This opinion piece published in the Oct. 15, 2020, edition of The Record.

President Donald Trump’s constant bombast has most everyone focused on national races. But Madison County has several local races on the ballot that don’t need to be overlooked. One is between incumbent Constable Tyler Morgan and his challenger, Wes Walters, for South Constable, an area in and around St. Paul. Morgan has been constable in that township for four years. 

Under Arkansas law, constables “shall be a conservator of the peace in his township and shall suppress all riots, affrays, fights, and unlawful assemblies, and shall keep the peace and cause offenders to be arrested and dealt with according to law.” By the way, an “affray” is a brawl. 

Under Act 841 of 2007, before arrests can be made, constables are required to complete training, including 120 hours of instruction in firearms, domestic violence and racial profiling. If a constable, which is an unpaid position, is not trained, he or she has limited authority. 

Madison County Sheriff Rick Evans offered his thoughts on the race.

Evans said, in the past, constables have had law enforcement experience, including former Captain of the MCSO Robert Boyd, who was the constable before Morgan. Morgan also has served as reserve deputy and has completed the 120 hours required to be certified to make arrests or issue citations. 

Walters does not have experience serving with the Madison County Sheriff’s office. Walters said that if he were elected, the training requirements could be completed “within a couple of months after being elected.” 

Evans said his office is “not responsible for the constables in any way, shape or form” and it’s rare for a Madison County constable to make an arrest. He said he doesn’t know much about the race. He’s seen signs for the candidates but “that’s about it.”

“I’ve known Tyler for a long time and I know nothing about this other guy,” Evans said. 

Evans described the way his office works with a constable. “Like Tyler down there, if we have something going on in St. Paul, someone is arguing and fighting and our deputies are tied up, we’d call Tyler and say go take care of that,” Evans said. 

Walters said if he were elected he would perform “routine patrols.” I wanted more clarification from him on what exactly he means by routine patrols. Here’s his statement: 

“I would like to be more active and keep a routine vehicle patrol in high incident areas to be more visible.  A couple of areas that have had issues that comes to mind would be the city park at St. Paul as well as the popular swimming holes along the river.”

Because I’ve never considered St. Paul park to be a high-crime area, I asked Walters what kind of incidents he was referring to that would warrant him patrolling that area. 

“I don’t know of any specifics but have heard that there has been some drinking or other illegal things going on periodically at this park as well as Japton Park,” he said. 

He also alleged hearing about four-wheelers tearing up ballfields. “Broken beer bottles and trash and people smoking marijuana etc.,” at local swimming holes warrant extra patrol, Walters said.

Morgan responded to the idea of “routine patrols,” by stating, “Anyone can drive around and ‘patrol’ but to be able to act to a situation such as an arrest, write a ticket, etc., the person would have to have the training required. Also the person would have to work in conjunction with the Madison County Sheriff’s office. A constable is a peacekeeper, and there are rules and laws that have to be followed to protect law enforcement and the public!”

Evans also said the rumors of his early retirement aren’t true and said that he never told anyone that he was retiring. He said he still has two years left on his term. “We’ll have to see what happens in two years.” 

Ellen Kreth is publisher of the Madison County Record and can be reached at