Constables To Keep Powers – For Now

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Cannon County’s five constables came away from Saturday’s meeting of the Cannon County Commission with their law enforcement powers still intact, but that could only be the case for a few more months.

After first rescinding the action they took at their January meeting to remove the constables’ law enforcement powers, commissioners again voted to do so Saturday.

The reason for rescinding their January vote was because concern had been expressed by state officials that it may have violated Tennessee Open Meetings Law because the item was not on the agenda for that meeting, and instead brought up under other business.

Removing law enforcement powers requires a two-thirds vote of the county commissioners and the resolution to do so also must pass two readings at consecutive meetings.

County Executive Mike Gannon had to break a 5-5 tie on a motion to rescind the January first reading vote. Commissioners Mark Barker, Russell Reed, Jim Bush, Tony Neal and Clint Higgins voted to rescind while Jimmy Mingle, Kevin George, Kevin Mooneyham, Bob Stoetzel and Todd Hollandsworth voted against doing so.

Following that vote, Mooneyham made a motion to again consider the resolution on first reading. That motion passed by an 8-2 vote, with Barker and Neal voting no. If the resolution passes at the next meeting of the commission by at least seven votes, constables will be stripped of their law enforcement powers but still remain in their elected position.

The vote was preceded by a brief but heated exchange between Mooneyham and First District Constable Jim Gibbs, and a plea from an audience member to let the constables keep their powers.

Mooneyham, Assistant Police Chief for the Woodbury Police Dept., said he did not want persons providing law enforcement in the county who did not have the same amount of training he did. Constables are not required to have any form of training or level of education, Mooneyham said.

“How dare you,” Gibbs asked. “I have more education than you do. I am recognized as a law enforcement officer … I have just as much powers as you do, whether you like it or not.”

Lillian Todd, speaking from the audience, said, “I am pretty concerned you want to strip them of their powers. They are certified and receive no money from the county. Why would you not want to use all of our resources?”

Todd express concerned the action being taken was due to personality conflicts between one or more commissioners and some of the constables. “That is an excuse instead of a real reason,” she said.

• Approved a resolution giving the County Executive permission to apply for a $50,000 grant from the USDA to build a Farmers' Market. If the grant is received, the county would contribute $15,000 toward the construction of the open air building, which would be located behind the parking lot at the Arts Center of Cannon County. Commissioners Reed, Bush, Neal, Mooneyham and Stoetzel voted against the resolution, meaning Gannon had to break a 5-5 tie for the second time during the meeting. Gannon said he can not recall ever having to break a tie before in his eight-plus years as county executive.

• Heard from Sheriff Darrell Young about plans to seek bids to do repair work at the Cannon County Jail, including the roof and air conditioning units. Funding for the repairs would come from the litigation tax, which the county commission increased from $10 to $50 at the Oct. 2010 meeting. Money collected from the tax is being deposited into debt service. One Sheriff Young has received bids for the work, he will present them to the commissioners for consideration.

• Declined to reconsider building codes for Cannon County. The county will have to opt-out of the State Fire Marshal's program each year.

• Approved  Catherine Gibbs, J.H. Gibbs, Krista Trail, Jessica League, Gary Hancock, Michele Asbury, Joan Nave, Mark Hochstetler and Shannon Leedom as notaries.

• Delayed the formation of a County Audit Committee. County Executive Gannon said the state's Comptroller's Office has not yet signed off on the plan submitted to form the committee.

• Named an unnamed bridge on Cavendar Road the "Margie Vinson Memorial Bridge."

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Members Opinions:
April 16, 2011 at 5:34pm
If the commissioners can take the constables powers away who is next.I have a list of people that I think should be stripped of there powers,an they are also elected by the people.So if anyone can tell me who to give my list of names to would be appreciated
April 16, 2011 at 5:45pm
While I have not checked with the election commissioner, I assume it is possible to "strip" any elected official of their powers by virtue of a recall election.

