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Kentucky’s constables are gods unto themselves, armed with badges and guns but almost always with little or no formal training. And their actions have grave consequences.

In Clark County, Constable Pleads Guilty To Drug Trafficking

Blue light flasher atop of a police car. City lights on the background.
Getty Images/iStockphoto
Blue light flasher atop of a police car. City lights on the background.

A constable in Clark County made headlines last week following his guilty plea on drug trafficking charges.

Glen Witt, 52, confessed in court to selling oxycodone pills, according to the Winchester Sun newspaper. Witt was arrested last summer by the Clark County Sheriff's office following an undercover drug bust, the paper reported.

The sheriff noted that his office had received tips and heard rumors of Witt dealing drugs, according to the Sun. Witt served as a constable since 2007 and had yet to resign from the elected office as of Friday.

He is the latest constable to land on the wrong side of the law. In June, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and Wave-3 News examined county constable misconduct in the "Untrained and Unaccountable" series.

The reports detailed lax oversight of constables, who are armed with badges and guns but almost always with little or no training. Several law enforcement experts, as well as former State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer, questioned the merits of the elected office.

Kentucky is one of 17 states that elect constables. Some states require training for constables. Others limit their authority to serving court papers.
In the wake of the series, Lexington officials are considering reining in the law enforcement powers of the county’s constable.

And last week, State Rep. Adam Koenig of northern Kentucky proposed amending the state constitution to allow counties to abolish the office altogether.

If enacted by the legislature, the bill would require a statewide vote. Koenig has proposed the same legislation several times previously, but his efforts have gone nowhere. Asked about the bill's prospects this year, Koenig said, "I still think it's a long shot." But he also said more legislators are telling him that "they can vote for it."


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