Constables under fire from law enforcement officials

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - The Kentucky Law Enforcement Council is recommending the state do away with constables, but constables say they should be allowed to continue serving the public. The council's recommendation is the result of what officials are calling the first "scientific" study of constables in Kentucky. They say the results are telling.

"Constables in Kentucky accounted for 0.02 percent of the law enforcement activity in the state," said Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown.

The report suggests that constables have outlived their usefulness in modern law enforcement, but the ones we talked to say that just is not the case. Samuel caldwell has been a constable in Leslie County for 16 years, and believes his position is an asset to the community.

"Say a deputy or state police or sheriff is in the far end of the county and then something happens back here, if there's a constable around, we can take care of it," he said.

Constables in Kentucky are not held to the same training standards as other members of law enforcement. Officials say constables could potentially be doing more harm than good.

"If they are just out on their own patrolling and doing that sort of thing and they don't have the training and the background, that creates a danger to themselves, to the public, to their counties," Brown said.

Constables we talked to dismiss those concerns. They say they are not abandoning their posts any time soon.

"I'm still going to do my job as long as people elect me to do it, I'm going to do it," said Caldwell.

It is not clear at this point what, if any, action the state will take on the council's recommendation.

Officials say Kentucky has had trouble with constables in recent years, including a constable in Louisville that shot at a woman in a Walmart parking lot in 2011.


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