As to how and why the County Commission is able to do so, "the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee through the enactment of Chapter 344 of the Public Acts of 1997 has authorized the county legislative body to remove the law enforcement (conservator of the peace) powers of the office of constable in our county upon two-thirds (2/3) majority vote in two consecutive meetings."
April 16, 2011 at 9:29pm
I am appalled and amazed that there are actually citizens who would want persons to provide law enforcement in Cannon County who are not properly trained to do so. I would think this would lead to far more bad, than good. The more I hear on the issue the more I believe it is about the power, not the service, for some of these constables. Constable Gibbs' comment at Saturday's County Commission meeting, directed at Assistant Police Chief Kevin Mooneyham ... " I have just as much powers as you do, whether you like it or not," lends support to my theory. It is not about the power, it is about doing a good job. Just because I have been educated and received degrees in psycology and English does not mean I am qualified to teach English at Cannon County High School. Just because I coach youth baseball does not mean I am qualified to be a high school baseball coach. Having knowledge of something does not automatically qualify one to do the job. I am not saying Cannon County's constables are not qualified. I am saying knowledge of law enforcement does not qualify one to act as a law enforcement officer, especially when the police officers and deputies in our county appear to do a very good job. The original job of a constable in English law was to maintain peace within his district. I believe we can all attempt to do this without calling ourselves constables.
April 17, 2011 at 6:35am
When was the last time a constable exercised any of his law enforcement powers?
What was the occurence and who was the constable?

April 17, 2011 at 8:46am
To stinnett: Just because you only teach youth baseball certainly doesn’t disqualify you from teaching high school baseball -- What you actually do, is not what you may be best qualified to do. And inversely, because one has been appointed by his friend to be assistant chief of police after 20 years of treading water in a small police department doesn’t give that person to the privilege to undermine the will of the voters, second guess the intent of our legislators and attempt to but down others who have carried a far greater burden than himself.

The exchange between Kevin Mooneyham and myself wasn’t about “power” it was about “police power” and it was really about respect. I believe the recording of the meeting will reveal the words I spoke were, “I have the same powers” (That is plural – meaning law enforcement powers)

I can appreciate in part of what Kevin was talking about, because I also believe in the importance of education. However, he seemed resentful that constables merely by being elected would have the same authority as he does as a law enforcement officer. I believe his words were something like – You all should have to go through what I went through --- After all he has worked hard to get his badge – his police powers. Kevin has shared meals with former Chief Bill Avera at Joes, he was required to have a GED or high school diploma, he was fingerprinted, and yes -- he went to the Tennessee police academy – in the 90’s that was about 320-360 hours. Basically, his rise into law enforcement came about not what he knew but who he knew to get the job. And I don’t think he has done much since other than the required in-service training.

The problem with Mooneyham’s remarks are this. – Some constables (at least me) have more education and more law enforcement experience than he does. Some of us experienced far greater scrutiny getting into law enforcement than he can even imagine. Ask this: Could Kevin pass a rigorous physical agility test to qualify? Could he pass the scrutiny of a polygraph test regarding his honesty, moral character and the use of drugs? How would he fare in competition with 900 other candidates vying for 30 jobs using a combination of written and oral exams by a panel of law enforcement experts? ---- If he could have gotten passed all that -- could he then go on to complete a 600 hour stress driven police academy and finish first in the class – Being valedictorian of that particular group of men and women was truly an honor that I hold dear to my heart.

Frankly, I am more experienced and more educated in law enforcement than Kevin. I have earned through hard work and been judged the best of the best of my law enforcement peers. I have been spat upon, brutally beaten and shot. – So yes -- How dare Kevin Mooneyham imply that the road that he has walked down in law enforcement was more difficult than mine.

And it isn’t just me that was offended by Kevin’s remarks. Forrest Pitcock has worked for the Dallas Texas Police and the Cannon County Sheriff, what does Kevin know about Forrest? Both Forrest and I got more votes than Kevin – Does Kevin know something about us our voters don’t know? If he does, maybe he should share.

The personnel records of all police officers are open to the public. I invite you to go look at Kevin’s records and compare --- My background is easy to find, it is posted on the Courier website – You can find it here --

MMW -- My very last act as a law enforcement officer occurred just a couple of weeks ago --- I stopped a Murfreesboro police officer driving 85 miles an hour on John Bragg Highway in the 55 mph zone who appeared to be playing some kind of dangerous car tag with another driver – I may have saved his life, and I think he was embarrassed but appreciated the reminder that he needed to slow down and be safe.

