In Arizona, a constable is an officer of the county justice courts. Like justices of the peace, constables are elected by the people of their local precincts to serve four-year terms. Constables and their deputies are the executive enforcement branch of the county justice courts.
A common misconception about constables is that they are a part of the county sheriff's office. Constables are elected officials, and along with their deputies, they attend to the justice courts.
Constables have the same legal authority as a county sheriff, but generally only work within their own precincts. The primary duties of Arizona constables are:
- Executing and returning writs of possession or restitution (evictions);
- Serving orders of protection or orders prohibiting harassment;
- Serving civil and criminal summons and subpoenas;
- Providing judicial security to the justice courts;
- Levying and returning writs of execution (seizing property to satisfy judgments);
- Storing personal property that has been levied; and
- Conducting constable sales of levied property (like sheriff's sales)
Perhaps the most common concern about constables is their qualifications. Constables wear badges but they generally do not wear uniforms or drive marked cars, so most people do not recognize them. Due to the nature of their work, there can be some confusion among members of the public as to whether they really are qualified peace officers. Although any registered voter may run for the office, many constables are former federal, state, county and/or local law enforcement officers. In addition to this, every constable is required to undergo a basic training course within 6 months of assuming office, as well as maintain a certain number of training hours every year thereafter. This ensures that constables are trained and proficient in their duties.