What are Constables?

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The office of Constable dates from Medieval England. Your Constable is an elected public official. The Constable is one of the only four remaining elected peace officers in the world. In Kentucky, the position of Constable was established in the 1850 Constitution. The present Constitution requires the election of one constable in each justice of the peace (known as magistrate) district.

Constables are Peace Officers with broad powers of arrest and authority to serve court processes. The Constable has the authority to enforce both the Traffic Code and the Criminal Code of Kentucky. They may execute warrants, summonses, subpoenas, attachments, notes, rules and orders of the court in all criminal, penal and civil cases (KRS 70.350). The Kentucky Constitution, Section 101, Constables will possess the same qualification as the sheriffs and may exercise jurisdiction in any part of the county. (OAG 62-115 and 40-776).

An elected Constable can not be barred from working in the city limits by a mayor, chief of police or by the city council but he/she must keep his office in the district which he/she is elected (OAG 74-554).

Constables are a fee's paid officer of the court. Constables are entitled to receive fee's for all citations that they write and warrants they serve.

Jurisdiction:

The Kentucky Constitution, Section 106, states that, "Constables shall possess the same qualifications as Sheriffs and their jurisdiction shall be co-extensive with the counties in which they reside.


Statement of Common Purpose:

The purpose of the Kentucky Constable is to uphold the law fairly and firmly: to prevent crime, to pursue and bring to justice those who break the law; to keep the peace; to protect, help and reassure the community: and to be seen to do all this with integrity, common sense and sound judgment.


We must be compassionate, courteous and patient, acting without fear or favor or prejudice to the rights of others. We need to be professional, calm and restrained in the face of violence and apply only that force which is necessary to accomplish our lawful duty.

We must strive to reduce the fears of the public and, so far as we can, to reflect their priorities in the action we take.


Qualifications:

Constables must be 24 years of age, a citizen of the state for two years and a resident of the county and district one year prior to election. Before taking office, constables must execute a bond at a minimum amount of $10,000, approved by the fiscal court.

Deputies

In the counties containing first-class and second-class cities, constables, with the approval of the county judge/executive, may appoint one or more deputies (KRS 70.320). Each deputy constable in counties containing a consolidated local government or city of the first class shall be compensated by a salary set by the consolidated local government or fiscal court, and paid out of the levy f the consolidated local government or county. Each deputy constable must be an American citizen, at least twenty-one years of age, and must have resided in the county for two years. He may not have been a watchman, night guard, or a detective for two years preceding his employment. A person convicted of or under indictment for a crime involving moral turpitude is also ineligible for the position of deputy (KRS 61.300). Constables are liable for all acts and omissions of their deputies and may remove them by filing a written direction with the county judge/executive or by the mayor in a consolidated local government (KRS 70.320)

Peace officers in the state of Kentucky (general):

The sheriff and three other elected county officials--coroners, jailers and constables--are peace officers, possessing law enforcement powers (KRS 446.010). These powers include a broad grant of authority to make arrests. Under the authority of KRS 431.005, any peace officer may make an arrest:

(a) In obedience to a warrant;
(b) Without a warrant when a felony is committed in his presence;
(c) Without a warrant when he has probable cause to believe the person arrested has committed a felony;
(d) Without a warrant when a misdemeanor, as defined in KRS 431.060, has been committed in his presence; or
(e) Without a warrant when harassment, criminal trespass in the 3rd degree and certain traffic violations are committed in his presence, or if he has probable cause to believe that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol or any other substance which may impair his driving ability.

Where a misdemeanor has been committed in an officer’s presence, he may issue a citation instead of making an arrest, if he has reasonable grounds to believe the person cited will appear in court (KRS 431.015). Citations may be issued in lieu of a physical arrest for violations committed in the presence of an officer. The officer may make a physical arrest for a violation committed in his presence if he has reasonable grounds to believe the defendant will not appear at the required time or if the violation is one of the several set out above from KRS 431.005(1)(e). If the defendant does not appear, a warrant for his arrest may be issued (KRS 431.015).