I did my job, that was what I was elected to do ---
April 17, 2011 at 10:47am
Jim, the law gives Commissioner Mooneyham the power to remove the law enforcement powers from the constable position. The Tennessee General Assembly has granted County Commissioners the authority to trump the will of the voters. County Commissioners must answer to the voters, so they may one day be held accountable for their action with respect to constables. Only time will tell. As far as I know only two of the eight commissioners who voted for the resolution have a law enforcement connection. I think and would hope they did so because they have come to the conclusion, after much consideration and deliberation, that having persons outside the sheriff and police departments and state troopers with law enforcement powers is no longer necessary in this county to maintain the peace. That is the conclusion I have reached, and would feel the same if the names of the county's five constables were Darrell Young, Bruce Kirby, Tony Burnett, Kevin Mooneyham and Bob Stoetzel.
April 17, 2011 at 12:02pm
To - KevinHalpern, In part I agree with you. I could make a better argument against constables than any of the commissioners or the sheriff.

Not known to most is that I have asked State Representative Dale Ford (too late for this year) to sponsor a bill removing the power of one of the two constable organizations monitoring the education of the constables because they are not doing a good job. I also have other concerns. I personally would require a curriculum for constables that included Tennessee law, and my list goes on and on. However, my reasons are supported by logical and facts not hypocrisy, arrogance and personal vendetta. ----

I realize the law has provisions for the county legislative body to remove the law enforcement powers of constables. However, if it is done arbitrarily as it is being done in Cannon County, I think that it becomes a Constitutional question that may not pass a challenge in the courts. I am not sure I care at this point, but the people of the county should. ---

I don’t’ think it makes any difference at this point, but I mentioned once in a personal email --- You are not looking in the right places for answers. Ask neighboring sheriffs their opinion – They don’t have a dog in the hunt (no ego to protect) and they will be honest about the value of elected constables. They all use them --- Isn’t that strange to anybody in Cannon County?

Look --- I have been asking people to obey the law for two thirds of my life. Rather it be a citizen speeding, a sheriff cheating or a county commissioner violating the very law he has sworn to obey – it makes no difference. I think Roosevelt said – “No man is above the law, and no man is below it – and I’ll ask no man’s permission when I demand him to obey it.”

Like I wrote to MMW --- My very last act as a law enforcement officer occurred just a couple of weeks ago -- I started when I was 23 --- I am about to turn 68. I think I’ll take a break.
April 17, 2011 at 2:06pm
Jim, I doubt there is a person who has ever lived who can present the case for constables better than you do. I think the original role of the office is no longer the one it can now play within our criminal justice system. The fact taxpayers are not asked to provide funding for salaries, vehicles, equipment, uniforms, etc. for constables, all of the tools needed to enforce law enforcement powers, supports my belief. I do think members of the community benefit from the educational and training qualified constables provide, and that the organization itself can have a significant social and political influence within the community.
April 17, 2011 at 2:36pm
Well I disagree. The fact that taxpayers are not asked to provide funding of salaries, vehicles, equipment, uniforms, etc. is one of the MAIN reason why it is idiotic to remove them from power.

You have people who are elected by their communities, who are willing to serve, who meet all the requirements by the State of Tennessee to perform their job and cost the citizen and taxpayer absolutely nothing and our county commissioners feel the need to remove them and the media has decided they no longer "play within our criminal justtice syetem". The reason they don't play is because no one is willing to invite them.

This is absolutely, 100%, a biased decision based soley on personal agendas by those voting to remove the Constables from power. To call it anything less than that is false.

How many incidents, lawsuits, issues, concerns or problems has Cannon County ever faced in its 150 plus year history surrounding the Constables? The answer is ZERO.

So what is the Commissioners decision based on? The potential of a lawsuit? The potential that someone might go beyond their powers? The potential that someone might get pulled over that needs to be?

There is a potential that someone might slip and fall going up the steps to the court room to attend a Commissioners meeting, so someone needs to make a motion to move the meetings downstairs.

