What is a Constable?

The duties of a constable vary from one region to the next. In some counties, the constable is an elected official while in others, he or she is a part of the court system. Constables and sheriffs often have similar duties and responsibilities, but in some states there is only a sheriff and no constables.

Traffic Officer

Constables can make traffic stops within the city that they have jurisdiction, according to the Victoria Advocate. In some cases, that might be a city or county with rural areas that aren’t patrolled by the state highway patrol. The duties that are carried out by the constable will depend on what is needed in the area where the constable has authority.

Evictions and Court Duties

When tenants and landlords get into a dispute about continuing tenancy, they’ll head to the local courthouse. If the landlord receives an order that allows them to remove the tenant, the constable serves the tenant with the order. On the day of the eviction, the constable might be a required presence to ensure the tenant leaves and doesn’t cause a disturbance. If there’s a question of violence or trouble, the constable must be called to serve the order.

School Patrols and Truancy

The constable can be the official presence at alternative schools that have a problem with constant fights. They’re required to keep the peace at these schools as well as detention centers for juvenile offenders. The constable could be called upon to supervise random drug tests for delinquent offenders. He or she could also be the truant officer for the school district.

Family Court Bailiffs

In family court, there’s often a need for bailiffs who can keep the peace between volatile family disagreements. When a family matter makes it into family court, it’s likely to be a situation that is disturbing, angry and full of animosity. Parental rights and custody battles are fought in family court, which requires constables to keep the proceedings from getting out of control. The constable could provide security for the judge in the courtroom too.

Process Servers

Constables can be called upon to deliver subpoenas that are issued by the court. The subpoena can be a result of a variety of court cases that are seen in the local courthouse. The constable mostly works with civil cases like evictions or delivering paperwork to those who are being served with restraining orders.

Storing and Selling Property

When it comes to evictions, the tenant might not be around for the process. If the tenant has abandoned the property or tries to avoid eviction by leaving the apartment on the day they’re supposed to move, the constable can remove all his or her belongings and place them into storage. After a certain number of days, the constable can sell the items during a constable sale.

Related Resource: What is a Homicide Detective?

In some areas of the U.S., there are constables or there are sheriffs who perform the duties listed above. The constable have deputies, and they’re almost always elected to the department. They are given the same training as police officers to protect and serve the public.