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Two police constables from the Thames Valley Police.
Auxiliary police constables from the Toronto Police Service.

A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions.

Historically, the title comes from the Latin comes stabuli (count of the stables) and originated from the Eastern Roman Empire; originally, the constable was the officer responsible for keeping the horses of a lord or monarch.[1][2] The title was imported to the monarchies of medieval Europe, and in many countries developed into a high military rank and great officer of State (e.g. the Constable of France).

Most constables in modern jurisdictions are law enforcement officers; in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth of Nations and some European countries, a constable is the lowest rank of police officer, while in the United States a constable is generally an elected peace officer with lesser jurisdiction than a sheriff. However, in the Channel Islands a constable is an elected office-holder at the parish level.

Historically, a constable could also be someone in charge of the defence of a castle. Even today, there is a Constable of the Tower of London.

Historical usage

Byzantine Empire

The position of constable originated from the Byzantine Empire; by the 5th century AD the comes stabuli, or count of the stable, was responsible for the keeping of horses at the imperial court.[2] Later on, the position became a high military office.

Byzantine administrative structures were largely adopted by Charlemagne in developing his empire; the position of Constable, along with the similar office of Marshal, spread throughout the emerging states of Western Europe during this period.[1] In most medieval nations, the constable was the highest-ranking officer of the army, and was responsible for the overseeing of martial law.[3]


The Constable of France (Connétable de France), under the French monarchy, was the First Officer of the Crown of France and was originally responsible for commanding the army. His symbol of office was a sword in a sheath of royal blue.[3] Some constables were prominent military commanders in the medieval period, such as Bertrand du Guesclin who served from 1370 to 1380.


The office of the constable was introduced in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066 and was responsible for the keeping and maintenance of the king's armaments and those of the villages as a measure of protecting individual settlements throughout the country.[4]

The office of Lord High Constable, one of the Great Officers of State, was established in England and Scotland during the reign of King Stephen (1135-1154) and was responsible for the command of the army. The term was also used at the local level within the feudal system however, describing an officer appointed to keep order.[5] One of the first descriptions of the legal role of a constable comes from Bracton, a jurist writing between 1220 and 1250[6]:

In whatever way they come and on whatever day, it is the duty of the constable to enroll everything in order, for he has record as to the things he sees; but he cannot judge, because there is no judgment at the Tower, since there the third element of a judicial proceeding is lacking, namely a judge and jurisdiction. He has record as to matters of fact, not matters of judgment and law.[7]

In Bracton's time, anyone seeing a "misdeed" was empowered to make an arrest, whether or not they were a constable. The role of the constable in Bracton's description was as the "eyes and ears" of the court, finding evidence and recording facts on which judges could make a ruling. By extension, the constable was also the "strong arm" of the court (i.e., of the common law), marking the basic role of the constable that continues into the present-day.[8]

In 1285, King Edward I of England passed the Statute of Winchester, which "constituted two constables in every hundred to prevent defaults in towns and highways".[9] There are records of parish constables by the 17th century in the county records of Buckinghamshire; traditionally they were elected by the parishioners, but from 1617 onwards were typically appointed by justices of the peace in each county.[9]

The system of policing by unpaid parish constables continued in England until the 19th century; in the London metropolitan area it was ended by the creation of the Metropolitan Police in 1829, [10] and outside London by the County Police Act 1839, which allowed counties to establish full-time professional police forces. However, the term "constable" was still used by officers of the new police forces, and most outside London were headed by a chief constable.[11][12] This system is still used today.

Other European nations

The position of hereditary constable persists in some current or former monarchies of Europe. The position of Lord High Constable of Scotland is hereditary in the family of the Earl of Erroll. There is also a hereditary constable of Navarre in Spain; this position is presently held by the Duchess of Alba.[3]

Historically, many other hereditary constables existed as officers of state in former monarchies. Examples are the Constable of Castile (Condestable de Castilla) and the Constable of Portugal (Condestável do Reino).

Modern usage by country


In the Danish armed forces the ranks "Konstabel" and "Overkonstabel" are used for junior soldiers, sailors and airmen. The rank is more or less equal to a private.