Same theory, same stupid results!

How about the Commissioners focus on real problems instead of created problems because they don't like someone who got more votes than them in the general election!
April 17, 2011 at 2:58pm
Because the current requirements of the State of Tennessee with respect to constables and law enforcement powers are substandard. If that were not the case the General Assembly never would have given county commissions the right to do away with them. It would certainly be a liability to invite someone to "play" the game of law enforcement with you if that person does not have adequate training. It is foolish to do so if you are a sheriff or police chief and have no authority over that individual. If you are a deputy or police officer in Cannon County it is unlikely you will ever call a constable for backup. If you are a constable you are likely going to call a deputy or police officer before you got involved in any situation which is even remotely dangerous.
April 17, 2011 at 5:51pm
Oh Kevin, I am so tired of arguing the point – The qualifications are what the legislators dictated for not only constables but, sheriffs and marshals. Which are ALL elected law enforcement officers – They purposely excluded them from P.O.S.T. requirements --- and P.O.S.T. is subordinate to the legislators --- The local boys have no say --- except – in 1997, the sheriff’s association lobbied to make the removal of constables available to some counties --- but not all --- I don’t disagree that constables should have more education – but don’t conjure up reasons for the law to remove constables. The reason is not education or the lack of. The legislators have resisted in recent years to raise the qualifications of constables. They are the ones that determine the law and what is standard or substandard. --- Most constables are law enforcement officers and it is not anymore a game in their minds than working for any other agency. There is no case history to substantiate the constables are a liability issue.

The rational behind excluding elected sheriffs, constables and marshals is that they were intended to be the choice of the people not the product of P.O.S.T. which is almost entirely a group of law enforcement officers protecting their turf.

There is legislation proposed right now that would require the sheriff to be P.O.S.T. certified as a qualifier for office --- That means for the most part, the sheriff and or the chief of police will dictate who your next sheriff will be because they will have to work for one or the other to qualify. ----- Think about it --- What in the world does a BASIC certificate have to do with administrating a department as sheriff – I would rather have civilian with an MBA than cop with a basic certificate any day for sheriff -- Ideally they would have both and the cop have under grad degree in criminal justice

Remember also that I mentioned to you about the unlawful use of non-certified deputies in the courtroom in Cannon County? There is also proposed legislation the will allow that ------ See any hypocrisy here??

By the way. I would like to thank Ms. Lillian Todd for having the courage to stand up and speak her mind. I also appreciate Commissioner Mark Barker for standing firm behind common sense vote. And I really appreciate Commissioner Tony Neal for his hard work to explore the issue of constables. Tony consulted sheriffs of neighboring counties and discovered the value of constables and changed his vote from the January meeting. That effort has to be appreciated by everybody in Cannon County rather you like constables or not.
April 17, 2011 at 8:33pm
Your non-certified deputies in the courtroom in Cannon County answer to the Sheriff of Cannon County not just terned loose to do as they please.
April 18, 2011 at 1:01pm
Considering the remote areas of the county and the limited number of police officers, if I was an office, I hope that I would appreciate any support/backup I could get. I don't know(so I'm asking)- is there some law that restricts police officers and contables from working together? I don't recall any situation were a constable tried to take the spotlight from an officer. Was there a particular incident that got us where we are today?
April 18, 2011 at 1:56pm
I think the only incident that got us here today wonderingmind goes back to a Sheriff's election held about three Sheriff's ago and has been carried around like an dead albatross that certain commissioners can never let go of.

There has been no justification on removing the powers of the Constables given by any County Commissioner other than "you are not needed" or the "possibility of some future lawsuit IF they do something that goes beyond their scope of powers".

This is 100% pure vendetta and grudge because we have a few commissioners who don't like certain constables. If they meet the required training designated by the State of Tennessee (which they do), they are elected by their communities and cost the county NOTHING and are willing to work for FREE, then it is absolutely stupid to remove them from office.

If they stop one idiot from running through their community at 85 mph then they have the potential to stop someone from getting hurt.

