Ky. lawmaker will again seek to abolish constables - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ky. lawmaker will again seek to abolish constables

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- A Kentucky state lawmaker says she'll again try to abolish the office of constable.

The recent arrest last week of a Bullitt County constable is another black eye on the controversial position. The elected law enforcement officers often help serve warrants or subpeonas, but the position of constable requires little to no official law enforcement training, according to law enforcement critics.

A recent report published by the state found the office of constable "outdated and irrelevant."

State Senator Julie Denton plans to file a bill when the General Assembly convenes next month to abolish the office. It's an idea that she says gained support when it was first brought up last spring.

Her idea grew out of the legal case involving Jefferson County constable David Whitlock. Last month, Whitlock resigned after admitting guilt through an Alford plea to shooting suspected shoplifter Tammie Ortiz outside a southwest Louisville Walmart.

"We've seen problems over the years - not just here in Jefferson County and in Bullitt County - but over the years across the state we've seen problems with constables. They have police powers but they have almost no training. Little to no training," said Denton.

But the Kentucky Constable Association President Jason Rector disputed that during a phone interview with WDRB News on Wednesday.

"We're tired of being treated like the red-headed step child for not having training. We've been asking for it since October of 2007 and not been provided that," Rector said.

Denton says her bill would require a constitutional amendment, meaning it would be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.

Denton fears rural lawmakers might not like her bill because they might see constables as helpful in remote areas.

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