Duties & Responsibilities
Constables are sworn Texas peace officers with full law enforcement and arrest powers. They have the full right, duty, and authority to enforce all criminal and civil laws or ordinances that are county or state-based, and they can do this anywhere in the state of Texas.
Many Texans are not exactly clear on what all a Texas constable does in their job. Most people believe these important officers just serve papers, meaning the simple delivery and service of civil court process. Others further understand that a constable is a sworn law enforcement officer, but are unclear as to exactly how far and to what level a constable’s powers and enforcement authority extend.
All laws are separated into different codes enacted by legislatures in states (including Texas) and constables (as well as most all sworn Texas law enforcement officers) are responsible for enforcing these codes. consequently, the width and breadth of enforcement duties of a constable is quite large, and many constables should, and often do, give a little more emphasis to their particular enforcement of certain codes over others. A constable, just like any other “sworn peace officer,” can make an arrest for violation of any element of the Texas penal code, and also for any violation of any Texas code which has criminal responsibility attached as a result of its violation. Examples of this are:
- The specialized enforcement of the Texas family code with emphasis on family violence and sexual abuse elements, like special attention to protective orders in family violence cases
- Texas health code in the case of mental health warrants and their specialized handling
- Specialized attention given to the retrieval of probation and parole violators
There is one exception to this statement above; constables do not enforce city ordinances, with the singular exception of city ordinances that have a corresponding “twin” element in a Texas state code, and it is the twin that may be enforced by a constable.
Enforcement of city ordinances is left up to the city police or other city-empowered code enforcement personnel. This is the only area of law that a constable does not enforce.