FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What is a Constable?
A: A Constable is the Law Enforcement Arm of the Court
Q. Is a Constable a Process Server?
A. No. A Constable and Sheriff can serve both civil and criminal process and a Municipal or State Police Officer can only serve criminal process. A Process Server cannot perform the many other functions that a sworn Constable, Sheriff or Police Officer can. A Process Server can only serve non court documents unless appointed a Special Process Server by the court.
Q. Is a Constable a Law Enforcement Officer?
A. Yes. A Constable enforces civil law and can enforce criminal law. However when it comes to criminal matters we mainly leave those other functions to the local Police Departments unless authorized to engage once we have notified them.
M.G.L. Chapter 56 Section 57 (Relates to Chapters 50 – 56)
M.G.L. Chapter 90 Section 1 Definitions of police Officer (When duly authorized by the Chief of Police of the City or Town and issued a citation book in accordance with G.L. c. 90C, enforce auto law violations. They may arrest without warrant any person operating a motor vehicle in violation of G.L. c. 90, § 21.
Q: Where does a Constable derive his/her power?
A:The Constable like the Sheriff derives his/her power from Common Law and Statutory Law under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 41 Section 91-95 and the Sheriff under Chapter 37 of the Massachusetts General Law.
Q: Is a Constable a Municipal Police Officer?
A: No. A Police Officer derives his/her power from the Constable along with additional powers granted by the Legislature (Chapter 41 Section 96 - 101). The position of Police Officer was statutorily created under the Massachusetts General Law where as the Constable like the Sheriff is Common Law.
Q: What are the powers and duties of a Constable?
A: A Constable's responsibilities are to execute all court orders and are not limited to serving writs and summonses, executing civil arrest warrants, evictions and asset recovery and seizures. A Constable has broad law enforcement and can also arrest any person committing a misdemeanor in his/her presence (Disturbing the peace etc) or felony. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/Digitization/68281NCJRS.pdf
Q: Is a Constable an employee or contractor?
A: A Constable is not an employee within the meaning of G. L. c. 32B, Section 2(d). RICHARD E. RAMPONI vs. BOARD OF SELECTMEN OF WEYMOUTH & others. However under the following Chapters he/she is. Some Cities and Towns refer to Constables as contractors to avoid paying health benefits.
M.G.L. Chapter 258 Section 1 Definitions ''Public employee'', elected or appointed, officers or employees of any public employer, whether serving full or part-time, temporary or permanent, compensated or uncompensated.....
Q: Does a Constable need any specific training to be appointed?
A: No, but it is recommended. However to work for the Massachusetts Constable's Office there is a minimum training requirement to obtain employment. The State did however pass legislation that requires the Police Chief of every city and town to send all Police Officers and Constables names to the Municipal Police Training Committee to attend the academy. M.G.L. Chapter 147 Section 31
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