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Constables

Paul McGann – (802) 366-0125 (2 year term exp. in 2019)
Robert Perry – (802) 442-3071 (2 year term exp. in 2019)

The role of town constable varies from town to town, and depends upon whether he or she is elected or appointed, and whether the voters have elected to limit his or her law enforcement powers. At one end of the spectrum, the town constable is the town’s local law enforcement officer, with all powers of search, seizure and arrest within the town. On the other end of the spectrum, the constable only has the power to serve civil process, assist the health officer in the discharge of his or her duties, destroy unlicensed dogs, kill injured deer, remove disorderly people from town meeting, and collect taxes if no tax collector is elected. Although there is no requirement that a locally elected constable have criminal justice training, the voters may restrict law enforcement activities of those constables who are untrained. The voters may also restrict the authority of its trained constables.

A town shall elect a first constable and, if needed, a second at annual town meeting. Alternatively, a town may vote to authorize the selectboard to appoint a constable. (17 V.S.A. 2646(7), 2651a). A constable’s term to office is for one year unless a town votes to elect or appoint the constable for a two-year term. In addition, towns may vote to prohibit the constable from executing any law enforcement authority or may require that the constable be trained prior to exercising law enforcement authority (24 V.S.A. 1936a)

The town may vote to pay the constable a salary and, at town meeting, fix the sum to be paid. In addition, the constable may collect fees for service of civil process and for the transportation of mental patients and prisoners. If no salary is fixed by the voters, the selectboard may set a salary for the constable.

A constable may act only when authorized by a specific statute.

A constable who has law enforcement authority has the powers of search, seizure and arrest with the town. Unlike other law enforcement officers, however, constables do not have statewide jurisdiction. Their jurisdiction is limited to the boundaries of the town.