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Column as I see ’em …
It looks like Kentucky is on its way to doing something that should have been done decades ago: getting rid of the elected position of constable.
A report released last week by the Department of Criminal Justice Training was sort of a Capt. Obvious moment for many who already knew that the position is about as useless as a bucket without a bottom.
The report calls constables “irrelevant as an arm of law enforcement,” which is actually much kinder than the description I would have offered.
Frankly, the very notion that someone without any form of police training can win an election and magically have the full powers of a police officer is ridiculous.
These people not only can pull you over on the road, they are allowed to carry guns, haul you off to jail and do anything an actual cop can do.
And in many cases, they’re knuckleheads who can’t even obey the law themselves.
Right here in Anderson County there have been several recent cases where constables are arrested for breaking the law by running around town with a blue light on their vehicles.
Only real cops can use a blue light, and constables here just several years ago were told in no uncertain terms that they cannot, under any circumstances, use a blue light. That was a direct order from the fiscal court, and at least two constables flat-out ignored it.
A few years earlier, a constable who has since moved on was charged with drunk driving, and not for the first time. More recently, complaints have piled up in the judge-executive and sheriff’s offices about local constables — and neither office has the authority to do a thing about them.
With one exception.
Circuit Court Judge Charles Hickman did issue an order prohibiting constables from serving legal documents, a measure that has been adopted by several other Kentucky counties, according to Sheriff Troy Young.
Only the sheriff’s office can serve legal documents, and that’s the way it should remain.
Here’s why: Our sheriff’s office is a fee office, meaning that its budget (which hasn’t gone up in years) is not comingled with that of the fiscal court.
The sheriff sends out tax bills and collects payments for each of the taxing districts, then keeps a percentage of each bill for operating funds. The balance of the sheriff’s budget comes from a $100,000 annual supplement (a product of when the sheriff’s office took over the “old county police”) and the fees it collects from document service.
Fortunately, circuit court Judge Charles Hickman does not allow constables to perform document service, but that could change someday, which could have a serious affect on our sheriff’s budget.
Given how well that office currently stays out of our collective wallets, it’s clearly best to let people suing each other continue funding as much of the sheriff’s office as possible.
The bottom line is that the state legislature would be wise to put an end to constables and let the real police deal with crime.
Speaking of reduction, I wonder if negative campaign ads ate into the number of local votes Kent Stevens received in his loss to state Rep. Kim King.
It would have a taken a huge majority in Anderson for Stevens to offset King’s advantage in Mercer, but even the most optimistic Stevens supporters had to be shocked at how soundly she defeated him here in his home county.
Shun her party affiliation or dislike her politics all you want, but there seems to be a nearly unanimous opinion that King is simply a very nice lady.
It’s doubtful that even those who don’t like some of her ideas liked it when Stevens referred to them as “hair brained,” and held it against him in the voting booth.
Speaking of voting booths, you’d be hard pressed to find a county anywhere that has smoother voting than we do.
County Clerk Jason Denny has the voting process here ticking like a Rolex.
Aside from a complaint call I received on Election Day that began with the complainer calling me a rotten Republican and ended with him calling me a communist (I’m neither, thanks), I received no other complaints and that’s not a surprise.
Denny takes voting very, very seriously and he and his folks work their collective tails off each year to ensure you can cast your vote in confidence.