TITLE 10

Courts and Judicial Procedure

Court Officers and Employees

CHAPTER 27. CONSTABLES


(a) The Board of Examiners of Constables shall appoint and commission such numbers of constables as it deems necessary, from among those persons who have made application, to preserve the peace and good order of the State.

(b) Upon expiration of a constable's term of office, the constable may request to the Board of Examiners that the commission as a constable be renewed. Approval for renewal shall be within the discretion of the Board of Examiners, and may be approved by it following such review.

(c) The Delaware Capitol Police may appoint security officers.

(d) The Delaware Capitol Police shall promulgate rules and regulations governing the qualifications and appointments of security officers with final approval of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

Code 1852, §§ 618-621; 11 Del. Laws, c. 194; 11 Del. Laws, c. 215; 11 Del. Laws, c. 365; 11 Del. Laws, c. 405; 11 Del. Laws, c. 591; 12 Del. Laws, c. 29; 12 Del. Laws, c. 42; 13 Del. Laws, c. 404; 14 Del. Laws, c. 26, § 1; 15 Del. Laws, c. 25; 16 Del. Laws, c. 333; 17 Del. Laws, c. 40, § 1; 17 Del. Laws, c. 41; 18 Del. Laws, c. 478, § 1; 20 Del. Laws, c. 404, § 1; 21 Del. Laws, c. 22, § 10; 21 Del. Laws, c. 205, §§ 1, 2; 22 Del. Laws, c. 54, § 10; 22 Del. Laws, c. 295, § 1; 24 Del. Laws, c. 95, § 1; Code 1915, §§ 1397-1400, 1400A, 1400B; 29 Del. Laws, c. 83, § 1; 29 Del. Laws, c. 84, § 1; 30 Del. Laws, c. 88, § 1; 32 Del. Laws, c. 81, § 1; 33 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 1; 36 Del. Laws, c. 124, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 138, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1565-1567; 10 Del. C. 1953, §§ 2701-2705; 49 Del. Laws, c. 233; 49 Del. Laws, c. 239; 53 Del. Laws, c. 295; 54 Del. Laws, c. 15, §§ 1, 2; 54 Del. Laws, c. 36; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 32Q; 64 Del. Laws, c. 72, § 1; 65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 351, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 75 Del. Laws, c. 322, § 6[5].;

(a) The Board of Examiners shall consist of 5 individuals: The Superintendent of the Delaware State Police or the Superintendent's designee; the Director of Public Safety of the New Castle County Police or the Director's designee; the Attorney General or the Attorney General's designee; a representative from the Chiefs of Police Council; and a representative from the American Society of Industrial Security.

(b) The Board of Examiners shall be responsible for reviewing applications for constables, and shall satisfy itself that the applicants meet all the established requirements. The Board of Examiners shall be responsible for establishing such other general qualifications of applicants as the Board deems necessary. The Board of Examiners may conduct such further inquiry and investigation as it deems proper in order to satisfy itself of the good character, competency and integrity of the applicants.

(c) The Board of Examiners shall conduct an examination of an applicant's criminal history. A conviction for a felony in Delaware or elsewhere is an automatic grounds for disapproval of an application. The Board of Examiners shall review any misdemeanor convictions, and the Board may, in its discretion, disapprove of an application on the basis of such misdemeanor convictions.

(d) The Board of Examiners may establish a reasonable application fee.

(e) After the review process is completed, the Board of Examiners shall appoint and commission those applicants who have, as determined by the Board of Examiners, satisfied the requirements of this chapter and who are otherwise qualified to serve as constables.

65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 351, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) A constable must be 21 years of age or older.

(b) To be approved by the Board of Examiners, a constable applicant shall meet the minimum standards established by the Board and shall participate in such other training as the Board requires.

(c) The Board of Examiners may require commissioned constables to receive such additional training or education as it deems necessary.

(d) Constables appointed before the effective date of this law shall, during the remainder of their term, meet all requirements related to firearms training, as set forth in subsection (e) of this section, and all requirements related to additional training as set forth in subsection (c) of this section. In order for such a constable to be eligible for renewal of commission, the constable must meet the requirements set forth in subsection (b) of this section.

(e) After appointment, the Board of Examiners shall determine, based on the constable's duties and employment, whether a constable shall be permitted to carry firearms while on duty as a constable. The Board of Examiners shall establish standards and requirements of firearms training and training in the use of deadly force for those constables permitted by the Board to carry firearms while on duty. Any constable not so trained is prohibited from carrying a firearm while on duty.

(f) No constable shall be appointed for the benefit of any person, firm, corporation, civic association or governmental entity except upon a showing to the Board of Examiners that the proposed appointment will be in aid and relief of public law-enforcement or police agencies and is necessary to protect life and property in circumstances where public law-enforcement or police agencies are unable to assist.

(g) No person shall be commissioned as a constable unless that person submits, to the State Bureau of Identification, their name, Social Security number, age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color, address of legal residence and the provision of such other information as may be necessary to obtain a report of the person's entire criminal history record from the State Bureau of Identification and a report of the person's entire federal criminal history pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation appropriation of Title II of Public Law 92-544.

(h) No sheriff or deputy sheriff shall be commissioned as a constable for the benefit of the sheriff's office or the government of a county unless a request has been made by resolution of the appropriate county council or Levy Court for such sheriff or deputy sheriff to be commissioned as a constable.