In the Finnish Police, the lowest rank of police officer is called konstaapeli, translated into English as Constable.[13] The next highest rank (equivalent to a Police Sergeant in the English-speaking world) is ylikonstaapeli (yli- "leading"), translated as Senior Constable.[14]

United Kingdom and the Commonwealth

In the legal systems of the United Kingdom and similar jurisdictions, a constable has the additional legal powers of arrest and control of the public given to him or her directly by a sworn oath and warrant, rather than being delegated powers that he or she has simply because of employment as a police officer. Technically this means that each sworn constable is an independent legal official rather than simply an agent of the police. It also means that all sworn police officers of all ranks in these countries legally are constables, since it is from this office that they derive their powers, although the term usually refers to a police officer who holds no rank.

Senior Constable can sometimes mean the head of the police force in an area, but this is not the case in the UK. In Australia it generally refers to a police officer of the rank above constable. The New South Wales Police Force has three grades of Senior Constable, namely Senior Constable (2 chevrons), Incremental Senior Constable (2 chevrons and a bar) and Leading Senior Constable (2 chevrons and 2 bars). However Leading Senior Constable is not a rank per se, rather it is a temporary "training" position and is not senior to Incremental Senior Constable.

Head Constable is the title for a police sergeant in some Commonwealth police forces. It was also the title of some British police force chiefs until police ranks were standardised.

For more information, see police or United Kingdom police.


In Canada, as in the United Kingdom, Constable (translated to Canadian French as Gendarme[15]) is the lowest rank in most police services, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.[16]

In addition, the chief officers of some municipal police services in Canada, notably Vancouver Police Department, carry the title of Chief Constable.[17]

Channel Islands

Constable's Office in St. Brelade, Jersey

In Jersey and Guernsey, the elected heads of the Parishes are titled "constables" (connétables in French). The constables are entitled each to carry a silver-tipped baton of office.

In Jersey, each parish elects a constable for a three year mandate to run the parish and also represent the parish in the legislature, the States of Jersey. The constable presides over the Roads Committee, the Conseil Paroissial (except St. Helier) and Parish Assemblies. The twelve constables also collectively sit as the Comité des Connétables. The constable is the titular head of the Honorary Police. With the Roads Inspectors, Roads Committee and other officers, the constable of each parish also carries out the visites du branchage twice a year.

In Guernsey, each parish elects two constables, the senior constable and the junior constable. Persons elected generally serve a year as junior and then senior constable. The senior constable presides over the Douzaine that runs the parish. The constables are responsible for enforcing the brancage (summer hedge-cutting) and also have the power to declare any parishioner insane.

United States

In the United States, there is no consistent use of the office of constable across the states, and use may vary even within a state. A constable may merely be an official responsible for service of process: such as summonses and subpoenas for people to appear in court in criminal and/or civil matters. Or, they may be fully empowered law enforcement officers. They may also have additional specialized duties unique to the office. In some states, a constable may be appointed by the judge of the court which he or she serves; in others the constable is an elected or appointed position at the village, precinct or township level of local government.

The office developed from its British counterpart during the colonial period. Prior to the modernization of law enforcement which took place in the middle 19th century, local law enforcement was performed by constables and watchmen.[18] Constables were appointed or elected at the local level for specific terms and, like their UK counterparts the Parish Constable, were not paid and did not wear a uniform. However, they were often paid a fee by the courts for each writ served and warrant executed. Following the example of the Metropolitan Police established in 1829, the states gradually enacted laws to permit municipalities to establish police departments. This differed from the UK in that the old system was not uniformly abolished in every state. Often the enacting legislation of the state conferred a police officer with the powers of a constable, the most important of these powers being the common law power of arrest. Police and constables exist concurrently in many jurisdictions. Perhaps because of this, the title "constable" is not used for police of any rank. The lowest rank in a police organization would be officer, deputy, patrolman, trooper, and historically, private, depending on the particular organization.

In many states, constables do not conduct patrols or preventive policing activities. In such states the office is relatively obscure to its citizens.

A constable may be assisted by deputy constables as sworn officers or constable's officers as civil staff, usually as process servers. In some states, villages or towns, an office with similar duties is marshal.

Constables unite under the National Constables Association at


In Alabama, a constable is traditionally elected in each precinct, a subdivision of a county. Constables are peace officers and have full powers of arrest, stop and search within their county.[19][20][21] They are generally responsible for serving warrants and acting as process servers, as well as patrolling the streets and providing security for civic events. They are not funded from general tax revenues; instead, constables' fees are paid by the criminals they arrest.[22]

In Mobile County, all constables are required to complete law enforcement training, except for those currently in office who are grandfathered in.[23][24] In some other counties, the office of constable has been largely abandoned.


