Wed
Dec 5 2007
09:04 am

There are good discussions of one or both issues, but I don't know which, on the Roane County News website. They should correct it soon, and I'll say more then.

Suffice it to say that the Jail is NOT an emergency as some proclaim, and there are mixed feelings regarding the Constable situation.

I have mixed feelings myself and the only thing I know for sure is that our current state of legislation leaves way too much room for abuse and needs to be tightened up somehow someway.

Forgot this

This Russell Johnson quote says it for me...

“...Roane County is not a stage for Walking Tall.”

But, as I understand it, there's not much in the way of checks and balances, as we now stand.

No I don't get your point.

If you are saying there's such activity as you describe, you should report it. It seems like you are saying others who are not constables are committing such acts.

Not withstanding any of that, the Constable legislation could still use some attention.

Anonymous

I don't believe WC was saying that there is abuse. Let's look again at what he said:

"is that our current state of legislation leaves way too much room for abuse and needs to be tightened up somehow someway."

He's talking about the current legislation (as it now exists) concerning constables, not the constables themselves. The current state of the legislation is, at the very best, confusing as all get-out. WC is, I believe, pointing out the potential for abuse that is caused by confusing legislation with language that obfuscates rather than makes clear. As Mark Foster pointed out, we can't get rid of the ability of Tennessee legislators to pass population-bracketed legislation without a constitutional amendment. But, as one who has read the constable statutes in detail, I'm sure you recognize that they are confusing, and that they do not set up very much by way of training or qualifications for constables. They do not set up a mechanism for accountability or supervision of these people who are given police powers. We have seen what havoc can ensue when one of a group causes problems. I believe that WC is pointing out the need, in our society, for well-defined criteria and standards for anybody that given police powers, whether that person is a deputy sheriff, city police officer, or an elected constable.

I hope I'm not mis-speaking - and I know WC will correct me if I'm wrong. If I put words into your mouth - or keyboard - that you didn't intend, WC, accept my apologies.

RB

Elucidate a bit...

... on the checks and balances in the constable system, if you would.

Also - the law concerning the office of sheriff (not his deputies) provides considerable more detail and guidance in what qualifies a sheriff, etc, as has been pointed out a few posts ago. There is quite a bit more detail in the statutes concerning the sheriff, and they are not as obfuscated and confusing as the statutes surrounding the office of constable.

Note that I am not arguing for (or against) the existence of the office of constable. But things are generally much clearer for the sheriff.

RB

Thanks, RB. Glad to know you

Thanks, RB. Glad to know you got my back.

No. I have not accused Constables of Abuse. Bad Marketing and P.R....Yes.

But I'm concerned about the lack of oversight provisions.

Simple Minded Perhaps...

...but, humor me. My comments relate to the position and not Mr. Patton's situation.

Local folks should have the skinny (insight) on those running for local office, i.e.: Constable. Local folks knowing local folks generally make for an appropriate selection. (I didn't say "best selection" but a selection where most everyone can find common ground.) That's an important part of the "checks & balances" in place currently -- right? **I check you out and if you pass the test, you might get my vote until the next election. Screw up and you will be denied my vote in the future.** Don't know the person running for office? Ask around before voting, not after voting.

Our constables cannot be elected from folks residing in another district, only from within district. If those voting folks want that person in office then that's what should happen. The voters get to decide. I hope we always do but so much legislation is over killing common sense practices.

Should a "walking tall" issue arise, we have laws in place that address such situations. This is not to say we cannot better define the office expectations and update qualifications as the populace so decides from time-to-time. All things should be periodically checked out and refined or improved. Standardized qualifications and job requirements sound reasonable.

Do we need Constables? A few years back, well before our current administration took office, I remember a friend and businessman complaining that he could not get warrants served timely, sometimes it took months and sometimes in just never happened. Reportedly, when he inquired about the delays, he was told the officers had more pressing priorities. Someone in our conversation mentioned he requested via the General Sessions Office that his local constable deliver the paperwork. He said it only took a couple of days and it was concluded. I followed up and found this to be true. My friend started using his constable (who got paid for the delivery of the papers) and it was happening within days, he was pleased. The system was working for him again.

I laughed because I observed how being paid only when the warrants were delivered worked well compared to a department being expected to make it happen in light of 'who knows what all expectations' being played out daily for our officers. The free enterprise aspect had merit. I'm sure Jack Stockton has improved this process as he and his very qualified staff have an organized and business-like approach to law enforcement.

Disclaimer: Bob Alford will always get my vote because I TRUST him and my experience with him gives me a great deal of confidence in how he exercises his judgment. If he told me he needed to arrest the Sheriff, I would know he had grounds. So would the people in his district. We also know he has common sense; treats people nicely, fairly and can be trusted. TRUSTED. Coincidentally, he seems to have good customer service skills that serve him well in his position as constable -- wonder where he developed those skills?

I proudly wear years worth

I proudly wear years worth of Bob's burgers. If all Constables carried themselves as He has, we would not be having this discussion. There are other fine examples as well.

I think the consensus that has emerged is that most folks appreciate our Constable's execution of their non-enforcement duties. Questions remain regarding whether their supervision and training is sufficient to properly manage their other powers.

WC - you done hit the nail on the head!

"If all Constables carried themselves as He has, we would not be having this discussion. There are other fine examples as well."

That is, I believe, absolutely true!

RB

Good thoughtful post, Tyler.

Thanks!

Of course, there is a difference between the previous administration and the current one in the Sheriff's Office. When I hear the officers on the sheriff's radio frequency, it is astounding how many times I hear one of them telling the dispatcher they're out serving a paper. And this isn't just on the day shift. I heard one within the last few nights call and verify to dispatch that he had served a specific order of protection as of 8:00 PM. That is, IMHO, a tremendous improvement.

Now, in fairness I must admit that I don't know if people are still having trouble getting process served. If they are, I am sure, however, that it's because of sheer volume. If that were to be the case, then there is a prima facie case indicating a legitimate need for constables who have at least the authority to continue to serve process.

Thanks again for checking in here, Tyler.

RB

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