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Secret Service Officer and Township Constable and/or Municipal Police Officer May Be Incompatible Positions

On January 11, 2023, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has issued a formal opinion to Hardin County Prosecuting Attorney Bradford W. Bailey concluding that a person cannot simultaneously serve as a secret service officer and either a township constable or a municipal police officer with a special commission within the same county when the person lacks an ability to abstain.

The opinion also holds that the warrantless-arrest authority of township constables is limited and is not the same as their warrant-arrest authority, a township constable may execute an arrest warrant throughout the county in which the served township sits, any arrest conducted by an individual serving as a secret service officer and township constable must occur while the person is acting as a constable and a county prosecutor cannot provide that a township incurs no liability for any unlawful acts done by a person who serves as both, and the ultimate determination as to the prosecutor’s liability is left to the courts. Additionally, the opinion states that a board of county commissioners has no authority to use the general fund to pay for the liability insurance for a person who serves as both. The entity that assumes liability for any unlawful acts is the entity for which the person is working at the moment when the unlawful act occurs.

To read 2023 Ohio Atty.Gen.Ops. No. 2023-001, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.


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