In Arizona, a constable is an elected officer of the county for the Justice of the Peace Court and must live in the precinct to which they are elected. The constable serves a four year term and has similar powers and duties to sheriffs.

In Arizona law, the authority of constables is defined by Arizona Revised Statutes Title 22, Section 131. Constables have the same powers as sheriffs, but their primary responsibility is the service of process for the Justice of the Peace courts, serving summons subpoenas, and perform orders, injunctions, and writs.[25] Constables must undergo training, and their expenses are paid by the county board of supervisors.[26] Constables receive a salary from their respective counties based on the number of registered voters who reside in their precinct. Constables are peace officers but in Arizona do not regularly perform police functions such as patrol and criminal investigations. Although Constables do not regularly perform police functions, some Constables and Deputy Constables are certified officers by this state and take enforcement action when necassary.


In Arkansas, a constable is an elected office at the township level, although Constables are considered county officers.[27] The office of Constable, which is a partisan office, is guaranteed by the 1874 Constitution of Arkansas, which provides for the election of a constable in each township for a two-year term.[28] Constables are peace officers with full police powers.


Historically, constables in California were attached to the justice courts, the lowest tier of the state court system (whereas sheriffs were attached to the county superior courts, and marshals to the municipal courts). When the state courts were unified in 2000, with the superior court fulfilling all judicial functions, the need for the position of constable was eliminated.[29] The few constables that remained on duty when the state courts were reorganized in 2000, even in remote regions of the state, were eventually absorbed into sheriff or police agencies. Constables as such had full police powers and carried out occasional to frequent patrol work in addition to their paper serving duties, and were attached to the former justice courts, and were either elected by popular vote or appointed by the presiding judge of the county's supreme court.


There are two types of constables in Connecticut.

Special Constables are appointed by Towns. In general, they are appointed to serve as police officers and expected to have or complete the requirements of the Police Officer Standards & Training Council in order to do so. Special Constables normally work under the supervision of a Resident State Trooper contracted by the town (a requirement of the Connecticut State Police if the Town wishes their Constables to be dispatched by the State Police or have access to the radio and computer system of the State Police). The system of Resident State Trooper and Constables is used by many medium sized towns as a cost effective way of providing increased police patrols while the State Police retain primary responsibility to provide additional levels of supervision, dispatch, Detective, and other specialized services.

Constables who are elected officials are generally limited to serving civil process within the town they are elected by. The election are held every two years, except communities which by local ordinance or charter have set the term of office at four years. While a small number of towns will also allow the Constables to perform traffic control and event security functions, most strictly prohibit their Constables from acting in any official capacity on behalf of the Town. The authority to act as a law enforcement officer by nature of their office was removed in 1984, at which time they became subject to the Police Officer Standards & Training Council requirements. In 1984 these requirements were for 480 hours of training, which could be completed in 120 hour long "blocks" which were offered as part-time evening classes. With completion of each block came expansion of the types of law enforcement the officer could perform. While it was never common after 1984 to have elected Constables with law enforcement powers, there were a few who did complete certification. As of 2007, POST requirements of 680 hours of training provided on a full-time basis for new officers, followed by 400 hours of training provided by a certified Field Training Officer make completing the requirements to be a law enforcement officer impractical for elected Constables.

Historically, Constables had been the key office for providing law enforcement in rural Connecticut. Connecticut never developed a strong institution of County Sheriffs providing general police services. From colonial times through the 1940s, Town Constables would work with two other Town officials -- the Investigating Grand Juror and Prosecuting Grand Juror -- in the initial handling of criminal investigations, arrests, and the "binding over" of serious crimes from the Town's Justice Court to a higher court. A series of reforms in regulations, statutes, and the state Constitution in the 1950s and 1960s removed the involvement of towns in these matters. In towns without a local Police Chief, investigations became the exclusive responsibility of the State Police, while State Prosecutors took over the prosecution of cases, and the court system was flattened by the elimination of courts with criminal venue below the level of the Superior Court.


The constable is an official with duties similar to the sheriff but is more limited in power and jurisdiction. Transplanted from England to Delaware in the early colonial period, the constable’s main responsibilities were keeping the peace, serving the courts, and executing court orders and process. Legislation relating to constables did not appear in the Delaware until 1770. This act required constables at the end of their terms to return the names of three freeholders to the Court of General Sessions, who then appointed one to serve the next year.[30]

Constables serve the Justice of the Peace courts. Under Title 10, Chapter 28 of the Delaware Code, they are appointed by the Chief Magistrate of the Justice of the Peace court system. Their duties include execution of court orders, writs and warrants, serving summonses and subpoenas, collecting debts and fines, and providing courtroom security for the Justices of the Peace.[31]

Constables are also employed by private corporations, civic associations or governmental entities. Under Title 10, Chapter 27 of the Delaware Code, they are appointed by a Board of Examiners for one-year terms, but may apply for their commission to be renewed. Constables must be at least 21 years of age, meet minimum standards established by the Delaware Council on Police Training for part-time police officers, and participate in other training as required by the Board. They have the same powers as police officers to protect life and property while in the performance of their duties.[32]


The office of constable was first established in Idaho in 1887; constables originally attended the Justice of the Peace courts and were officers of a precinct.[33] Although the Idaho Statutes still provide for the appointment of election constables to keep order during elections (Title 34, Chapter 11)[34] and define constables as peace officers,[35], the position was effectively eliminated in 1970, when the Idaho Legislature's Election Reform Act removed all provisions for the appointment of constables. As such, there are no longer any constables serving in Idaho.[33]


In Kentucky, constables are elected from each magistrate district in the state. There are between three and eight magistrate districts in each county. Under Section 106 of the Kentucky Constitution, constables have the same countywide jurisdiction as the county sheriff.[36]

Prior to the 1970s, the main function of the constables was to provide court service and security to the Justice of the Peace courts. However, since these have been eliminated by judicial reform, the office of constable now has few real functions. Constables still have the power to execute warrants, subpoenas, summonses and other court documents, and are required to execute any court process given to them. On the approval of the Fiscal Court (the legislature of the county) they may equip their vehicles with oscillating blue lights and sirens.[36]

Most constables in Kentucky are not paid a salary, but are paid fees for services rendered. However, state law provides for payment of an annual salary of $9,600 to constables in counties with a population of over 250,000; as of November 2002, this only applies in Jefferson County. The payment has become a point of controversy, since constables in Kentucky have few actual duties.[36]

Anyone standing for election as a Constable must be at least 24 years of age, a resident of Kentucky for at least 2 years, and a resident of the county and district for at least a year prior to election.[36] Since Constables are Constitutional peace officers they are exempt from attending the mandatory Department of Criminal Justice Training academy, although they may choose to do so. Sheriffs, Coroners, and Jailers are also exempted law enforcement officers. The Kentucky Constables Association is affiliated with the National Constables Association.


Under Massachusetts General Law (G.L.) Chapter.41, constables:

-are appointed by the town selectmen or elected every three years.

-can serve process, criminal warrants and have the same powers as sheriffs in execution of their duties.

-can serve any writ or other process in a personal action in which the damages are not laid at a greater sum than eight hundred dollars, and in a replevin in which the subject matter does not exceed in value eight hundred dollars, and any writ or other process under chapter two hundred and thirty-nine.

-with a warrant or writ may convey prisoners and property in his custody beyond the limits of his town, either to the justice who issued it or to the jail or house of correction of his county. If a warrant is issued against a person for an alleged crime committed within any town, any constable thereof to whom the warrant is directed may apprehend him in any place in the commonwealth.

The jurisdiction of the constable is usually within the town the constable is appointed/elected. (Beard Vs. Seavey, 191 Mass. 503) except when “on a capias (bench warrant), in a criminal case, outside the town for which he was (appointed) but within the same county, and within the jurisdiction of the court issuing the warrant. Sullivan Vs. Wentworth 137 Mass. 233

Constables may arrest:

-without warrant any person trespassing or gambling in a public conveyance or private place. G.L. chap. 271, sec. 2

-without a warrant any person who he finds committing a trespass, on a dwelling house, building, boat or improved or enclosed land, wharf or pier of another G.L. chap.266, sec. 120

-for illegally manufacturing, selling or exposing or keeping for sale, storing, transporting, importing or exporting alcoholic beverages or alcohol G.L. chapter.138, sec. 55

-without warrant any persons unlawfully riding upon a locomotive engine, tender, freight car, caboose or other conveyance not part of a passenger train G.L. chap.160,sec.220

A constable may enter any “…billiard, pool. sippio room, bowling alley, skating rink, the licensed premises of a common victualer or room connected therewith, or a grove required to be licensed under section one hundred and eighty-eight, or any building therein, for the purpose of enforcing any law…” G.L. chap.140 sec. 201

A constable has the common law and statutory power to arrest in cases involving breach of the peace.

