Constables, Marshals, and More: Forgotten Offices in Texas Law Enforcement

Constables, Marshals, and More: Forgotten Offices in Texas Law Enforcement

Constables, Marshals, and More: Forgotten Offices in Texas Law Enforcement

Constables, Marshals, and More: Forgotten Offices in Texas Law Enforcement


Most students of criminal Justice, and the general public as well, think of policing along the three basic types of municipal, sheriff, and state police. Little is known about other-avenues of police work, such as the constable. In policing textbooks, when a position such as constable is mentioned, only a line or two is presented, hardly enough to indicate it is of any importance. And yet constables and numerous other alternative policing positions are of vital importance to law enforcement in Texas and in other states. Constables, Marshals, and More seeks to remedy that imbalance in the literature on policing by starting with the state of Texas, home of more than 68,000 registered peace officers. Lorie Rubenser and Gloria Priddy first lay the groundwork for how to become a peace officer. A guest chapter by Raymond Kessler discusses legal issues in alternative police work. Rubenser and Priddy then examine the oft-overlooked offices of constable, railroad police, racing commission, cattle brand inspector, university police, fire marshal, city marshal, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, bailiff, game warden, and district/county attorney investigators. This book will be useful for any general policing courses at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. It will provide more in-depth analysis of these lesser known law enforcement positions and will spur student interest in employment in these areas.


Ask people to describe what they think of when someone mentions police and the answer will be remarkably similar from one person to another. Largely, people will picture a white male who works for a city police department and drives quickly through the city in a marked patrol car. Occasionally, a picture of a state trooper or sheriff ’s deputy will emerge.

Most textbooks dealing with policing in general, or in a specific place in America, also deal only with the three basic types of police: municipal, sheriffs and state police. Federal law enforcement may also receive some level of attention. Entire chapters of policing books are devoted to special units and functions. Even a thorough review may lead the student to feel that their future in policing will take place in only these areas. Where a position such as constable appears, often there is only a line or two of information provided, hardly enough information to indicate the position is of any importance. Criminal Justice students will not seek jobs they do not know about and perhaps some will even turn away from policing because they are not aware of jobs that would suit them.

Much of the problem of coverage for various law enforcement positions relates to the big city focus of research. Very few researchers spend time exploring small or rural policing agencies. the reasons for this focus are obvious. Most researchers are from universities or the federal government. Geographically, they are more likely to be located in urban areas near the large police departments. Additionally, large municipal departments offer a greater variety of subjects to study. Large departments have more personnel, more contacts with the public, and more organizational units: three common areas of study.

Research on a large sample is traditionally considered more reliable and . . .

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