Why would we ever say they are not needed? Do we have so few problems in Cannon County that we don't need people who are willing to help?
April 18, 2011 at 3:57pm
Here's the only justification which should matter: No community needs people running around with law enforcement powers simply because that person won an election. The bar should be set substantially higher than that. If people want to "help" they can go through the proper training and apply for a job at the sheriff or police departments.
April 18, 2011 at 4:59pm
Here is the justification which should matter: No elected body should have the power to remove the what the people choose due to personal vendetta's and grudges that have been held for years when that group has met all of the proper training and requirements by the State of Tennessee.

What you Kevin and all of the Commissioners who voted to remove the powers of the Constable are saying is that you know more than what the State of Tennessee knows and you require more than they do based on your vast knowledge of law enforcement.

Everyone of the Constables have met all of the requirements as stated under the law. There have been no issues, there have been no problems and no cost to the county in any way. There is no reason to remove their powers except that certain people don't like certain Constables.

The communities that elected the Constables knew the qualifications of the person running and they WANTED them in place. You and the commissioners seem to deny that and ignore it because you think you know what is best for the people who chose them in the first place.

Let the people decide if you truly want to know the answer. And what is even more evident is that if you aren't doing anything to get pulled over then you don't have to worry about the Constable at all now will you?
April 18, 2011 at 5:09pm
The elected body (commissioners) do have the power. It was given to them by another elected body (Tennessee General Assembly).

The qualifications (listed below) to have law enforcement powers with respect for constables are insufficient. I doubt that most people who voted for them are even aware of what the qualifications are.

- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101;
- A person shall:
(1) Be at least 21 years of age;
(2) Be a qualified voter of the district;
(3) Be able to read and write;
(4) Not have been convicted in any federal or state court of a felony; and
(5) Not have been separated or discharged from the armed forces of the United
States with other than an honorable discharge;

I don't think the citizens of Cannon County pulling them over whose only authority to do so is that they are 21 and can read and write.
April 18, 2011 at 7:29pm
Kevin --- What are you smoking? In one sentence you say, “The elected body (commissioners) do have the power. It was given to them by another elected body (Tennessee General Assembly)”. And then you can’t seem to understand that that same General Assembly gave law enforcement powers to the constables and dictated the requirements --- That makes their requirements sufficient by law ---- and I guess if you want to twist it – P.O.S.T. certification would SUPER sufficient because it is more than required by law. All constables in Cannon County have met the requirements of the law – Anybody's opinion of what is sufficient or insufficient does not trump state law. --- And yes, the commission does have the “power” as you described to remove law enforcement powers of constables in some counties (but not all-- why is that) but regardless the Constitution prohibits “arbitrary power” by the government. ---- Also – qualifications that you listed above for constable --- the only difference between the constable and the sheriff is the sheriff has to be 25 and have a GED --- I guess 4 years older and a GED make his qualifications sufficient. – Please just stop the double standards and the hypocrisy.
April 18, 2011 at 7:47pm
Jim, I guess it's whatever you are smoking.

Here are the qualifications to run for sheriff:

- Basic qualifications of TCA 8-18-101; and
- No person shall engage in the practice of law or serve as a member of the general assembly while serving as sheriff. (TCA 8-8-101)
- A person shall:
1. Be a citizen of the United States;
2. Be at least 25 years of age prior to the date of qualifying for election;
3. Be a qualified voter of the county;
4. Have obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent in educational training as recognized by the Tennessee state board of education;
5. Not have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to or entered a plea of nolo contendere to any felony charge or any violation of any federal or state laws or city ordinances relating to force, violence, theft, dishonesty, gambling, liquor or controlled substances; so long as the violation involves an offense
that consists of moral turpitude or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence;
6. Be fingerprinted and have the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation make a search of local, state, and federal fingerprint files for any criminal record. Fingerprints are to be taken under the direction of the T.B.I. It shall be the responsibility of the T.B.I. to forward all criminal history results to the Peace
Officer Standards and Training (POST) commission for evaluation of qualifications;
7. Not have been released, separated, or discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States with a Dishonorable or Bad Conduct discharge, or as a consequence of conviction at court martial for either state or federal offenses;
8. Have been certified by a qualified professional in the psychiatric or psychological fields to be free of all apparent mental disorder as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM III), or its successor, of the American Psychiatric Association; and
9. Possess a current and valid peace officer certification as issued by the Tennessee POST commission as provided in §38-8-107, and as defined in title 38, chapter 8, within 12 months prior to the close of qualification for the election for the office of sheriff. (This requirement does not apply in any county having a metropolitan form of government where the sheriff does not have law enforcement powers.)
In the event that certification for peace officer is inactive or no longer valid, proof of the intent to run for the office of sheriff shall be presented to the POST commission for approval to take the POST certification examination;
shall file with the post commission,
(a) an affidavit sworn to and signed by the candidate affirming that the candidate
meets the requirements of this section; and
(b) a confirmation of psychological evaluation form certified by the psychologist/psychiatrist providing psychological evaluation as provided for in §8-8-102(b)(8) for the purposes of sheriff candidacy qualification.