Offenses are either violations, misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the nature and length of punishment that may be prescribed. These terms are defined in KRS 431.060.

In addition to the instances cited above, certain peace officers, including sheriffs and fulltime paid deputy sheriffs, may make warrantless arrests in some narrowly defined cases of domestic abuse (KRS 431.005(2)).

When in actual pursuit of a law violator, a peace officer may cross corporate or county lines for the purpose of making an arrest (KRS 431.045).

In actual practice, powers of arrest are exercised only by the sheriff and constable. Jailers and coroners rarely make arrests. The law specifically authorizes sheriffs and constables to carry concealed deadly weapons when necessary for their protection in discharging their duties (KRS 527.020).

Specific statutory duties devolve upon all peace officers. All peace officers must seize untaxed cigarettes and notify the state commissioner of revenue that they have done so (KRS 138.165). Peace officers and deputy sheriffs must enforce all controlled substances laws (KRS 113 218A.240) and must arrest and return any children who have escaped from a reform institution (KRS 440.060).

Upon request from the Kentucky Board of Agriculture, a peace officer must aid in destroying diseased livestock (KRS 246.210). Any Kentucky peace officer may destroy a suffering, abandoned, or diseased animal (KRS 257.100). He must also impound unlicensed dogs (KRS 285.215). A peace officer may order funds derived from the sale of an animal of questionable ownership held until ownership is established (KRS 253.070).

Peace officers must enforce all truck weight limit and size laws (KRS 189.223). They must seize any automobile transporting alcoholic beverages in dry territory and make all necessary arrests (KRS 242.360). Peace officers must serve any subpoena issued by the state parole board (KRS 439.390). On being informed or having reason to believe that an unlawful professional prize fight or wrestling match is about to take place, peace officers must prevent the match (KRS 229.240).

All peace officers must cooperate with the Justice Cabinet in the fingerprinting and identification of prisoners (KRS 17.115). A peace officer may arrest without a warrant any military personnel in his jurisdiction who has violated the military code of justice25 (KRS 35.035).
"Service" Fees

In all counties except Jefferson County constables are compensated from the fees they collect. Under KRS 64.190, constables may collect the following fees for the following services:
Making arrest for violations involving a motor vehicle on the public highways $.50
Taking up a vagrant $.50
Killing a mad dog $1.00
Killing and burying a distempered horse, ass or mule $3.00
Killing and burying any other cattle, per head $2.00
Altering a stud, jackass or bull $1.00
Any other services, the same fee allowed sheriffs for similar services (see Sheriff Fees section below)


Constables, along with other peace officers, may also receive fees from the state treasury, under KRS 64.060, for providing the following services:
Apprehending a person on charge of felony, or a fugitive from justice charged with a felony in this state $10.00
Executing a process of contempt in a criminal case when the court excuses the contempt $1.60
Executing a summons upon a witness on behalf of the Commonwealth in a felony case $3.00
Summoning a jury, on order of a court, in a county other than that in which the action is pending, a reasonable allowance to be fixed by the court $2.50
Summoning and attending a jury in a case of felony $2.50


Constables receive mileage and expenses for taking or assisting in taking adult prisoners to the penitentiary or another jail. (KRS 64.070)

Sheriff Fees and Commissions

KRS 64.090 allows sheriffs to charge and collect the following fees from the state and any of its agencies, including the state police, when the source of payment is not otherwise specified, if a state agency or state police requests a sheriff to perform any of the following:
Executing and returning process $20.00
Serving an order of court and return $3.00
Summoning or subpoenaing each witness, fee to be paid by requester to sheriff before service $10.00
Summoning an appraiser or reviewer $2.00
Attending a surveyor, when ordered by a court per deputy or sheriff assigned $20.00
Taking any bond that he is authorized or required to take in any action. $5.00
Collecting money under execution or distress warrant, if the debt is paid or the property sold, or a delivery bond given and not complied with, six percent (6%) on the first three hundred dollars ($300) and three percent (3%) on the residue; when he levies an execution or distress warrant, and the defendant replevies the debt, or the writ is stayed by legal proceedings or by the order of the plaintiff, half of the above commissions, to be charged to the plaintiff and collected as costs in the case;
Taking a recognizance of a witness $3.00
Levying an attachment $5.00


