Constables

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police lightsTexas Constables must be licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education by attending a basic police academy. Any certified Texas peace officer may run for election as a constable; however, they must reside in the precinct for which they run.

Along with their duties, constables have all the enforcement powers of Texas peace officers. They are sometimes referred to as the executive officer of the justice of the peace courts. Their duties are to:

  • Subpoena witnesses,
  • Act as bailiff,
  • Execute judgements, and
  • Service of process

In large metropolitan counties the constable may also assist the county and district courts. In addition, they may perform patrol functions and make criminal investigations. They are involved in the overall effort to reduce the effects of crime in their communities, including in some cases the operation of truancy programs.


Duties

General Duties

Peace Officers 1.01: Constables and Deputy Constables are classified as peace Officers and are licensed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. 1.01.01

Duties and Powers

Peace officers duties primarily affect the public, that is, the prevention of crime and arrest of offenders. By command of statute, it is the duty of every peace officer to:

  • preserve the peace within the officers jurisdiction by all lawful means,
  • interfere without warrant to prevent or suppress crime where authorized by the Code of Criminal Procedure,
  • execute all lawful criminal process issued to the officer by magistrate or court,
  • give notice to some magistrate of all offenses committed within the officers' jurisdiction, where the officer has good reason to believe there has been a violation of the penal law,
  • arrest offenders without warning in every case where the officer is authorized by law, in order that they may be taken before magistrate or court and be tried.

Other statutory powers provide that:

  • whenever a peace officer meets with resistance in discharging any duty imposed under law officer shall summon sufficient citizens to overcome the resistance,
  • the peace officer who has summoned any person to assist the officer in performing the officer's lawful duty shall report if that person should refuse to obey,
  • when requested, the peace officer will inform the victim of a crime about the procedures in criminal investigations.

Constables

Article Five, Section Eighteen of the Texas Constitution provides for the election of constables.

Constables serve for a term of four years. The constitutional provision states the requirements for establishing the appropriate number of precincts in each county from which constables are elected. Another subsection controls the effect of the boundary changes on constable precincts and the term of office that shall be served after such changes have taken place. From the constitutional base establishing the office of constable, we turn to examination of the statutory authority that defines the duties and powers of a constable

The Local Government Code defines the following as the general powers and duties of constable: (a) A constable shall execute and return as provided by law each process, warrant, and precept that is directed t the constable and is delivered by lawful officer. (b) A constable may execute any civil or criminal process throughout the county in which the constable's precinct is located and contiguous counties and in other locations as provided by the Code of Criminal Procedure or by any other law. (c) A constable expressly authorized by statute to perform an act or service, including the service of civil or criminal process, citation, notice, warrant, subpoena, or writ, may perform the act or service anywhere in the county in which the constable's precinct is located. (d) Regardless of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, all civil process may be served by a constable in the constable's county contiguous to the constable's county, except that a constable who is a party to or interested in the outcome of a suit may not serve any process related to the suit. (e) The constable shall attend each justice court held in the precinct. The Local Government Code also contains a provision that allows constables to summon residents to assist in the execution of lawful or arrest of an offender. The Local Government Code also sets forth strict guidelines for maintaining the 'bond of constable.

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