Constables: still unnecessary

Morice Jackson has quit his job as a Potter County constable and this week the county commissioners voted — in an interesting 3-2 decision — to replace him.


The county has had issues in the past with individuals holding these elected offices. Some of them haven’t done any work, yet they still get paid. Jackson, to his credit, wasn’t one of them.

Indeed, he dressed the part of a well-turned-out law enforcement officer.

But I remain dubious about the need for this extra arm of law enforcement. Still, counties retain them. Some constables are put to work. Others, well, don’t have enough work to keep them busy.

Their duties as prescribed by law involve serving civil papers and providing court security in justice of the peace courts. Some of them actually take part in traffic stops and issuing citations to motorists. Jackson would do all of that while on the job in Potter County.

The office, though, just isn’t worth the expense that counties pay to fund them. Constables’ duties could be done by sheriff’s departments, which also have duly qualified law enforcement officers on the job and also are run by elected officials.

Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner believes in the constable’s office. She cited the revenue the offices bring to the county. But do they really provide a valuable service that couldn’t be provided by another existing law enforcement agency?

I’ve always thought that less government meant more efficient government. As we’ve seen on occasion in Potter and Randall counties over the years, though, they occasionally present more trouble than they’re worth.


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