The Office of Constable in Pennsylvania has existed since 1664, dating the elected office as the oldest form of law enforcement in Pennsylvania, if not the entire United States. The Office of Constable predates County Sheriffs, local municipal Police Departments and the Pennsylvania State Police.
Modern day Pennsylvania State Constables perform critical law enforcement duties every day throughout the Commonwealth. Constable training and service is performed at no cost to taxpayers. This is accomplished by nominal Commonwealth-approved fees attached to dockets that Constables handle. Constables are sworn, uniformed law enforcement officers and make arrests by warrant anywhere in the commonwealth, as well as warrantless arrest for observed felonies and breaches of the peace. Constables handle a broad set of law enforcement duties, including prisoner transports, evictions, levies, and serving primary judicial process for the Magisterial District Courts in Pennsylvania. Additionally, Constables preserve the peace at local polling places for Primary Polling and General Elections.
The Montgomery County Constable Association was formed on May 8th, 1962 for the purpose of increasing the proficiency and safety of Constables and Deputy Constables. Constables, Deputy Constables, and associate members are invited to join the Montgomery County Constable Association.
MINOR COURTS OF PENNSYLVANIA
Pennsylvania Magisterial District Courts, and Common Pleas Courts
The first level of Pennsylvania's Judiciary, or minor courts, is served by Constables who perform important law enforcement functions on a regular basis.
It is the constable's job to enforce the law and carry it out. Constables have the right in Pennsylvania to arrest by warrant anywhere in the commonwealth, and to conduct warrantless arrests for observed felonies and breaches of the peace, including warrantless arrests for observed felony violations of the drug laws.
Constables are statutorily authorized to provide court security and act as the chief process server for legal process originating from Magisterial District Courts. Constables execute criminal process (e.g. arrest warrant), civil process (e.g. evictions, landlord-tenant complaints, money judgments, levies, etc.), and prisoner transports.
ELECTION DAY POLLING PLACE
Preserving the Peace
Constables are also charged by Pennsylvania statute with maintaining peace and order at election day polling locations and ensuring that no qualified elector is obstructed from voting. Constables are the only peace officers permitted at the polls on election day. This duty is mandated upon constables; failure to protect the polls, or provide for their protection through appointed deputies, is punishable with a fine.
In fact, Constables are the only law enforcement permitted within 100 ft of the polls on election day; police officers may only be present if they are in the act of voting or if summoned for emergency assistance.
CERTIFICATION & TRAINING
Prior to performing any judicial duties, Constables undergo extensive training and certification programs that are established by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD). Ongoing training courses and re-certification programs must be maintained for a Constable to maintain their certification.
The Constables' Education and Training Board provides the following programs, which are updated regularly, to meet the ever changing need on law enforcement:
Annual Continuing Education
Basic Firearms Training
Annual Firearms Training
Advanced Firearms Training
Annual Optional Training
The Montgomery County Constable Association provides additional training programs and opportunities to its members.