Constable services: Uphold the law while following the law

In June, a legislative attorney issued an opinion holding that Nevada law doesn’t authorize constables – peace officers charged with serving subpoenas, handling evictions and delivering certain jury summonses – to operate beyond the borders of the townships in which they were elected.

Las Vegas Constable John Bonaventura had complained that some other Clark County constables – there are 11, in all – were boosting their revenue by carrying out duties in his jurisdiction.

At least two local constables responded to the opinion with open defiance. North Las Vegas Constable Herb Brown called it “a bunch of crap.”

Last week, however, a District Court judge sided with the Legislative Counsel Bureau, holding that constables cannot serve papers outside the townships they represent. “In looking at this statute, the plain meaning could not be more clear,” wrote Judge Ron Israel. “Constables are only peace officers in their township.”

This is simply common sense. Otherwise, why delineate townships in which constables must run for office in the first place?

In response to Judge Israel’s ruling, Constable Jordan Ross of Laughlin said he and others would appeal. “I brought a better quality of service to Las Vegas Township,” he said, “and I’m not sorry about that.”

Perhaps, but that’s not the point. Constables need to obey the law, not creatively interpret it. If Mr. Ross and others feel there are improvements that can be made in the system to more efficiently serve the public, they need to take their arguments to the Legislature rather than unilaterally impose their own rules, absent oversight.


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