im curious if these guys make any money? Thanks

  • #2
    I know that Sewanee (on Monteagle Mtn) has a constable. They also have Sewanee PD and Franklin Co SO so I'm not sure what the constable does. I have seen him in a marked vehicle though.
    I'm 10-8 like a shark in a sea of crime..


    • #3
      Yes they do still have law enforcement powers in most of the counties where they still remain. It is interesting to note that they exist in some of the more populous counties and do not in the least populous counties. They still exist mainly in East Tennessee to this date.

      The office has been abolished in most class one and two counties the states all class one and two, but then it goes on to give exceptions for certain counties. What this means is that Davidson (Metro Nashville), Hamilton (Chattanooga), Knox (Knoxville), Shelby (Memphis). Sullivan is a class II county, however, the population bracket excepts them as being abolished. They may also elect by constable districts selected by the county, rather then be forced to elect no more than half the number of county commissioners with two being from the county town. Sullivan County, as a result, has 24 elected constables. Other populous counties that retain the office of Constable are Madison (Jackson), Sevier, Wilson and Anderson with full law enforcement powers. Rutherford still has the office, although by law it should be abolished since it is a now a class II county and not exempted by population brackets. They have, however, by statue removed law enforcement powers since about 1993 in if I read the history right. Williamson abolished the office before the 2006 election.

      I believe that 56 of the 95 counties have constables now. Most of them still have law enforcement powers. One cannot find which ones have easily by looking at the statues as a county can remove the law enforcement powers with the exception of eight or so. Such counties include Lincoln, Louden, Blount, Bradley, Polk, Monroe, Wilson and Roane. Although it is interesting to note by another statue Blount and Louden counties the office is abolished, so go figure that one.

      Now as far as being elected constable, it takes an election to do so. By general law they are elected to four year terms and are elected by district. This is, however, not true for all counties as the general law may have a private act or a application of population bracket to narrow to a certain county to have elections for every two years. One must be 21, not have been convicted of a felony, read and write, and be a resident of the district in which they intend to run in. Constable districts are usually the same as commissioner districts, but that may not be the case. One county has a general law that only applies to that county that sets election districts to include a separate district for each incorporated town. That was done in order for a town to have a cheap alternative to having pay for a police officer or town marshal. So anyway, you need to know which district you reside in. Keep in mind some districts may have more than one slot depending if it is in the county town, or if the county has a general law specific to that county. You need to get 25 signatures from registered voters from the district. You need to qualify several weeks prior to the election. Fentress county is exempt from the reading and writing law, btw.
      Last edited by AvalancheZ71; 06-08-2007, 09:36 PM.
      That's what they do, it's a trailer park.


      • #4
        Here is how a constable gets paid.

        8-21-901. Sheriffs and constables — Specific fees authorized. —

        (i) For service in person: . . . . . $20.00
        (ii) For service by mail: . . . . . $10.00
        (iii) For service by acceptance or consent or any other authorized method: . . . . . $10.00
        (B) For summoning jurors in any proceeding: . . . . . $5.00
        (C) For serving or delivering any other process or notice not related to a judicial proceeding and issued by an entity other than a court: . . . . . $10.00
        (D) For returning any service of process where the sheriff or constable attempts service but is unsuccessful, the sheriff or constable shall only be entitled to: . . . . . $7.00.
        (2) Collection of money; returning, transporting, storing or establishing possession of property.
        (A) For a levy of an execution on property or levy of an attachment or other process to seize property for the purpose of securing satisfaction of a judgment yet to be rendered or for executing a writ of replevin or writ of possession: . . . . . $40.00

