Core duties of the constable: first is that we are one of two constitutionally required law enforcement officers under the Texas Constitution and being peaceofficers is the first role. Then we have additional duties of attending to the JP Court, serving civil papers, warrants and protecting the community as the COMMUNITY directs us. This includes school zone and child safety zones, narcotics and other areas that come to our attention. Constables are independently elected and held accountable each four years by the public so we are very attentive to the public needs and wishes. We do not work directly for any other county entity, as designed by the 1865 Texas Constitution; the Constable is an elected official. The public can contact us for their needs, regardless of if they live in an incorporated area or unincorporated area.
Becoming noted peace keepers under King William the Conqueror in 1066, Constable's responsibilities were expanded with the adoption of the Magna Carta, which not only became the pattern for most of the world's Constitutions, but also described Constables in written law. Constables have served the Justice Court system since 1362.
In America, the first Constable was appointed in the Plymouth Colony in 1632. During that time, the leading official was the Justice of the Peace. The Constable enforced the orders of Colonial and County officials in both civil and criminal matters.
In Texas on March 5, 1823 Constable Thomas Alley, was appointed in Stephen F. Austin's original colony and sworn in by Judge John Tumlinson.The Constables and Rangers combined became an active group of roughly two hundred men. In 1836 that same group protected Sam Houston's armies fromIndians to insure victory against Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto. The Constable was later written into Constitutional law and was the only law enforcement defined by the original Texas Constitution. At that time, Sam Houston formerly separated the two groups. The Constable would be elected by the people in each area, known as Precincts. The Texas Rangers becamean Officer of the new Republic. Both groups would be commissioned and report directly to the Governor. Today that still holds true.
Today, Constables are elected and serve a four-year term which runs on the same cycle as the President of the United States. The law defines that theConstable is an associate member of the Texas Department of Public Safety and given that same authority. They are the Officers of the Justice of the Peace Court. Each Constable will appoint Deputies to work under his authority. A Deputy is given the same authority as the Constable himself. A Constable is considered to be the "Peoples Police", because of their Constitutional origin.
Constables are given Constitutional authority to enforce both Civil and Criminal laws. State and City Police Officers are given the authority to only enforce Criminal laws. There are approximately 770 elected Constables in the State of Texas. To this day Texas Constable's and Texas DPS (Troopers and Rangers) all work very close together and both use the Justice of the Peace as their primary judge/court. Constable's have county wide jurisdiction and similar to Sheriff; Constables, report only to the Governor and citizens that elect them to serve. Pct 3 prides itself as being fully community driven and fully embracing their roles as public servants. We never forget that each citizen is our direct boss and that citizens directions and instructions are our first priority.
Under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 2.12 "Who are Peace Officers", Constables, are the second mentioned as to who Peace Officers are. Police are a constituted body of persons empowered by the state to enforce the law, protect property, and limit civil disorder. The term is most commonly associated with police services of a state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Alternative names for police include; Constabulary or Constable, gendarmerie, police department, police services, crime prevention, protective services, and law enforcement agency.
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