The push for uniform laws follows scandals alleging misconduct by elected officials.
By Mark Scolforo - philly.com - Associated Press
HARRISBURG - A state lawmaker is pushing for legislation he describes as a first step toward addressing the training, equipment, and supervisory shortcomings in the state's troubled constable system.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Thomas Caltagirone (D., Berks) recently introduced a bill that would assemble in one place the myriad state laws that govern constables. The 56-page bill also would repeal laws with archaic references related to constables, including one dating to 1799.
Once that codification is accomplished, Caltagirone said, he will address the qualifications for office and guidelines for the job.
"I am committed to trying to upgrade the professionalism of the constables and make it a more meaningful law enforcement body and a judicial process-server body," he said yesterday. "This is the first, first step. I don't think there's going to be much controversy around this piece of legislation as much as what may follow. And I don't know what will follow."
The state's 1,200 constables serve warrants, transport prisoners, and perform other jobs for district courts throughout the state. Most are independently elected, though some are appointed to fill vacancies or as deputy constables in busy areas.
Constables operate on a pay-for-service basis for the courts, and as such have limited supervision and accountability.
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Legislator drafts bill to govern constables