Constable, * 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 may 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.

* From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, 1856 Edition. Please see Bouvier's Legal Abbreviations & Abbreviated References for help with obscure nomenclature & references.

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