Best less-government idea in a while

Sen. Sue Madison (D-Fayetteville) has proposed eliminating the office of constable. It would require a constitutional amendment.

Amen. Constables, a throwback to bygone days, have the power of law enforcement officers but not necessarily the training, and they are not paid. They are not often utilized by the real law enforcement agencies with actual trained officers.

I’m sure there are a number of them who do their “job” responsibly, but there also are potentially a bunch of Barney Fifes running around. Get rid of the office and shorten the ballots, please.

3 thoughts on “Best less-government idea in a while

  1. I have a friend who served honorably as a Constable and is now a member of the Arkansas State Police in addition to being a Marine. I was like many who did not understand the necessity of the position until my friend served as one. In counties like mine (mostly rural) who do not have the funding to provide a large sheriff’s department look to these people to provide necessary manpower in order to keep up with the demands of law enforcement. In my county from any given point it may take up to 30-45 minutes to get from one side to another and if it is late at night when there are only a couple of deputies on duty, it is a relief that there are citizens who are trained law officers (as instructed by a law passed a few years back) to be able to assist in the situation until such time as other officers can arrive. I do agree that there are bad Constables, but I do not think we should do away with the whole office just because of a few bad eggs. Instead we need to formulate a way to oversee the constables and remove (by way of impeachment or something similar) the ones from office that are not preforming their duties or are abusing their power.

  2. According to State law, a Constable must have a minimum of 160 hours of Law Enforcement training, including 16 hours of training with a firearm, from the state in order to actually do their job. They must wear a uniform and drive in marked cars that have emergency equipment. That said, we want to get rid of them why? In many counties across the state the Sheriffs Office may only have 2 or 3 Deputies to cover an entire county on shift at any given time, and at night there may only be 1 Deputy on duty. Response times can be 10-20 minutes or more, and that’s if the Deputy isn’t on another call. A Constable can provide that stop immediate assistance if need be. He or she can be there fast if called upon until the Deputy can get there. In my area there is a farmer having a problem with people shooting his cows. Well, a Deputy going to sit out there often enough to catch the perp? No, but a Constable can. And if a Constable isn’t getting paid, is required to attend LE training, then what is the problem?

  3. Good points, Keith and John. I was not aware they had to be trained – they weren’t last time I was a small-town newspaper reporter. Back then, I think they were seen as a bit of a nuisance by full-time law enforcement. So I appreciate your informing me

    I’m willing to rethink my position. That said, if the sheriff’s office is shorthanded, why not recruit volunteer deputies instead of using constables who are sort of outside the county’s law enforcement apparatus? It seems like a more unified command would be better.

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