Plus, as I'm sure you are aware, efforts are underway in the state legislature to strenghten the requirements for sheriff, including have worked in law enforcement at least four of the previous 10 years. I would also be in favor of changing the law so that sheriff's are appointed, as is the case is with police chiefs, so that only qualified candidates are considered and we have less turnover when administrations change.

Jim, as someone who has spent as lifetime involved in law enforcement, I am astonished you would not want only well-trained and tested persons possessing law enforcement powers.
April 18, 2011 at 8:17pm
Jim....I have several questions for you. In this thread you have stated that you pulled over an off duty Murfreesboro Police Officer for speeding/racing. What I'd like to know is if you gave this officer a ticket or citation to court and if not, please explain why you didn't
Second question, I totally agree with Kevin and anyone else that posted that Constables should be required to go through the same POST certification training as police officers and sheriff's deputies. I know however that constables have training they are required to go through each year. My question to you is have you ever gone through the exact training in the state of Tennessee the the police officers and sheriff's deputies have gone through to be certified as a police or deputy? Second part of that question have you completed the number of hours required of constable training for the year?
Third question, I know in the past you've been involved in sheriff races, both running for the office and getting involved in others. I also know that you have attempted to implement various programs in the Cannon County Schools such as bullying etc. In every aspect you've been turned down. My next question is since you try so hard to be a law enforcement officer, why haven't you ever been employed as a police officer or sheriff's deputy in Cannon County?
Now as far as being an elected official is concerned, correct me if I'm wrong but most of the constables in office today ran unopposed. On the ballot however when a voter goes in to vote right next to the nomination of the election office the words something like "please vote for one" or something like that will appear. So to be fair, if you run unopposed you don't really know how many purposely pushed the button next to your name or just pushed the button because it said please vote for one
In conclusion, I don't necessarily think that the Constables should be stripped of their powers, I think they should have to go through the exact training as those employed by the Woodbury Police Department or the Cannon County Sheriff's Department. I also think that they should answer and work alongside the various police departments and answer to them. I also agree with the idea of constable uniforms and vehicles being mandatory. Any violations of code, conduct or policy should be punishable by suspension or loss of office. There is legislation coming up that will tighten up on the constable office.
April 18, 2011 at 9:02pm
Jim,I think it is time to get the ACLU on the case,by the time it winds through the court system we will all be no one will remember what the case was about anyway.
April 19, 2011 at 12:15am
To keithready: The MPD officer I stopped was on his way to work in full uniform --- I stopped an unsafe behavior and my actions resulted in a willful compliance with the law – I have no ticket book. i did my job.

I have been through three P.O.S.T. certified academies -- 2 for law enforcement and one in corrections. All of them more hours than the 320 hours currently required by TN. One police academy was 600 hours of which I graduated valedictorian. Furthermore I have successfully challenged by testing -- 2 other P.O.S.T. certifications. Believe it or not --- there isn’t a lot of difference from state to state.

As a constable I am required to attend 40 hours of training – Yes I have done that and more. Over the last year alone I have actually accumulated around 120 hours total.

