What is a Constable

  • A Constable is a commissioned Peace Officer, elected by county constituents every four years for a particular area or precinct of that county. A Constable may enforce any criminal and civil laws, motor vehicle violation and conduct criminal investigations. In addition the Constable's have jurisdiction of all documents generated by Justice Courts they are attached to and must execute process of those documents. Constable's are also required by law to be present during hearing by the Justice of the Peace or have one of their Deputy Constable's present as Bailiff.


  • Early records indicate that the first constables were established in the year 871 AD by King Alfred of England. The Constable was the judge in military offenses and in questions of chivalry. He was also named by the King to be the supreme arbitrator for tournaments and martial displays. On June 15, 1215 the Magna Carta established Justice Courts with constables, sheriffs, and bailiffs. The first Constable in America was appointed in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. During that time, the leading official was the Justice of the Peace. Assisted by the Constable, they were in charge of the Colony Court, which was both judiciary and legislative. The Constable enforced the orders of colonial and county officials in both civil and criminal matters.


  • In the early history of Texas, Constables were the Law Enforcement for the State. Constables were commissioned by Stephen F. Austin with the consent of the Mexican government to enforce the law. When Texas was a republic the powers of the Constables were drafted into the constitution, when Texas joined the union the Constable's authority remained the same and have not changed much over the years. The authority of the Constable is written in the Texas constitution and is ratified by the Texas Criminal Code of Procedures. The jurisdiction is defined as: Constable are a county entity which have state wide jurisdiction to conduct criminal investigation thought the state. State wide jurisdiction to issue traffic citations, and are associate members of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Constables have concurrent jurisdiction in any county in Texas which is attached to their county, county wide jurisdiction in their home county, and they have ultimate jurisdiction in their precincts. The Constable is also the designated Law Enforcement entity to arrest a Sheriff in a county should it be required. As of the end of 2006, Texas require a person running for the office of Constables to be a certified as Texas Peace Officer or they must have at least 62 hour of college credit or a two year degree. , The law requires the newly elected Constable who are not certified Texas Peace Officer 270 days to become licensed. They must attending an approved academy, or challenging the licensing exam given by Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education. After the 270 days, if the Constable has not become licensed, the Constable forfeits the office, and can be removed from office by Commissioners Court. The Constables regular term of office is four years, during which time the Constable must attend and pass numerous required law enforcement courses such as Family Violence, Cultural Diversity, Civil Process, and firearms training to maintain his license.