Constables Enforce Law in 12 States; KY Study Calls Them Antiquated, Irrelevant


Kentucky is one of 12 states with constables who perform law-enforcement functions. They can be armed but there are no training requirements. A new reprot from the state Justice and Public Safety Cabinet calls them an antiquated and irrelevant arm of law enforcement who are poorly trained and unregulated, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. “This is about an institution dating back to at least 1792 [ ] we've all evolved; this has not,” said Secretary J. Michael Brown.

The state General Assembly could approve a constitutional amendment abolishing the elected office. Easier paths include passing statutes that reduce or eliminate constables' law enforcement authority. There were 509 constables serving in 2011, though there are 586 constable districts in the commonwealth. The office came under public scrutiny when Jefferson County Constable David Whitlock was convicted of shooting a suspected shoplifter in a Walmart parking lot in 2011. Whitlock agreed to resign from his constable's position.

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