History of the
Orange County Marshal's Department

The Orange County Marshal’s Department traces its history back to 1889, when Orange County was formed from the southern portion of Los Angeles County. When the townships of Santa Ana and San Juan were formed, Constables were elected to assist the with the day-to-day business of the Justice Courts and the Justice’s of the Peace.

Edward Webber was elected as Constable for the Santa Ana Township; W.R. Fisk was the elected Constable for the San Juan Township. In 1890, additional townships were added in Westminster, Orange and Tustin, and three additional constables were appointed. Constables were governed by direction of the Civil Code and Code of Civil Procedure. In larger townships, the work of the Constable is similar to that of the Sheriff.

The Constable is the ministerial officer of the Justice Court. Constable’s jurisdiction and service of civil process is limited only by the county boundaries. Constable’s duties include: serving civil executions, attachments, summons, claim and deliveries, and in addition, when so directed, conducts sales of personal property, or real property to satisfy judgements.

The Constable’s criminal jurisdiction closely parallels that of the Sheriff. The Constable is charged with the duties of preserving the peace; preventing and suppressing riots; investigating public offenses which have been committed within the township and obeying all lawful orders and directions of all courts held within the jurisdiction. It is the Constable’s duty to handle all prisoners for the Justice Court and act as a Bailiff during court session. A Constable’s term of office is six-years.

By 1943, eleven Constables and corresponding Justice Courts existed in the eleven townships of Orange County. These eleven courts existed until January 1, 1953 when Santa Ana, Orange, and Tustin Justice Courts were combined to create the Santa Ana-Orange Municipal Court. The Anaheim, Fullerton and Brea Townships were also consolidated to create the North Municipal Court District. The remaining Justice Courts were consolidated to leave three courts with three Constables. This new Municipal Court system was authorized under the Municipal Court Act of 1952, Proposition #3. Their opening day of business was January 5, 1953.

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