Bill to eliminate constables awaits governor’s approval

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 24, 2002


The governor’s signature and a simple majority of votes are all that are needed to abolish the office of constable in Pike County.

Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, said Friday that bill eliminating the office of constable, pending voter approval, had passed the Senate and was sent to Gov. Don Siegelman for his signature.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

"This is a good bill, Mitchell said. "It’s basically cleaning up the law."

The local-private legislation was entered by Rep. Alan Boothe, D-Troy, at the request of Pike County commissioners, who voted last year to do away with the office of constable. Currently, seven men serve as constables in the district, with limited duties and authorities.

"At the turn of the century, constables had adjunct law enforcement authority," Mitchell said.

Throughout the years, the duties and responsibilities of constables have changed, through ordinance and law. They can, according to an Attorney General’s opening, write traffic tickets and make arrests, but they do not have access to national crime information computers and they do not have to meet training standards, as do other law enforcement officers. They are compensated by fees.

Acknowledging the change in duties, the Legislature in 1984 passed a law allowing counties to abolish the office by local legislation. Only 37 counties still recognize the office.

If approved by the governor, the bill requires a voter referendum for approval. A simple majority of "yes" votes is required to pass, and the vote would be taken in conjunction with the next general election, which will be in November. If passed,t he bill eliminates the office of constable at the end of this current term.

Constables now in Pike County include Garry Sanders, precinct 1; Joey Lewis Green, precinct 2; John F. Sanders Jr., precinct 5; Marvin "Pete" Jordan, precinct 6; James Price, precinct 12; Bruel A. Davis, precinct 15-1; and Stephen R. Green, precinct 18.