I did run for sheriff in 2002. Tony Burnett, Bob Stoetzel and I all lost to Kenny Wetzel. I have been “employed” as a law enforcement officer for 5 years in Cannon County --- I was elected constable in 2006 which is a “fee” office. I offered a FREE anti gang anti bullying program to the school which was turned down --- Just another example of politics getting in the way of good ideas. Let the school board explain their actions to the parents. --- I did my part

Voters – vote. Intelligent or not, they vote. Not having a choice is not my problem. They also have an option of not voting for anybody. In Nevada, they have “None of the above” on every race – I like that! I would really encourage qualified candidates to run and give the voters a choice. Regardless, you don’t know how many voters deliberately and intentionally voted for each unopposed candidate either.

I also agree that constables should not be stripped of the powers and if the legislators wanted P.O.S.T. certification, I good with that. I like education, the more the better. But, it is the call of the law makers, not you or I. I have actually sat and watched them fight over P.O.S.T. for constables and vote against it --- It is really a budget issue for many of these law makers

The offices of sheriff and constables were separated for a reason in our Constitution long before police were even thought of. --- There is a reason for the separation of powers. Yes they should cooperate but not necessarily consolidate. In fact the ethics of both the police chief and sheriff call for cooperating with other agencies. Instead of cooperation locally – I see deliberate isolation over silly turf struggles. But I believe constables should not answer to the sheriff or the chief of police --- They are all separate offices

The are already provisions to remove constables from office if the violate the law or rules. I also agree about uniforms and marked vehicles --- but remember under current law, constables have to purchase out of their own pocket all of their equipment. Also, there are provisions for undercover vehicles in state law and I think that is important .

There is no significant current legislation regarding constables. ther is one that would pay them more money for each service, one that would pay fuel costs and one that requires a GED as opposed to “read and write” in the qualifications.

To Kevin: you are leaving out part of the law regarding sheriff's qualifications – the exceptions --- but that is ok, because I also misstated – I forgot the finger prints and psych exam. ------ But ------ I still have trouble with your focus with the law for constables and sheriff ----- but as a reporter you don’t seem to be interested in the fact that all court officers are currently required to be P.O.S.T. certified --- You have the AG’s opinion and you can check the bills and see that they are trying to change the law to allow uncertified officers like Cannon County is using ---- Why aren’t the commissioners, interested in that violation of law? Why don't you care? --- Not just insufficient education – but illegal --- What kind of liability is that???? I’m just curious about that --- Just like constables, they actually do a good job.
April 19, 2011 at 4:18am
Jim, you are an officer of the law, duly elected by the people in your district. If you believe there is a violation of the law with respect to the persons being used as court officers, do your job.
April 19, 2011 at 8:06am
That is a good point Mr. Tenpenny ---- This seems to me to appear as the dog chasing his tail and that chase would continue in the courts. .

It is interesting and I find it strange that on one hand that constables are being discouraged from enforcing the law even on simple matters, yet on the other hand – Kevin would suggest that I be the lead person in requiring the sheriff to obey the law regarding court officers which is rather complex (you have the AG’s opinion). I could lodge a complaint with P.O.S.T., but the lead enforcement person regarding those court officers should be the district attorney who obviously doesn’t care –

The district attorney knows about it and so does the sheriff. --- so do you -- So, be careful with what you ask me to enforce – I might just do it. ----- Besides – there is legislation proposed that would allow our“ good ole boys” with no more education than constables to protect our judges and the citizens that appear in court. ------ Again --- I am good with our court officers ----- I just want each and every person complaining about constables to simply look at he double standard and realize the hypocrisy.
April 19, 2011 at 8:15am
Jim, go ahead and do it. You didn't provide the information to me until late last week. I have had no time to investigate the situation. Apparently you have been aware of it for quite some time, yet have chosen to ignore the matter. You apparently want to keep law enforcement powers, but not use them. There is your hyprocrisy.
April 19, 2011 at 9:05am
Kevin, I discussed this with you last week -- I gave you a copy of the AG opinion regarding court officers. I have also discussed it with the sheriff and couple of commissioners --- who also choose to vote against constables whiled turning a blind eye toward the court situation. I have also talked to Mike Gannon about the court officers —

There is no hypocrisy on my part , only frustration with narrow minded, politically motivated people --- You excluded of course --- Put a smile on your face and go cover something interesting --- This constable thing has been beat to death.
April 19, 2011 at 11:48am
First of all I wonder where the idea of unbiased journalism went. When you corner the market, I guess it is easy to write what you want, when you want and how you want.

