What is a Constable?
Under Pennsylvania Law, Constables are Public Officers elected or appointed to their position in accordance with the laws of elections.
A Constable is a sworn Law Enforcement/Peace Officer that can arrest for felony crimes and breaches of the peace committed in his presence, or by warrant anywhere in the commonwealth.
A Constable is also an officer empowered to carry out the business of the statewide district court system by serving warrants of arrest, mental health warrants, transporting prisoners, service of summons, complaints and subpoenas, and enforcing protection from abuse orders as well as orders of eviction and judgement levies.
Constables are also charged with maintaining order at the election polls and ensuring that no qualified elector is obstructed from voting. Constables are the only law enforcement officials permitted at the polls on election day.
While Constables primarily serve the Courts, they belong to the executive branch of government.
Constables are elected at the municipal level, however, State law governs Constables. They have statewide authority, thus, the title became "State Constable".
Constables are empowered to enforce both criminal and civil laws. Police officers are empowered to enforce criminal and traffic laws. A Sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of the County and is empowered to enforce criminal, civil, and traffic laws.
Did you know?
Fees charged by constables are set by state law.
Constables do not receive a set salary. They are paid only for each task performed for the District Court.
Civil service fees are paid by the plaintiff at no cost to the taxpayer.
Summary warrant fees are paid for by the defendant, normally at no cost to the taxpayer.
Constables purchase all of their own equipment to perform their job. This includes uniforms, firearm, vehicles with safety devices, restraint devices, office supplies, vehicle and liability insurance and any other cost associated with the job. Taxpayers do not shoulder this burden and do not normally pay any hourly rate to the Constable.
A $5.00 fee is added to DEFENDANTS costs that go into a training fund administered by the state. That fund provides free training to all Constables at no cost to the taxpayer.
Because Constables do not receive an hourly rate and operate on a piece rate basis, Constables must be ACTIVE in serving process to be successful and to provide good service to the Magisterial District Court.