What Is a Constable?
A constable is an elected or appointed officer of a municipality whose duties are similar to those of a sheriff, though the powers are less.
Constables perform two main functions:
- Preserve the peace specifically at the polls during Primary and General Elections.
- Perform judicial duties to serve writs, warrants, bail pieces, etc.
For more on Constables please visit the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) website. For a listing of Constables searchable by name, county, etc. please visit the PCCD database.
Becoming a Constable
Constables are elected at the municipal and/or precinct level to six-year terms. Constable elections were held in 2015 during the Primary and General municipal elections. The next constable elections will take place in 2021.
In the event no candidates seek election to constable a qualified elector of that municipality/precinct may seek appointment by the President Judge by circulating a petition and collecting a minimum of ten signatures of voters registered within the municipality/precinct they reside. Vacated offices are filled by a court appointed constable until the next regularly scheduled constable election to include a full six year term if necessary.
View Petition for Appointment of Constable (PDF) (Adobe Reader Required).
Deputy Constables are appointed by the elected constable and must be residents of the municipality and/or precinct of the appointing constable.
View General Duty Deputy Appointment Petition (PDF) (Adobe Reader Required).
What Is the Process?
- A petition for appointment of constable is presented to the President Judge.
- The York County Director of Elections and Voter Registration verifies that a vacancy does exist and that the petitioner is a qualified, registered elector in the municipality/precinct they seek appointment.
- The President Judge signs a final order appointing or denying the petition. The orders will indicate a bond to be filed if the petition is approved.
- Oaths (PDF) - before assuming their duties, newly elected or re-elected constables must appear before the Court of Common Pleas the first Monday in January following their election to accept or decline the office of constable and be sworn in by the President Judge as per Act 49 of 2009 (PDF). Elected constables may be sworn in by a Magisterial District Judge prior to the first Monday in January but are still required to appear in Common Pleas Court to accept or decline the office. Subsequently appointed constables in the event of constable vacancy or deputy constables may be sworn in by a Magisterial District Judge or Clerk of Courts. The original Oath is filed in the Clerk of Courts office or any York County Magisterial District Judge. The original oath is filed in the Clerk's office.
In York County, the bond and oath of a constable are filed in the Clerk of Courts Office. A bond payable to or in the name of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the amount of $3,000 must be filed with the Oath of Office. The Clerk's office will not accept Oaths for filing that are not accompanied by the $3,000 bond. There is a $26.50 filing fee for both elected and appointed constables (excluding Election Day Constables).
Constables performing judicial duties have the added requirement of filing proof of liability insurance in the amounts of $250,000 - $500,000 each year at no charge at the Clerk of Courts.
Deputy Constables aka "Election Day Constables"…
Constables are required under Pennsylvania law to be present at their polling place(s) on Election Day to preserve order at the polls. If the constable is unable to attend, a deputy constable must assume the duties of the constable on Election Day. A constable may appoint a deputy to serve on Election Day only with the approval of the Court.
Appointing Deputy Constables
- The constable completes a request for appointment of deputy constable and presents it to the Court.
- The President Judge denies or grants the request.
- The order is filed in the Clerk of Courts office.
- No bond is posted.
- Oath must be taken prior to assuming their Election Day duties.
- There is no filing fee.
Election Day Constables Compensation…
View Election Day Only Deputy Constable Appointment Petition (PDF) (Adobe Reader Required)
Constables and Deputy Constables must be present at their polling place all day - 7 am to 8 pm - plus any additional time necessary until the local election board completes their responsibilities.
Constables and Deputy Constables sign the same pay sheet as the local Elections Board to receive their compensation. The pay is $95 for the full day.
View Constable Policies, Procedures and Standards of Conduct (PDF) (Adobe Reader Required)
The Constables Code of Ethics:
As an elected public servant, sworn to carry out the constitutional responsibilities of the position of Constable.
- I shall dutifully carry out the duties of my office.
- I shall, at all times, function without prejudice or regard for an individual's race, religion or place of birth.
- I shall never be a part of an attempt to inhibit or evade the law.
- I shall at all times act in a manner in which understanding and justice is communicated to those with whom I come into contact in my work.
- I shall conduct my private life unblemished and mindful of others.
- I shall be courteous and maintain self-restraint, scorn, ridicule and contempt.
- I shall be a part of the professional organizations designed to protect and upgrade the performance of the Constables.
- I shall not personally solicit for funds in the performance of my work to enhance any organization.
- I shall seek every opportunity for such training as will enhance my ability to do a better job.
- I recognize my badge of authority as a symbol of the public trust and I recognize that as a law enforcement officer, I shall never bring disgrace upon the people, whose faith and confidence elected me as their Constable.
- I recognize my duty to protect the constitutional rights of all people.
- I shall strive to adhere to the aforementioned as long as I serve as Constable.
- I shall never speak with criticism of a fellow Constable except at the appropriate professional forum provided by an appropriate constables' organization.
- I shall never knowingly infringe upon the operation of another Constable.
- I shall never resort to unnecessary force in the performance of my duties.
- I shall not accept gratuities offered by anyone employing my services.
- I shall perform my duties expeditiously and promptly, and I shall transmit an immediate report to those whose work I have accepted.