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Fiscal court approves lights for constables’ vehicles

Clark County’s constables may soon be allowed to use emergency lights on their vehicles.

The Clark County Fiscal Court approved the first reading of an ordinance March 26 granting that permissions.

County constables are elected officials with full police authority, but are not required to complete the police academy like other police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

The vote came during a regular meeting of the fiscal court, though the magistrates and other officials in attendance were spread throughout the room for social distancing to meet with recommendations to stay six feet apart.

There was a motion to adjourn the meeting after voting on the bills and transfers, but it was voted down.

“Furthermore, because of the coronavirus pandemic, I would move we only consider (the bills and transfers) and adjourn immediately thereafter,” Magistrate Robert Blanton said. “That is the only pressing business that we have.”

The majority thought otherwise, and the motion was defeated 5-2. Magistrate Travis Thompson voted with Blanton.

“My thought, Judge, it we’re here to conduct county business,” Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos said. “We’re here already. We might as well take care of the other items on the agenda.”

The meeting was streamed live over Judge-Executive Chris Pace’s Facebook page.

Konstantopoulos spoke in favor of the constables using emergency lights on their vehicles, and said it would only be for certain circumstances.

“We’re giving limited emergency equipment,” Konstantopoulos said, primarily for traffic control or assisting motorists. He also said constables would not be answering calls.

Clark County Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr., who was at the meeting, said he had no opinion on the matter.

“…I don’t have a dog in the fight,” he said.

Blanton said he was concerned about the situation in the wake of a shooting in Pulaski County which involved constables.

Magistrate Travis Thompson had questions about the language in the ordinance, and said he would discuss his concerns with Clark County Attorney William Elkins. The language in ordinances can be changed between the first and second readings.

The matter was approved 5-2, with Blanton and Thompson voting no.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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