Kevin you had your editorial and explained your opinion, do you feel that removing the Constables powers are that important that you need to refute every single person who writes a comment supporting them? If so, I think you have more time on your hands than you know what to do with.

Since you and the rest of the Constable haters are so big on qualifications, here are a few for you:

County Commissioner: 18 years old-No educational experience required (which means they don't even have to know how to read or write)

County Mayor: Must be a qualified voter 25 years old and a resident of the county for a minimum of 1 year and reside in the county for the term elected and cannot hold another public office for profit. Again, NO educational experience required (which means they don't have to know how to read or write either)

So my question is since we have you and the media, along with 8 out of 10 Commissioners deciding that the Constables are not "qualified" enough to serve in an elected capacity for the citizens of their community, why don't you all look at the plank in your own eye before you worry about the speck in theirs.

We have good old boy politics ruling the people of Cannon County who have no idea what they are doing, who have little more than an age requirement to hold office, zero training, very little education making decisions that outweighs the will of the people.

If you and the rest of Woodbury can't see the hypocrisy in their decision to remove the Constables from power based on lack of qualifications when they have none their selves, then I say you are all blind to reality!
April 19, 2011 at 12:10pm
Josh, I am stating my opinion, have presented both sides of the issue, and have allowed both sides to be presented. I don't have to be "neutral" when stating an opinion.

I don't hate or dislike any of the constables. I just don't think they should have law enforcement powers. I have stated the reasons. If people disagree, fine.

Local journalists, the county mayor and the commissioners don't have law enforcement powers. If they did I would seek their removal. Constables with law enforcement powers are no longer needed in our community. The state has given the county commission the authority to remove them. The commission has taken the initial step in that direction. I am in full support of that action because I think doing so is in the best interest of the community. As I stated last week that is my opinion, and also stated if people disagree with that, to call their county commissioner and voice their objection.
April 19, 2011 at 3:11pm
There is nothing wrong with you having your opinion. I am not debating that. However I do debate the idea that you should remain as neutral as possible because you have the ability to post or not post at your discretion which means you have the ability to control the arguments either for or against the removal of Constable.

It is hypocritical to hold the ability to remove the Constables power when the Commissioners themselves do not have any qualifications to hold that title except being 18 years of age.

No they do not have "law enforcement" powers, but they do hold the power to affect the budget, affect the lives of our children, make changes in our community, make laws, remove laws, etc. They have ten times more of an ability to do more damage to our community than the Constables do, yet the only qualification they must meet is to be 18 years old.

Do you seriously want an 18 year old running our government? And I am talking about actual age and not the maturity level most of the commissioners have.

This is high school, penny ante, crap that never should have got this far. Removing their powers is not being done because of an issue, it is being done out of spite. And you and many others have done nothing but played follow the leader and jumped on the bandwagon.

Name one incident that justifies their removal! Simply saying the Commissioners have the power to do it is not justification.

And to say they are not needed is also saying we have no crime in Cannon County and we have enough deputies to patrol every single area, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

They are not used because of egos and grudges. No other reason and you can't find one.
April 19, 2011 at 3:39pm
Josh, I have not cut off anyone from the debate and everyone is free to express their thoughts (as long as they do so in a civil manner). Your feelings about the other elected officials can be expressed during the next election. I am past caring why we are at this point with respect to removing the law enforcement powers of constables. The only justification needed in my mind is they are not sufficiently trained or supervised to hold them. If the position was that important, they would not need anyone to "use" them for validation. They are not used because no one -- not the sheriff, police, courts, etc. -- needs them in order to function.

I listened to Jim Gibbs for over a year make the case for constables and have given him ample opportunity to present that case to our readers. I am not follwing any leader or jumping on a bandwagon. To repeat myself one more time, no person should possess law enforcement powers simply because they are 21 years old and can read and write.
April 19, 2011 at 3:46pm
Then in my opinion no one should posses the power to remove them from office simply because they are 18.

Commissioners are not required to read and write.
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