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Constables - Role and Authority

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  • Constables - Role and Authority

    First of all, my name is Josh and I'm a new poster to the forums, but I've been a daily reader for about a year now. I think these forums are useful tool for everyone, LEO and Future LEO alike.

    In my parish, there are 7 constables. They're the the law enforcement arm of the Justice of the Peace court and it's a part time position elected by the people of the town they represent. By law, they have general enforcement powers but I rarely hear of them doing anything besidies their civil service duties (subpoenas, physical evictions, etc..).

    I know there are varying roles depending upon location...in the south, the constables seem to have more of a role in general law enforcement (especially in texas)....but what's the situation like where you live....

    and if you're a full time LEO, do you respect the Constable in your area and what they do?

  • #2
    here in Texas,Constables are another branch of Law Enforcement just like any other.Our 3 constables we have for our county serve some papers,not very many though.But they do all the district court,Attorney General Court,and County Court security which frees up my dept.
    Only one of our Constables does much of anything else.He is good about taking calls if we are busy though.

    And yes,I do respect them and really like the one Constable that helps quite a bit.He always buys me lunch!!LOL!!
    FILL YOUR HANDS!!!

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    • #3
      In Utah, they are treated like contracters. They are hired by Justice courts to handle security, bailiff, and serve the process generated in that court. They can be hired by law firms to serve their process too. The must have bsiness licenses and be certified as private investigaters. Their law enforcement powers are limited to what is traditionally required to serve process (including evictions and warrants)and act as a bailiff.

      They're only required to be certified as a Cat II officer.
      I am concerned for the security of our great Nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.

      Douglas MacArthur

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      • #4
        In VT they are elected officials of a town and act as LEO's if that town has not voted to strip them of LEO powers. Otherwise they serve civil process and act as a dog warden in most towns.

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        • #5
          As you can see from these few posts, the duties and powers of constables vary from state to state by law and custom.
          Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

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          • #6
            In SC, Constables are volunteer law enforcement with state-wide jusdiction. They typically work with local agencies on just about anything the local agency feels comfortable with. The only real limitation on Constables is that they can not work as under cover agents. They are trained, armed, have full arrest powers within the state, and can not be compensated in any way.

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            • #7
              As far as I know in Missouri they do not exist, all of the duties, and powers that they seem to have ascribed to them, describes a County Sheriff and his deputies.
              Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by purdinpopo
                As far as I know in Missouri they do not exist, all of the duties, and powers that they seem to have ascribed to them, describes a County Sheriff and his deputies.
                As far as I know we didn' thave them in Oklahoma either.Sheriffs departments do what the Constables do down here.
                FILL YOUR HANDS!!!

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                • #9
                  PA Constables...roles and responsibilities

                  Greetings All.

                  In Pennsylvania, we are known as Pennsylvania State Constables. we are elected in the city, town, or township in which we live. Our primary duties include working with the District Judges in PA to serve civil process, criminal warrants, perform levies, "Sheriff/Constable" sales, etc. We are paid under a fee bill approved by the State government, are trained and certified under PA ACT 44 (enacted in 1994), we must receive 80 hours of classroom/hands-on training, then another 40 hours of firearms instruction to be able to work as a Constable. We are also required to attend a MINIMUM of 40 hours of continuing eductation each year, 20 hours on legal updates, another 20 hours on firearms recertification. We are the oldest law enforcement agency in PA (1664), and for the first 10 years of their existance, the PA State Police were known as the PA State Constabulary. We have full arrest powers under PA Common Law (Unconsolidated Statues Title 18), are considered (and are) sworn law enforcement officers, fall under the provisions of US HB-218 to carry across state lines, and are, under the law, able to work in the capacity of a police officer under the jurisdiction of our local Chief of Police. In my township, I am fortunate that the Chief of Police considers me to be part of his "Law Enforcement Team", and I have assisted his department on a number of occasions. In-contrast, we have the Sherrif's Departments in PA. They have county-wide authority, and work with the Common Pleas court system. We basically do the same things as the Sheriffs, and sometimes work together with them. We can also serve bench warrants and PFA's (Protection from Abuse Orders), although these are usually handled by the PD or Sheriffs. One of the most dangerous things we do is warrant service. Everything from traffic to criminal warrants may be given to us by a Districr Judge to serve. A case-in-point, the Police Officer (Miller) that was shot in Warwick Township, Lancaster County PA was serving a traffic warrant. This made the national news...along with the double homicide a week later. It was my township that these events occurred, and I assisted our PD on both.

                  Bob O'Brien
                  PA State Constable
                  Warwick Township, Lancaster County PA

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                  • #10
                    wow, thanks for the replies...

                    keep em coming, I'd like to hear from the deputy or policeman's point of view also...it's fascinating how different things are from state to state...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by _bluestreak_
                      wow, thanks for the replies...

                      keep em coming, I'd like to hear from the deputy or policeman's point of view also...it's fascinating how different things are from state to state...

                      You just did in both of mine!
                      FILL YOUR HANDS!!!

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                      • #12
                        Here on Long Island (NY) they are armed peace officers employed by a town or village to enforce ONLY town or village laws which can often include the state vehicle and traffic laws which is why they make traffic stops, some also respond to regular 911 calls.

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                        • #13
                          In Canada, the title, "Constable", is a rank in all Municipal and Provincial Police Services, as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and is usually the lowest rank for any Peace Officer that has full law enforcement and investigative responsibilities.
                          #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                          Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                          RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                          Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                          "Smile" - no!

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                          • #14
                            Constable-Role and authority

                            In Alabama, constables have law enforcement authority in the county where elected. They do not have to meet APOST Standards. They have authority to serve process and make arrests, although few if any courts or attorneys utilize them, preferring to have Sheriffs or Private Investigators serve certain process. Constables are not paid, and must provide their own vehicles, uniforms, and equipment. At one time, Alabama had Justices of the Peace, and Constables often worked for, or in conjuction with them. With the elimination of the JP offices, constables have little real function, and they no longer exist in many Alabama counties. Obviously, the office of constable varies from state to state.

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                            • #15
                              It is just another word for town cop here.
                              If you let them they would wear a GEN`s four stars and call themselves Chief.

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