65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 351, §§ 3, 4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 372, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 139, § 1; 78 Del. Laws, c. 266, § 23.;

(a) The term of office for constables shall be 1 year. Those constables appointed prior to July 13, 1990, shall have their commissions reviewed by the Board of Examiners within 1 year of July 13, 1990, and after review may be discharged by the Board for cause prior to the expiration of their term. A constable, including one appointed before July 13, 1990, may be discharged by the Board for cause prior to the expiration of the term. The Board of Examiners shall establish procedures for notification to the appropriate persons and authorities of its discharge of a constable. For the purposes of this section, "cause" shall mean:

(1) Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;

(2) Conviction of a felony;

(3) A finding by the Board that an individual used fraud or deceit in obtaining a constable's commission; or

(4) Gross negligence or incompetence in performing a constable's duties.

(b) It shall be the duty of the constable to notify the Board of Examiners immediately if the constable's employment with the individual, firm, corporation, civic association or governmental entity at whose instance the constable was appointed is terminated. It shall also be the duty of the individual, firm, corporation, civic association or governmental entity to notify the Board of Examiners immediately if a constable in their employ is terminated, and such individual performed duties as a constable during and as part of the employment.

Code 1852, § 623; Code 1915, § 1408; 33 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 138, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1565, 1567, 1575; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 2710; 50 Del. Laws, c. 36, § 1; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 32S; 65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 351, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) The term of office for constables shall be 2 years. Those constables appointed prior to July 13, 1990, shall have their commissions reviewed by the Board of Examiners within 1 year of July 13, 1990, and after review may be discharged by the Board for cause prior to the expiration of their term. A constable, including one appointed before July 13, 1990, may be discharged by the Board for cause prior to the expiration of the term. The Board of Examiners shall establish procedures for notification to the appropriate persons and authorities of its discharge of a constable. For the purposes of this section, "cause" shall mean:

(1) Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;

(2) Conviction of a felony;

(3) A finding by the Board that an individual used fraud or deceit in obtaining a constable's commission; or

(4) Gross negligence or incompetence in performing a constable's duties.

(b) It shall be the duty of the constable to notify the Board of Examiners immediately if the constable's employment with the individual, firm, corporation, civic association or governmental entity at whose instance the constable was appointed is terminated. It shall also be the duty of the individual, firm, corporation, civic association or governmental entity to notify the Board of Examiners immediately if a constable in their employ is terminated, and such individual performed duties as a constable during and as part of the employment.

Code 1852, § 623; Code 1915, § 1408; 33 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 1; 40 Del. Laws, c. 138, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1565, 1567, 1575; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 2710; 50 Del. Laws, c. 36, § 1; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 32S; 65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 351, § 5; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 79 Del. Laws, c. 370, § 1.;

The constable shall:

(1) Protect life and property, and preserve peace and good order, while in the performance of the lawful duties of the employment;

(2) Exercise the same powers as peace officers and law-enforcement officers, in order to protect life and property, while in the performance of the lawful duties of the employment;

(3) Execute all lawful orders, warrants and other process directed to the constable by any court or judge of this State; however, a constable shall only have such power and duty if the Board of Examiners, upon review, determine that the constable may exercise such duty or power;

(4) As part of duty, and in the exercise of the constable's lawful authority, notify the full service police agency which has primary law-enforcement jurisdiction in every instance in which the constable makes a custodial detention, an arrest, a search of a person or place, or when the occurrence of a criminal act is reported to the constable. It shall be the responsibility of the full service police agency to undertake any necessary investigation and to comply with the reporting demands of the State Bureau of Identification.

For purposes of this paragraph, "full service police agency" shall mean a police force or other law-enforcement agency of the State, county or municipality which is responsible for the prevention and detection of crime and the enforcement of the laws of this State and its governmental units.

Code 1852, § 630; 12 Del. Laws, c. 86; 15 Del. Laws, c. 443; Code 1915, §§ 1398, 1412; 33 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 3; Code 1935, §§ 1565, 1579; 10 Del. C. 1953, §§ 2723, 2724; 65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 351, § 6; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Except as otherwise provided by law or limited by the Board of Examiners, the jurisdiction of each constable appointed pursuant to this chapter will extend throughout the State.

Code 1852, § 630; 12 Del. Laws, c. 86; Code 1915, §§ 1398A, 1412; 33 Del. Laws, c. 89, § 3; 35 Del. Laws, c. 78, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 1565, 1579; 10 Del. C. 1953, §§ 2721, 2722; 55 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 32Q; 65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1.;

Upon appointment, the Board of Examiners shall issue to each constable a commission and the constable so appointed shall, before acting or performing duties as a constable, take and subscribe, before any officer authorized by the laws of this State to administer oaths, the oaths or affirmation prescribed by article XIV of the Constitution of Delaware.

65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 351, § 7.;

The compensation of every constable shall be wholly paid by the individual, firm, corporation or civic association at whose instance the constable was appointed, unless the constable is employed by a governmental entity, in which case that governmental entity will be responsible for the constable's compensation.

65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Every person holding the office of constable shall have and display on proper demand a badge, approved by the Board of Examiners, with the word "constable" engraved thereon. A constable shall have and display such badge only while on duty and while in the performance of the lawful duties of employment. The name of the person, firm, corporation, civic association or governmental entity at whose instance the constable was appointed shall be plainly inscribed on such badge.

(b) Whoever violates this section shall be fined not more than $100. The justices of the peace of the respective counties shall have jurisdiction of offenses under this section. A constable found violating this section shall notify the Board of Examiners in writing within 10 days. The Board of Examiners shall review the violation and determine whether the constable should be discharged. A failure to notify the Board of Examiners of a violation within 20 days shall be sufficient ground to revoke constable status.

22 Del. Laws, c. 78, §§ 1, 2; Code 1915, § 1417; Code 1935, § 1583; 10 Del. C. 1953, § 2727; 65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

Constables appointed pursuant to this chapter or any other chapter are not covered by the provisions of Chapter 92 of Title 11, Law-Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights.

65 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1.;