        (B) (i) For collecting money to satisfy a judgment, whether by execution, fieri facias, garnishment or other process, in civil cases each time collection is attempted: . . . . . $20.00
        (ii) For purposes of the payment of fees for garnishments as provided in this subdivision (a)(2)(B), all garnishments shall be deemed to be original garnishments and the sheriff or other person authorized by law to serve garnishments shall be entitled to the fee provided for in this subdivision (a)(2)(B) for each such garnishment served.
        (C) Whenever the sheriff or constable provides for the storage or maintenance of property including, but not limited to, vehicles, livestock and farm and construction equipment, that has been levied on by execution, attachment or other process, the sheriff or constable is entitled to demand and receive a reasonable per day fee for such services. The sheriff or constable is also entitled to demand and receive reimbursement for costs of transportation of such personal property to a suitable location for storage and maintenance when such action is necessary to secure such property. Any such fees for transportation, maintenance and/or storage shall be approved by the court issuing the execution, attachment or other process.
        (3) Arrest and transportation of prisoners, bail bond.
        (A) For executing every capias, criminal warrant, summons or other leading process, making arrests in criminal cases and carrying to jail, prison or other place of incarceration and guarding defendant arrested by warrant involving taking custody of a defendant: . . . . . $40.00
        (B) For citation in lieu of arrest or criminal warrant not involving physical custody of a defendant: . . . . . $25.00
        (C) For every bail bond: . . . . . $5.00
        (D) If a sheriff or constable is required to act as a guard to escort prisoners, such sheriff shall be entitled to a per mile fee equal to the mileage allowance granted federal employees. Such fee shall be separate for each prisoner and computed on the distance actually traveled with the prisoner and shall be for no more than two (2) guards. Such fee shall only apply when the sheriff or constable is required to transport a prisoner from county to county or from state to state. Similarly, the sheriff shall be entitled to the same mileage allowance when required to transport a prisoner to a hospital or other mental health facility in another county or state for a judicially ordered evaluation.
        (E) When two (2) or more criminal warrants are executed at the same time against the same individual, there shall be but one (1) arrest fee allowed when the fee is chargeable to the county and/or the state.
        (4) Security Services.
        (A) For attending on grand jury, or waiting in court: . . . . . per day $75.00
        (B) For waiting with a sequestered jury: . . . . . per day $100
        (5) Data processing services.
        (A) For data processing services: . . . . . $2.00

        Oh don't for making much with traffic stops.
        55-8-152. Speed limits — Penalties. —....
        e) (1) The fees of sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and other police officers, other than salaried officers, for making arrests for violations of the speed restrictions of this chapter, shall be one dollar ($1.00).
        (2) The reference to sheriffs, deputy sheriffs and other police officers in this subsection (e) also includes constables in counties of this state having a population of: (I removed the bracket for brevity.) according to the 1960 federal census or any subsequent federal census, and Fentress and Hamblen Counties.
        That's what they do, it's a trailer park.


        • #5
          So where does that money come from? The State of TN, or the County? Also, does the constable have to answer to anyone (i.e. sheriffs, county mayor, county commission, governor)? I know that in some states(KY), the elected constables are allowed to appoint deputies. Is there anything similar in TN?


          • #6
            The only person that a constable answers to is the people of his voting district. It is his constititues that he answers to. The only place that a Constable answers to a sheriff is per the duties of a constable.
            8-10-111. Duties. —
            (a) It is the duty of a constable to execute all process lawfully directed to the constable, and to wait upon the court, when appointed by the county legislative body or by the sheriff, as the case may be.

            However, that only pertains to the constable being appointed by the sheriff to wait upon the court. Since their is no other direction, law, or case on this, no one that I have spoken with knows what that may mean. Their is no other provision for what a constable is to do if he is called to wait upon the court and to what reason a sheriff would call a constable to wait upon the court. This may also make the sheriff liable for any action that a constable would make. This would also possibly be unconstitutional per the TN constititution.

            Now the county legislative body does have a little more pull. As provided earlier the county legislative body may appoint the constable to wait upon the court. However, as stated earlier, for what reason and to do what? I have never heard of this occuring in modern times. The real power of the county legislative body over the constable is the removal of the office and the removal of law enforcement powers. So one should be aware of the attitudes of the county legislative body before he performs over the expectations of the body. This happened very recently where a constable became very active in a county district where the previous constable was not very active. Well this ticked off the police chief of that city and before long the county removed the law enforcement powers of constables in that county and then they abolished the office all together.

            A constable in Tennessee cannot appoint a deputy. Their is no law that allows for a constable to appoint a deputy. Under TN law, an offical may not perform a duty or function unless the law states that he may do so.

            A constable gets a check from the county court clerks office upon service of process.
            That's what they do, it's a trailer park.


            • #7
              Wow. In Arkansas, constables generally get one dollar a year from the state. I think one of the more populated counties has a constables office complete with deputy constables and numerous NCIC / ACIC terminal hookups. I assume they're paid by some geopolitical entity.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Eddiebauer86 View Post
                I was wondering if anyone out there has any direct info about TN constables. Ive read the laws, and have a general understanding. How do they go about electing them, which counties have them removed from LE powers (Metro?), ect. I have a friend who is thinking about running, and ive always been curious myself.

                Also, if anyone here is a constable, how do you get paid? From what I understand you get money for each ticket, arrest and paper service. Im curious if these guys make any money? Thanks
                Did you friend win the election?
                That's what they do, it's a trailer park.


                • #9
                  In KY where I am from we have Constables and like the poster before me wrote, they can and do appoint Deputies. Under KRS they are considered Peace Officers, which means they have arrest powers. When I worked at the jail in Warren Co. (Bowling Green) they would come in from time to time but mainly for mental persons transport. I believe they can also go to the state training academy in Richmond. When I was a student at WKU they were often hired for security at house parties.



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