At Town Meeting on March 2, 2004, voters approved the following article by Australian ballot:
ARTICLE 13: Will the Town vote to fill the office of Constable by appointment of the Selectboard rather than by election, in accordance with State statutes, Title 17 V.S.A. §2651a.
The vote was 358 in favor adn 197 opposed.
Excerpt from 2004 Town Report: Town Constable - The Selectboard is placing an article on the Warning concerning the appointment of the Constable. This is currently an elected position, but statute allows voters to delegate this responsibility to the Selectboard. The Board is anticipating the future transition of personnel in our traffic patrol program through the Sheriff's Department and would like to have the flexibility to continue to coordinate these two roles. The office of elected Constable, while largely ceremonial and outdated, comes with law enforcement authority under state law regardless of whether the person has any training. By changing to an appointed Constable, there is a requirement for state certification as a part-time police officer in order to exercise law enforcement authority, and the Selectboard would be able to conduct an appropriate selection process and background check. Current Constable John Southwick has recommended the change to an appointed office. By law, this article must be voted by Australian ballot.
The Constable's duties are outlined in VSA Title 24, Chapter 55, section 1936a as follows:
(a) Subsection (a) effective until July 1, 2010; see also subsection (a) below. A town may vote at a special or annual town meeting:
(1) to prohibit constables from exercising any law enforcement authority; or
(2) to prohibit constables from exercising any law enforcement authority without having successfully completed a course of training under chapter 151 of Title 20.
(a) Subsection (a) effective July 1, 2010; see also subsection (a) above. A town may vote at a special or annual town meeting to prohibit constables from exercising any law enforcement authority.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, constables may perform the following duties:
(1) the service of civil or criminal process, under 12 V.S.A. § 691;
(2) destruction of animals, in accordance with the provisions of 20 V.S.A., chapter 193;
(3) the killing of injured deer, under 10 V.S.A. § 4749;
(4) provision of assistance to the health officer in the discharge of the health officer's duties, under 18 V.S.A. § 617;
(5) service as a district court officer, under section 296 of this title;
(6) removal of disorderly people from town meeting, under 17 V.S.A. § 2659; and
(7) collection of taxes, when no tax collector is elected, as provided under section 1529 of this title.
(c) A constable who is not prohibited from exercising law enforcement authority under subsection (a) of this section may transport a person arrested by the constable for a violation of 23 V.S.A. § 1201 (DUI) to a police department outside the town for the purpose of DUI processing and may complete the processing if he or she has been certified by the Vermont criminal justice training council to do so.
(d) A municipal legislative body may vote to allow a constable elected or appointed in another municipality to exercise law enforcement authority in its municipality, provided that:
(1) the constable is not prohibited from exercising law enforcement authority under subsection (a) of this section;
(2) the constable has completed the training requirements for a full-time or part-time law enforcement officer under section 2358 of Title 20; and
(3) the exercise of law enforcement authority is conducted in accordance with policies and procedures adopted by the legislative body establishing the circumstances under which the authority may be exercised.
According to Title 12, chapter 25, § 691, "Sheriffs and constables may serve either civil or criminal process, anywhere within the state and returnable to any court."
Waitsfield Town Office
4144 Main Street
Waitsfield, VT 05673