A constable may enforce election laws. G.L.chap. 56, sec. 57

There is no state mandated training (including firearms) for constables.

Constables may be armed while on duty with a license to carry firearms issued by the town or city police department.

Constable may have blue/red light on their vehicle if they have a permit- G.L. chap. 90 sec. 7E

In some cities constables must be licensed

Massachusetts constable information


Constables have all of the powers and duties of police officers once they have completed training required by the state.


Upon gaining statehood, constables continued to be appointed at the county level as had been done when Michigan was a territory. The Constitution of 1850, however, required that each township elect at least one but not more than four constables. With few exceptions cities also elected constables by ward. In addition to serving the justice courts of their county, "constables have always been peace officers ... in the territory of their constituents." However their role was vastly altered upon adoption of the Constitution of 1963 when their office was deleted as was the office of justice of the peace. They were not named as officers of the new District Court. And by the end of the 1970s their election was no longer statutorily mandated. Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) certification became required if they were to perform general peace officer duties. As of 2005 there are no elected city constables and less than 10% of Michigan's 1242 townships continue to elect constables.


In Mississippi, constables are law enforcement officers elected from single-member districts in each county. Mississippi law provides for one constable per Justice Court district in the county, from a minimum of two such districts in counties with less than 35,001 people, to a maximum of five districts in counties with more than 150,000 people. See for a good example of what a Mississippi Constable is.

By law, constables keep and preserve the peace within the county; advise justice court judges or other officers of all riots, routs, unlawful assemblies, and violations of the penal laws; execute and return all processes directed to them by any county, chancery or circuit court (not just the Justice Courts); and attend the justices' courts of their districts.

All counties are required to provide their constables with at least two complete uniforms, some type of motor vehicle identification which clearly indicates that the motor vehicle is being used by a constable in his official capacity, and a blue flashing light for use on official duty. Other than standard fees for attending court, serving processes, etc., state law does not otherwise require counties to pay or otherwise compensate constables for their jobs.

According to Mississippi code Title 19 Chapter 25 Section 11, a Constable is the only county official with the authority to arrest the Sheriff of said county by bench warrant of the Circuit or Chancery court absent authority of the State Attorney General. However, the same code section permits marshals or police officers of municipalities within the county to effect an arrest of the Sheriff under warrant, too.

Mississippi code Title 19 Chapter 19 defines the roles, powers, and duties of constables.[37]

The Mississippi Constables Association maintains a website at


The constable is an elected peace officer. They are primarily process servers; the Nevada statutes define their responsibilities and fees.

New Hampshire

Constables are elected peace officers. They have broad law enforcement powers, including motor-vehicle laws.

New Jersey

A constable is considered a "peace officer" with very limited police authority. Their duties are mainly confined to the enforcement, and processing of civil law.

New York

Constables serve at the pleasure of the local towns and villages, usually in a civil aspect for the courts. However, constables are considered law enforcement officers under New York State law. Their powers can be limited by each jurisdiction.

Constables are considered peace officers (NY Criminal Procedure Section 2.10) and have arrest powers within their jurisdiction while on duty (section 2.20) and must complete peace officer training as approved by the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services. see

There are restrictions on whether appointed constables can have peace officer powers based on the whether the municipality is a town or village and the number of residents. If a constable is not appointed as a constable with peace officer powers, they can only serve civil process.


The appointment of constables is authorized by the Ohio Revised Code, which defines several roles for them. Constables serve as police officers of some small towns and townships, or as officers of some minor courts. A "special constable" may also be appointed by a municipal court judge for a renewable one-year term upon application by any three "freeholders" (landowners) of the county, who are then responsible for paying the special constable.

Duly-sworn Ohio constables are considered "peace officers" under Ohio law, as are sheriffs, municipal police officers, state park rangers, Highway Patrol officers, etc., and have full law-enforcement authority within their jurisdictions (The Ohio Administrative Code defines a township constables jurisdiction as statewide). With some exceptions, constables must post bonds and undergo police training. They are required to serve court papers when so ordered, and to apprehend and bring to justice any lawbreakers or fugitives, suppress riots or unlawful assemblies, enforce state law and generally keep the peace.

It has been suggested that the office is redundant and should be eliminated; a proposal was mounted to give counties the option to eliminate the office of constable where it is no longer required.[38]


Constables in Pennsylvania are elected and serve a six-year term, they are Peace Officers by virtue of the office they hold, upon completing state certification and training, they may also serve as the Law Enforcement Arm of the Court. Constables primarily serve the District Courts but may also assist in serving the Common Pleas Court, when requested by the Sheriff.

As Public Officials Constables are required to file an annual Statement of Financial Interests with the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission .

Each Constable may with approval of the President Judge, appoint Deputies to work under his authority. Each Deputy is given the same authority as the Constable himself, but serves at the pleasure of the elected Constable.

Constables are considered to be the "People's Peace Officers" because of their Constitutional origin, and as elected officials they are independent of other governing bodies, this gives the Constable the freedom and authority to perform his duties according to statute, in the interest of justice.

Under Pennsylvania Law, Constables are Public Officers, elected or appointed to their position in accordance with the laws of elections.

A Constable is a sworn Law Enforcement / Peace Officer that can arrest for felony crimes and breaches of the peace committed in his presence, or by warrant anywhere in the commonwealth.

A Constable is also an officer empowered to carry out the business of the statewide district court system, by serving warrants of arrest, mental health warrants, transporting prisoners, service of summons, complaints and subpoenas, and enforcing protection from abuse orders as well as orders of eviction and judgement levies.

Constables are also charged with maintaining order at the election polls and ensuring that no qualified elector is obstructed from voting, Constables are the only Law Enforcement Officials permitted at the polls on election day.

While Constables primarily serve the Courts, they belong to the executive branch of government.

Constables are elected at the municipal level, however State law governs Constables and they have statewide authority, thus the title became "State Constable".

Constables are empowered to enforce both criminal and civil laws, Police Officers are empowered to enforce criminal and traffic laws, Sheriff's are the chief law enforcement officer of the County and are empowered to enforce criminal, civil and traffic laws.

Link to source:

Link to laws governing Constables in PA:

South Carolina

Constables are appointed by the Governor of South Carolina and are generally used to assist the police in any particular jurisdiction. They only have arrest authorities while they are escorted by police in that jurisdiction. They can act with full police powers in instances of emergencies when police are not immediately available and when a threat of life is present. Any handguns they carry must be concealed unless they are in a state approved uniform.

South Carolina State Constable Alliance


Constable is an elected position with full power of arrest and is a state peace officer. The Tennessee State Constitution was amended in 1978 so as not to require counties to have this office; prior to this point, it was mandatory to elect constables in each county. Subsequent statutory law has allowed its continuance in certain counties, with the stipulation that there be no more than half as many constables in a county as there are county commissioners in that county, except in counties where the general law provides for an exception by county population brackets. Constables are elected to four year terms in August of the years coincident with presidential elections; unexpired terms are filled by special election, but such special election must be held coincidentally with another, scheduled election. In some counties, constable is a partisan office; in others all candidates run as independents.


See article: Texas Constable

The Texas Constitution 0f 1956(Article 5, Section 18) provides for the election of a constable in each precinct of a county, and counties may have between one and eight precincts each depending on their population. Currently, the term of office for Texas constables is four years. However, when vacancies arrise, the commissioners court of the respective county has the authority to appoint a replacement to serve out the remaining term.

In Texas, constables and their deputies are fully empowered peace officers with county-wide jurisdiction and thus, may legally exercise their authority in any precinct within their county [39]; however, some constables’ offices limit themselves to providing law enforcement services only to their respective precinct, except in the case of serving civil and criminal process. Constables and their deputies may serve civil process in any precinct in their county and any contiguous county and can serve warrants anywhere in the state.

The duties of a Texas constable generally include providing bailiffs for the justice of the peace court(s) within his precinct and serving process issued therefrom and from any other court. Moreover, some constables’ offices limit themselves to only these activities but others provide patrol, investigative, and security services as well.

