Constables are among the earliest recorded police officers in world history. The term “COP” was created for the “constable on patrol” in 1066 England under King William. The first law enforcement was brought to the New World with the formation of the original 13 English colonies, easily survived the Revolution, and continues to this day, pretty much intact, in all 50 states of the Union.
As populations grew, the powers of the constable were also given to the tax collector and the shire reef or “sheriff” in order to assist the constable. Eventually more law enforcement assistance was needed, so police officers were given a portion of the powers of the constable. Today, the constable still holds these extra powers of enforcement.
The Texas Constable
The Texas constable is a member of an elite corps of cowboy-lawmen organized in 1823 by Stephen F. Austin, replacing the Spanish-style military policing organization, thereby predating even the Texas Rangers. Today, constables are unique, elected individuals commissioned by the governor of the State of Texas who boast a proud heritage in statewide civil and criminal law enforcement authority.