House passes bill to allow Tennessee constables to be armed

Friday, April 3, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 14

NASHVILLE (AP) - The state House has voted to allow constables in Tennessee to be armed if they are certified by the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission.

The chamber voted 92-1 on Thursday to approve the measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Timothy Hill of Blountville. The companion bill is awaiting a full floor vote.

Elected constables are an anachronism in urban Tennessee, but they still exist in rural areas where they mostly perform light law enforcement and serve court papers.

Tennessee's most famous constable was Buford Pusser, the inspiration of the "Walking Tall" movies, who was known for carrying a big stick.

Pusser was elected constable in 1962 and used the office to fight the illegal moonshine gangs along the Mississippi state line. He was later elected McNairy County sheriff.