Kevin Field had no idea how exciting primary election night would be. He had run a tough race against an incumbent of nine years for the Republican nomination, and both had run write-in campaigns for the Democratic nod. It hadn’t been easy for the nineteen-year-old to convince voters he was serious about the job.
After eating dinner with his fellow candidates, he waited for the results to come in. When the winners were announced, the IUP freshman was both the Republican nominee and the top vote-getter in the Democratic contest. In November, he was elected constable of Spring Township, Centre County, near State College.
“I’m one of those people who never passes up an opportunity,” he said. “Being young doesn’t mean you can’t have a leadership role. As a constable, you’re highly integrated with the courts and justice system.”
A constable’s duties range from transporting criminals to serving legal papers such as court summons notices. In Centre County, some 99 percent of warrants for law enforcement are served by constables, according to Dan Hoffman, one of the county’s six district justices.
Hoffman currently gives warrants for Spring Township to constables from neighboring townships. Field has to complete 120 hours of training to become state certified. Once certified, bonded, and insured, he can approach district justices and request warrants anywhere in the state.
“Constables are freelancers—independent contractors,” Hoffman said. “They do business for the courts or for agencies such as mental health services or domestic relations.”
The six-year position, which has flexible hours, will help Field pay for college and graduate school. He will be paid for his duties as he performs them. Although it may bring in income, it can be dangerous work. Hoffman recalled a case elsewhere in the state in which two people were killed recently while serving a warrant.
Because of the dangers that come with the job, constables receive training in self-defense and the use of deadly weapons. They sometimes purchase used police cars or have specialized restraints put in their cars, Hoffman said.
Field said he doesn’t live in a high-crime area. “I’m going to be scared sometimes, but I’m going to be alert. I’m not going into it expecting something to happen, but I’ll be ready if it does.”
Since he is a full-time student, Field plans to work as a constable on the weekends, during holiday breaks, throughout the summer, and after classes are over for the day. “It’s only about an hour-and-a-half drive from Indiana,” he said.
Field is committed to his new position and is looking forward to beginning his duties. He feels confident he can juggle his work as a constable with his classes. During his first semester at IUP last fall, Field held a 4.0 GPA as a psychology major while campaigning for constable and pledging Sigma Chi fraternity. In April, he was inducted into a national honors fraternity, Phi Eta Sigma.
The campaigning began during his senior year at Bellefonte Area High School. He became interested in running for election after learning about the process in a government/economics class.
“The experience was a lot more than I thought it would be,” he said. Three other students from his high school also ran for election in open races, which means their offices were uncontested. Field had to campaign against someone who already held the position. When he started the race, he hadn’t known there was an incumbent.
After earning a bachelor’s degree, Field plans to get a master’s degree and work as a child psychologist. He’s fascinated by psychology and enjoys helping children. He’s already learning to relate to the younger set by teaching swimming lessons at the YMCA. He has also worked as a landscaper and in a nursing home, which he also enjoyed.
“You learn from everything you do,” he said.