Around 2010 I became concerned about a small group of constables using their deputy constables to execute the majority of their official duties. This started to reflect poorly on us as a group, and soon there were rumblings about us being legislated out of existence, which eventually materialized as actual legislation.

I, along with a few other people started raising concerns about this. The battle that ensued was the likes of what I could not possibly have imagined. It ended up with me filing a defamation lawsuit against them, which I eventually lost. I paid for my lawsuit ENTIRELY out of my own pocket, whereas they did not. They paid for their portion of the lawsuit out of money intended to go to constable training and equipment. When the lawsuit was distilled down to one final defendant, who was sued personally, he still used constable money to finance his legal fees. They outspent me five to one, but I didn’t take any taxpayer money.

I can sum up the entire situation into one conversation which I recorded. It went something like this, with me saying: “You’re using your deputy constable to cover your court, while you’re working on stuff for the Arizona Constable Association.” His response: “So!”

Things have gotten much better now, and the constables as a whole are much more professional. We have a presiding constable, who runs a tight ship. We didn’t have a presiding constable at the time. He and I have spoken about this history, as he was not with us then. He would not have tolerated the shenanigans these guys were pulling back then.

At one point a small group of constables was using their terminals to investigate their “enemies”, including me. The FBI then investigated them, and soon we all lost access to these terminals. It took years to get this privilege back, but now, when we need to run things, we have to have a warrant secretary do it for us, and substantiate the purpose.

I will admit now, for the first time, that I went to the FBI, regarding this abuse of the public trust.

In a surprise move, they even kicked me out of the Arizona Constables Association (ACA), which I find humorous now. At the time it was tragic, with friends turning on me because they’d been told I was trying to do away with their cushy jobs. I was not, I just wanted them to work. At the time, a number of them had forgotten the meaning of public service. Most of these guys are gone, and I’ve shaken hands with the one constable who still remains.

In 2016, they fielded a candidate to run against me, even inviting him to an ACA training event, and introducing him to the ACA members. A board member of the ACA even went out and campaigned door-to-door against me. What made it so bad was that my children’s mother had taken her life in January of 2016; these guys knew that but didn’t care.

I would like to give a shout out to both Lester and Russell Pearce who went “downtown” with myself, and a retired constable, to meet with Steve Chuchri and Denny Barney (Denny was a County Supervisor at the time) to discuss our concerns regarding constables taking advantage of their deputies. Steve and Denny really got the ball rolling.

I guess the point here is, I stood up and said something when I saw a wrong, even at my own political peril, and it cost me dearly.

— Ed Malles