When property attached is sold by an officer other than the officer levying the attachment, the court shall, in the judgment, make the officer an additional and reasonable allowance for levying the attachment, and the fee of the officer selling the property shall be lessened by that sum. Reasonable charges for removing and taking care of attached property shall be allowed by order of court;
Summoning a garnishee $3.00

Summoning a jury in a misdemeanor case, attending the trial, and conducting the defendant to jail, to be paid by the party convicted $8.00

Serving process or arresting the party in misdemeanor cases, to be paid by the plaintiff $10.00

Serving an order or process of revivor $3.00

Executing a writ of possession against each tenant or defendant $7.00

Executing a capias ad satisfaciendum, the same commission as collecting money on execution. If the debt is not paid, but stayed or secured, half commission; Summoning and attending a jury in a case of forcible entry and detainer, besides fees for summoning witnesses $8.00

Collecting militia fines and fee-bills, ten percent (10%), to be deducted out of the fee-bill or fine;
Levying for a fee-bill $3.00

Serving a notice $2.00

Serving summons, warrants or process of arrest in cases of children born out of wedlock $6.00

Serving a civil summons in a nonsupport case $10.00

Serving each order appointing surveyors of roads, to be paid out of the county levy $5.00

Serving each summons or order of court in applications concerning roads, to be paid out of the county levy if the road is established, and in all other cases to be paid by the applicant $5.00

Like services in cases of private passways to be paid by the applicant $5.00

Executing each writ of habeas corpus, to be paid by the petitioner $3.00

All services under a writ issued under KRS 381.460 to 381.570 $10.00

For services in summoning grand and petit jurors and performing his duties under KRS Chapter 29A the sheriff shall be allowed, for each person so summoned, and paid out of the State Treasury for constructive service the sum of $1.50 and for personal service the sum of $3.00.

In addition, KRS 64.090 allows sheriffs to charge and collect a fee of twenty dollars ($20) from any person not requesting the service of the sheriff on behalf of the Commonwealth, any of its agencies, or the Department of State Police for the services provided in subsection (1) of this section where a percentage, commission, or reasonable fee is not otherwise allowed. If a percentage, commission, or reasonable fee is allowed, that amount shall be paid. If payment is specified from a person other than the person who requested the service, then the person specified shall be responsible for payment.

For transporting prisoners to the state penitentiary and for moving persons charged with felonies the sheriff merely receives actual expenses plus a mileage allowance (KRS 64.070). A $3,600 allowance, payable out of the state treasury in $300 monthly allotments, is paid to the sheriff for patrolling public roads and inspecting roadhouses and dance halls. By statute this sum is to be considered an expense allowance, however, and not part of the compensation of the office (KRS 70.170).

Compensation for court-related duties is provided for by several statutes. KRS 64.090 pertains to fees for a number of such functions. Compensation rates for attending court are determined by KRS 64.092.

Sheriffs also receive fees for the service of process for the courts. In civil cases, in district court (KRS 24A.170), and circuit court (KRS 23A.200), the fee for service of process is $20.00.

Sheriffs receive the greater part of their compensation through commissions for tax collection. Because taxes are collected at the end of the calendar year and expenses are incurred from the beginning, the sheriff may find that he has insufficient funds to meet his expenses before taxes are collected. In this case, he may apply for an advance from the Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet. The sheriff may not borrow during any month more than one-twelfth of the total fees collected during the preceding year, and in no case more than $60,000 per month. The sheriff must repay an advance at the end of the calendar year (KRS 64.140).

