East Tennessee Constables will gather at Carter County Rescue Squad for annual training

Published 8:10 am Tuesday, March 12, 2019

With a task as monumental to society as law enforcement, a monumental amount of training and preparedness often precedes it, as well.

Carter County Constables have been participating in annual training sessions since the law requiring their availability passed in 2015.

Constable Kenneth Potter said this year’s training will be the week of April 8.

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“Constables are considered law-enforcing officers,” Potter said. “Oftentimes, they are the first officers on the scene.”

Though they do not receive a full salary and they have to bring their own supplies and vehicles, he said constables often perform the same activities as full-time officers, and thus they need the training to handle those situations accordingly.

“Law Enforcement has been required to go through training since 1982, and we thought constables should do the same thing,” Potter said.

Constables Harvey Shaffer and Kent Harris said Carter and its neighbor Sullivan County have the largest number of constables in the state, with 16 and 24, respectively.

“A lot of constables are retired sheriffs or officers,” Shaffer said.

The training constables go through includes a wide variety of topics they spread out over the course of six days, including data collection procedures, crime prevention and community relations and child and/or sexual abuse situations, among others. On Saturday, constables will go to the shooting range and receive certification for every weapon they carry.

“Most of these topics they might not use,” Potter said. “The knowledge, however, is useful to help the others who arrive at a scene later.”

While they might not have the same social status as full-time officers, the community does vote them in democratically, and Potter said the camaraderie he found with his fellow constables was something he did not expect.

“I never thought I would be doing something like this,” he said. “The more I got to know them, I realized they are the finest people in law enforcement. These are men of quality.”

The training is open to any constable who wishes to participate, and they can register to attend by contacting Potter either by phone at 423-341-1709 or by email at kpotter641@yahoo.com.

The training will take place at the Carter County Rescue Squad at 105 Iodent Way, from 5:30 to around 10 p.m.