Pa. High Court Sets Tough New Rules for Constables

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has adopted the first-ever uniform rules for the elected constables who work for the judicial system.

Chief Justice Ronald Castille announced the new rules Tuesday, calling them a critical step in reining in a system that critics say has long lacked standards in such areas as qualifications, professionalism and training.

A 2008 series of stories by The Associated Press catalogued dozens of examples of constable misconduct and cited widespread concern among judges, lawyers and police about the potential for abuses by armed constables with minimal training or supervision.

The rules allow constables to continue being elected and working as independent contractors for the courts, serving papers and transporting prisoners. Among other things, they set requirements for training, the use of firearms and vehicle equipment.

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