Probate Judge Rick Allision administered the oath of office to 28 area residents during a short ceremony Monday at his office. Allison said constables play an important role in the county.
“These men volunteer a lot of their time,” he said. “They do several things around the county to make a difference.”
Wayne Smith, the re-elected constable for Beat 31, said he ran for the office as a way to help the people in Thach.
“We’ve started a neighborhood watch group that is doing really good,” he said. “Thach is my community, and I’m happy to be able to do anything I can to help the folks who live there.”
Only about half the counties in Alabama still have constables. Leonard Wilson, who has been the constable of Beat 29 in the Macedonia community since 1986, said he feels the office could be utilized better in Walker County.
“In some counties, the constables serve civil papers,” he said. “Our constables do not do that, but I think it could save the taxpayers money if that were the case.”
Wilson, who has also served as the secretary/treasurer of the Alabama Constables Association for 20 years, said the position has become more about community service in recent years.
“I look at it as a community service,” he said. “During my time as constable, I have used it as a way to fight litter. I keep four miles near my house on Holly Grove Road clean.”
Constables in Alabama do have similar authority to sheriffs and deputies. Hugh Plyler, the constable for Beat 22 in Parrish, has worked closely with the Parrish Police Department since he first took office in 2005.
“I wanted to help Parrish police in any way that I could,” he said. “I offered to help direct traffic or ride around with a third-shift officer to keep them company.”
Since he first started assisting the Parrish PD, Plyler said he has had countless hours of training.
“I think we need more constables who are willing to work with law enforcement, but they need to be trained,” he said. “I’ve told a lot of the newly-elected constables that they need to stick to community service work until they can get the proper training.”
Constables who took office Monday included Terry Stripling (Beat 1), Tommy Cleghorn (Beat 3), Phillip Howard (Beat 5), Ronald Howton (Beat 6), Ronald Raines (Beat 7), Jeff Lockhart (Beat 8), Howard Anderson (Beat 9), Charles Harper (Beat 11), Douglas Lively (Beat 13), James Hicks (Beat 14), John Rhodes (Beat 16), Barry White (Beat 17), Jerald Watts (Beat 21), Hugh Plyler (Beat 22), A. Wade Franks (Beat 23), Howard Lee Morgan (Beat 24), David Grace (Beat 28), Leonard Wilson (Beat 29), Jimmy Harrison (Beat 30), Wayne Smith (Beat 31), Jeremy Chambers (Beat 32), James “Ott” Estes (Beat 33), Derane Ingle (Beat 34), Terry Pickett (Beat 37), Terry Roberts (Beat 38), Larry Myers (Beat 40), Jeff Nelson (Beat 44) and Randall Light (Beat 45).
Three other constables were elected in November but were not at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony. They were Norman Dunn (Beat 10), Allen D. Hinds (Beat 26) and Roger Whited (Beat 42).