As compensation for collecting state taxes, sheriffs in counties where the state taxes charged to them for the year are less than $75,000 receive ten percent of the first $10,000 of state taxes collected, and four and one-quarter percent of the remainder of state taxes collected and paid into the State Treasury. In all other counties, sheriffs receive ten percent of the first $5,000 and four and one-quarter percent of the remainder of the funds (KRS 134.290(1)).

The sheriff is compensated in the same manner for collecting county and special district taxes. In counties where county and special district taxes, excluding school taxes, charged to him for the year are less than $150,000, the sheriff receives ten percent of the first $10,000 and four and one-quarter percent of the remaining taxes collected and paid to the county. In all other counties, the sheriff receives ten percent of the first $5,000 and four and one-quarter percent of the remaining funds (KRS 134.290(2)).

The sheriff’s commission for 1996 and subsequent years is allowed to be equal to the commission received in 1995 or the amount that they would have otherwise received, whichever is greater (KRS 134.290).

By law (KRS 160.500) the sheriff is not supposed to realize a profit from his work in the collection of school taxes. Instead, his commission is only to meet his expenses, and in no instance is it to exceed 4% of the amount of taxes collected. The sheriff’s commission may not be less than one and one-half percent of the taxes collected.

Training Requirements
Effective: July 15, 2010

(1) The following officers employed or appointed as full-time, part-time, or auxiliary officers, whether paid or unpaid, shall be certified:

(a) Department of Kentucky State Police officers, but for the commissioner of the Department of Kentucky State Police;
(b) City, county, and urban-county police officers;
(c) Court security officers and deputy sheriffs, except those identified in KRS 70.045 and 70.263(3);
(d) State or public university safety and security officers appointed pursuant to KRS 164.950;
(e) School security officers employed by local boards of education who are special law enforcement officers appointed under KRS 61.902;
(f) Airport safety and security officers appointed under KRS 183.880;
(g) Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control field representatives and investigators appointed under KRS 241.090;
(h) Division of Insurance Fraud Investigation investigators appointed under KRS 304.47-040; and
(i) County detectives appointed in a county containing a consolidated local government with the power of arrest in the county and the right to execute process statewide in accordance with KRS 69.360.

(2) The requirements of KRS 15.380 to 15.404 for certification may apply to all state peace officers employed pursuant to KRS Chapter 18A and shall, if adopted, be incorporated by the Personnel Cabinet for job specifications.

(3) Additional training in excess of the standards set forth in KRS 15.380 to 15.404 for all peace officers possessing arrest powers who have specialized law enforcement responsibilities shall be the responsibility of the employing agency.

(4) The following officers may, upon request of the employing agency, be certified by the council:

(a) Deputy coroners;
(b) Deputy constables;
(c) Deputy jailers;
(d) Deputy sheriffs under KRS 70.045 and 70.263(3);
(e) Officers appointed under KRS 61.360;
(f) Officers appointed under KRS 61.902, except those who are school security officers employed by local boards of education;
(g) Private security officers;
(h) Employees of a correctional services division created pursuant to KRS 67A.028 and employees of a metropolitan correctional services department created pursuant to KRS 67B.010 to 67B.080; and
(i) Investigators employed by the Department of Charitable Gaming in accordance with KRS 238.510; and
(j) Commonwealth detectives employed under KRS 69.110 and county detectives employed under KRS 69.360.

(5) The following officers shall be exempted from the certification requirements but may upon their request be certified by the council:

(a) Sheriffs;
(b) Coroners;
(c) Constables;
(d) Jailers;
(e) Kentucky Horse Racing Commission security officers employed under KRS 230.240; and
(f) Commissioner of the State Police.

(6) Federal peace officers cannot be certified under KRS 15.380 to 15.404.


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