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Constables, Marshals, and More

Forgotten Offices in Texas Law Enforcement

Lorie Rubenser and Gloria Priddy

Publication Year: 2011

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.

Published by: University of North Texas Press

Series: North Texas Crime and Criminal Justice Series


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pp. viii

We really want to thank all the officers who took their time in helping us with this book. We could not have completed this project without your help. Your insights into the profession bring the chapters to...

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Chapter 1 • Introduction

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pp. 1-9

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.1 Occasionally, a picture of a state trooper or sheriff ’s deputy will...

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Chapter 2 • Becoming a Texas Peace Officer

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pp. 11-16

In the state of Texas, all peace officers and reserves must hold a license through the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE). Created by the 59th Texas Legislature on September 1, 1965, TCLEOSE ensures peace officers across the state of Texas are able to meet the demands of a law enforcement...

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Chapter 3 • Legal Issues

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pp. 17-27

The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the legal bases of authority for Texas police agencies and individual Texas peace officers under Texas law. Although the Texas Constitution says little of relevance, there are thousands of pages of statutes and administrative regulations relevant to peace officers in general, or just to specific types of peace officers. This chapter will thus provide only a summary...

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Chapter 4 • Constables

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pp. 29-44

Constables are one of the many undervalued and understudied positions in American law enforcement. The position exists in various forms across the United States and in several countries. In England, for example, the constable is a position akin to the metropolitan patrol officer in America. Constables in the United States tend to be more specialized in their role and...

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Chapter 5 • Railroad Police

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pp. 47-57

The laying of the first train tracks in America began on July 4, 1828. By May of 1869, trains could run all the way from the east coast to the west coast.1 Today trains carry millions of people every year. Amtrak alone carried 28.7 million persons between October 2007 and September 2008. Amtrak is thus the largest passenger rail system in America...

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Chapter 6 • Racing Commission

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pp. 59-69

In addition to the royal connection, Greyhounds have the distinction of being the only breed of dog mentioned by name in the Bible.3 Proverbs 30:29–31 discusses a Greyhound as one of four things that are attractive when in motion. The other three are a lion, a goat, and a king.4 The idea of racing Greyhounds may thus relate to Biblical...

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Chapter 7 • Cattle Brand Inspectors

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pp. 71-78

An array of laws and rules developed around the branding of animals to ensure proper branding, use of different brands by different people, transfer of ownership for a branded animal, etc. Regulating and enforcing these laws now falls to the Cattle Brand Inspectors, licensed peace officers with expertise in...

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Chapter 8 • University Police

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pp. 81-92

College campuses are supposed to be places where people go to learn new things and explore their futures. Parents sending a child to college for the first time tend to be reasonably concerned about their child’s safety. The college student may also have concerns for their safety. This is where campus police can play a major...

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Chapter 9 • Fire Marshal

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pp. 95-101

Fire can leave significant damage in its wake, including property damage, environmental devastation, and even death. There are many causes of fires including accidents, weather-related causes like lightning, faulty wiring, etc. When a fire is set deliberately or occurs due to negligence, police treat it as a crime of arson. Arson is the second leading cause of death...

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Chapter 10 • City Marshal

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pp. 103-109

The city marshal position is one of the oldest forms of paid municipal police service in the United States. This position was traditionally the only law enforcement within the city and was thus directly responsive to the needs of the city. Other law enforcement belonged to the county or territory and only occasionally helped in the...

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Chapter 11 • Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission

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pp. 111-120

Brewing beer and making hard alcohol has occurred in this country from almost the moment of European settlement. Each industry has followed its own path of development, followed closely by attempts to control almost all aspects. Government control focuses mostly on taxation and regulation of...

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Chapter 12 • Bailiffs

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pp. 123-129

Under normal circumstances, the general public may never have a reason to encounter a bailiff. Only persons with business in a courthouse will encounter the bailiff, specifically potential jurors and other persons involved in a court case. Even these people, however, may not fully understand the functions of the bailiff or know that the bailiff is a licensed peace...

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Chapter 13 • Game Wardens

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pp. 131-137

Many Criminal Justice students aspire to the position of Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer, or Game Warden. The idea of working outdoors in a natural environment, protecting animals, and working with hunters and ranchers seems very appealing. Many students, however, do not fully understand the duties that will fall on them should they attain this...

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Chapter 14 • District Attorney/County Attorney Investigators

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pp. 139-146

Across the state of Texas, there are varieties of specialized investigator positions held by licensed peace officers. Many positions are so specialized that only one or two persons in the state hold them. Some special positions appear to hold authorization by statute and yet are not used anywhere. Death Investigators appear to fit this description. Texas state law authorizes their employment by coroners or...

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Chapter 15 • Conclusion

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pp. 147-148

If readers have learned nothing else from this book, they should now know a lot more about the massive variety of law enforcement positions available in the state of Texas. Texas may in fact have more variety in law enforcement than any other state. Positions like investigators with the Texas Racing Commission demonstrate this variety. Only six such agencies exist...


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pp. 149-174


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pp. 175-179


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pp. 180-190

E-ISBN-13: 9781574414455
Print-ISBN-13: 9781574413212

Page Count: 204
Illustrations: 11 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: North Texas Crime and Criminal Justice Series