GENERAL Election is Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Constables are NOT salaried and we don't receive benefits; we are elected or appointed independent contractors who are compensated for tasks based upon a statewide schedule. Our criminal work is funded by court fees paid by the accused, and our civil work is funded by fees paid by plaintiffs.
The state has an account that is funded by court fees - not taxpayers. The fund pays for our ongoing certification training.
Initial certification is paid for by the Constable. Constables pay for all uniforms, badges, weapons, handcuffs, shackles, vehicles, vests, liability insurance, etc., out of their pockets.
Yes, under PA State Law. In fact, we existed in PA before there were police departments. Today, we are "peace officers," NOT police officers. The difference is that we do not do motor vehicle enforcement or criminal investigations, and we cannot arrest a person unless we have a warrant or we witness a crime occurring. We also perform certain civil work that police officers don't do.
We serve criminal and traffic warrants that judges issue, sometimes arresting people who fail to respond to their warrants. We also transport prisoners from police and sheriff lockups to the county prison, and we occasionally transport adult or juvenile offenders from one detention facility to another. Importantly, constables who transport prisoners must be certified annually in the use of firearms, which I am.
It takes a full year for a new constable to pass their certifications to be able to perform the role; then it takes 3-6 months of working with experienced constables before becoming proficient in their duties.
We serve eviction notices and effect evictions, and serve and effect liens. We are the ONLY law enforcement officials statutorily allowed at PA polling places; police officers can only come to polls to vote (covering their uniform) and when we call them for assistance. We appoint temporary deputies to serve as constables on Election Days; they report to their constable, not to judges of election.
PA State Constables, like county sheriffs in Pennsylvania , are elected by the people and we don't report to a supervisor. That said, we get work from the courts by maintaining a sterling reputation; judges are not required to use the constables in their immediate jurisdiction.
We can be appointed by the county president judge to fill a vacated seat. Otherwise, constables are elected out of their municipality, even though we can perform duties anywhere in the state. I was first appointed in 2014 to fill out the term of my ex-wife, Constable Claudia Lachance, and I was elected in 2015.