Two constables were arrested for conducting security duties at the Mariner East pipeline in Chester County, yet they were hired and paid at no differently than the many others hired for local events according to the Commonwealth Constable Association.
Constables serve as peace officers and are usually compensated for their service from private individuals or entities. For example, a landlord who desires to evict a tenant submits a filling fee to court, which transmits an eviction fee to a constable. This process is legal according to the law and saves taxpayers money. Although the nature of their compensation is private, a constable is an elected public official and acts in the public interest. Other examples of constables protect citizens at public and private events such as walking around uniformed at a holiday parade or county fair.
The Mariner East pipeline case and how the constables were paid to protect the construction grounds is unusual. The case focuses on the fact that the constables accepted payment through a private “middle man,” however that is how constables have always been paid. The Supreme Court confirmed that constables are both executive branch public officials AND independent contractors. To accuse a constable of “selling his badge” when he/she is only navigating through a system he/she did not create, is offensive and interferes with constables dedicated to maintaining peace in Pennsylvania.