Ever wonder what a Constable is? Well you are not alone. Even though Constables are one of the oldest forms of law enforcement in existence, their role is not well known to the general public.
The word constable originates from the Latin words "comes" (officer) and "stabulum" (stable). Following humble beginnings in the 5th and 6th centuries, constables achieved dignity and responsibility as the chief household officers of the lords and kings of France. In fact, the Constable of France commanded the king´s army in his absence.
The Constable´s role as peace-keeper began under King William the Conqueror between 1066 and 1087 A.D. The constable is first defined in law in the Magna Carta, which is the foundation for the constitutions of many English speaking nations.
Constables have served the justice court system since 1362. What may be the first law enforcement manual, a pamphlet on the duties of a constable, was published by William Lambard in 1583. The office of constable was appointed during colonial times. Upon our nation´s birth the constable was made an elected official. In March of 1836, the Constitution of the Republic of Texas created the office of Constable in Texas. Today, Article 2.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure defines constables and their deputies as certified peace officers.
While performing many of the same duties as his early predecessors, preventing breaches of the peace and arresting offenders, the modern constable is responsible for the service of civil and criminal process from the Justice, County, District, Family and Federal Courts. A role so important that the Constable is the only law enforcement official with mandated specialized training in these areas. As an elected official, the Constable represents the people of his community and precinct.