Origin of Constables in Texas

Constable 6 Uniform 1992-2012

On March 5, 1823, John Jackson Tumlinson Sr., the first alcalde of the Colorado district of the Old 300 of Stephen Fuller Austin's colony, is considered by many Texas Ranger historians to be the first Texas Ranger killed in the line of duty. He wrote to the Baron de Bastrop in San Antonio that he had appointed but one officer who acts in the capacity of constable to summon witnesses and bring offenders to justice. That appointee, Thomas V. Alley, thus became the first Anglo law enforcement officer in the future Republic and State of Texas.

The Constitution of the Republic of Texas (1836) provided for the election in each country of a sheriff and a sufficient number of constables. During the 10 years of the republic's existence, 38 constables were elected in 12 counties.

Shortly after Texas became a State, an act passed by the legislature specified that the constable should be the conservator of the peace throughout the country.

The Texas constable is provided for in the Texas Constitution of 1876 (Article 5, Section 19). In Texas, constables and their deputies are fully empowered peace officers with countywide jurisdiction, and thus may legally exercise their authority in any precinct within their county.