In 2000, there were 2,630 full-time deputies and 418 reserve deputies working for the 760 constables’ offices in Texas. Of this number, 35% were primarily assigned to patrol, 33% to serving process, 12% to court security, and 7% to criminal investigations. The Harris County Precinct 4 and 5 Constables’ Offices are the largest constables’ offices in Texas with over 300 deputies each.[40]


Utah Constables are appointed by the political governing body which they serve - County, City, etc. They are fully empowered PEACE OFFICERS but are not tasked with "General Law Enforcement Duties." They serve process, provide court security (Bailiff duties), transport prisoners, seize property, enforce writs of all types and effect service of arrest warrants and may make probable cause arrests.


Constables are generally elected by the town. They are charged with service of process; the destruction of unlicensed or dangerous dogs or wolf-hybrids, and of injured deer; removal of disorderly people from town meeting; collection of taxes, when no tax collector is elected; and other duties. Constables have full law enforcement authority unless the town votes to either remove the authority or require training before such authority is exercised. Cities and villages may also have constables. Their duties and method of selection are governed by the corporation's charter.

West Virginia

David F. Green of Davy, West Virginia was the last person to hold the elected office of Constable in West Virginia.


  1. ^ a b p103, Bruce, Alistair, Keepers of the Kingdom (Cassell, 2002), ISBN 0-304-36201-8
  2. ^ a b Constable, Encyclopedia Britannica online
  3. ^ a b c p172, Slater, Stephen, The Complete Book of Heraldry (Lorenz, 2002), ISBN 0-7548-1062-3
  4. ^ Vronsky, Peter. "A Brief History of Constables in the English Speaking World". Retrieved 2007-09-14.
  5. ^ p72, Bruce, Alistair, Keepers of the Kingdom (Cassell, 2002), ISBN 0-304-36201-8
  6. ^ "Bracton Online". Harvard Law School Library. Retrieved 2007-09-06.
  7. ^ Henry of Bratton (1968). Bracton On the Laws and Customs of England. Cambridge, MS: Belknap Press. ISBN 0-19-626613-0. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |trans= ignored (help)
  8. ^ Guth, DeLloyd J. (1994), "The Traditional Common Law Constable, 1235-1829: From Bracton to the Fieldings to Canada", in Macleod, R.C.; Schneiderman, David (eds.), Police Powers in Canada: The Evolution and Practice of Authority, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p. 6, ISBN 0-8020-2863-2
  9. ^ a b p276-7, Markham, Sir Frank, History of Milton Keynes and District, vol.1 (1973), ISBN 0 900804 29 7
  10. ^ p591, Inwood, Stephen, A History of London (Macmillan, 1998), ISBN 0-333-67154-6
  11. ^ Wiltshire Constabulary History, Wiltshire Police website
  12. ^ The Making of a Chief Constable, Essex Police website
  13. ^ Rank insignia of a Constable, Finnish Police website (in English)
  14. ^ Rank insignia of a Senior Constable, Finnish Police Website (in English)
  15. ^ RCMP Organisational Structure (in French)
  16. ^ RCMP Organisational Structure
  17. ^ Chief Constable's Office, Vancouver Police Department
  18. ^ A Brief Guide to Police History, North Carolina Wesleyan College
  19. ^ Section 36-23-5, Alabama State Code
  20. ^ Section 15-5-30, Alabama State Code
  21. ^ Section 15-10-1, Alabama State Code
  22. ^ About the Constables, Mobile County Constables Association
  23. ^ HB409, May 2005 Act of the Alabama State Legislature
  24. ^ [ Mobile County Constables Association
  25. ^ 22-131, Arizona Revised Statutes
  26. ^ 22-132, Arizona Revised Statutes
  27. ^ Opinion of the Attorney-General of Arkansas
  28. ^ [ Constitution of Arkansas, Article 7, Section 47
  29. ^ Study J-100, California Law Revision Commission
  30. ^ Constable, Delaware Constable
  31. ^ Title 10, Chapter 28, Delaware Code
  32. ^ Title 10, Chapter 27, Delaware Code
  33. ^ a b [Attorney General Opinion No. 87-3], State of Idaho Office of the Attorney General
  34. ^ Idaho Statutes, Title 34, Chapter 11
  35. ^ Idaho Statutes, Title 19, Chapter 5
  36. ^ a b c d Duties of Elected County Officials, Kentucky Legislative Research Commission, November 2002
  37. ^ Mississippi Code
  38. ^ Candidates run but are constables needed?, Cincinnati Community Press & Recorder, 4 May 2006
  39. ^ Template:PDFlinkTemplate:PDFlink
  40. ^ Template:PDFlink.

See also

External links