What is Constable?

Legal Definition
A constable is a person holding a particular office, most commonly in criminal law enforcement. The office of constable can vary significantly in different jurisdictions. A constable is commonly the rank of an officer within the police. Other persons may be granted powers of a constable without holding the title of constable.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
An officer, who is generally elected by the people.

2. He possess power, virture officii, as a conservator of the peace at common law, and by virtue of various legislative enactments; he. way therefore apprehend a supposed offender without a warrant, as treason, felony, breach of the peace, and for some misdemeanors Iess than felony, when committed in his view. 1 Hale, 587; 1 East, P. C. 303 8 Serg. & Rawle, 47. He may also arrest a supposed offender upon the informatiou of others but he does so at his peril, unless he can show that a felony has been committed by some person, as well as the reasonableness of the suspicion that the party arrested is guilty. 1 Chit. Cr. L. 27; 6 Binn. R. 316; 2 Hale, 91, 92 1 East, P. C. 301. He has power to call others to his assistance; or he may appoint a deputy to do ministerial acts. 3 B urr. Rep. 1262.

3. A constable is also a ministerial officer, bound to obey the warrants and precepts of justices, coroners, and sheriffs. Constables are also in some states bound to execute the warrants and process of justices of the peace in civil cases.

4. In England, they have many officers, with more or less power, who bear the name of constables; as, lord high constable of England, high constable 3 Burr. 1262 head constables, petty constables, constables of castles, constables of the tower, constables of the fees, constable of the exchequer, constable of the staple, &c.

5. In some of the cities of the United States there are officers who are called high constables, who are the principal police officers where they reside. Vide the various Digests of American Law, h. t.; 1 Chit. Cr. L. 20; 5 Vin. Ab. 427; 2 Phil. Ev. 253 2 Sell. Pr. 70; Bac. Ab. h. t.; Com. Dig. Justices of the Peace, B 79; Id. D 7; Id, Officer, E 2; Wille. Off. Const.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
In medieval law. The name given to a very high functionary under the French and English kings, the dignity and importance of whose office was only second to that of the monarch. He was in general the leader of the royal armies, and had cognizance of all matters pertaining to war and arms, exercising both civil and military jurisdiction. He was also charged with the conservation of the peace of the nation. Thus there was a "Constable of France" and a "Lord High Constable of England."

In English law. A public civil officer, whose proper and general duty is to keep the peace within his district, though he is frequently charged with additional duties. 1 BL Comm. 356.

High constables, in England, are officers appointed in every hundred or franchise, whose proper duty seems to be to keep the king's peace within their respective hundreds. 1 Bl. Comm. 356 ; 3 Steph. Comm. 47.

Petty constables are inferior officers in every town and parish, subordinate to the high constable of the hundred, whose principal duty is the preservation of the peace, though they also have other particular duties assigned to them by act of parliament, particularly the service of the summonses and the execution of the warrants of justices of the peace. 1 Bl. Comm. 356; 3 Steph. Comm. 47, 48.

Special constables are persons appointed (with or without their consent) by the magistrates to execute warrants on particular occasions, as in the case of note, etc.

In American law. An officer of a municipal corporation (usually elected) whose duties are similar to those of the sheriff, though his powers are less and his Jurisdiction smaller. He is to preserve the public peace, execute the process of magistrates' courts, and of some other tribunals, serve writs, attend the sessions of the criminal courts, have the custody of juries, and discharge other functions sometimes assigned, to him by the local law or by statute. Comm, v. Deacon, 8 Serg. & R. (Pat) 47; Leavitt v. Leavitt, 135 Mass. 191; Allor v. Wayne County, 43 Mich. 76, 4 N. W. 492.
See also
  • Constable of England
  • Constable of Scotland
  • Constable of a castle
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A peace officer who serves process in minor cases.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary