Peace officers in the state of Kentucky (general):

The sheriff and three other elected county officials--coroners, jailers and constables--are peace officers, possessing law enforcement powers (KRS 446.010). These powers include a broad grant of authority to make arrests. Under the authority of KRS 431.005, any peace officer may make an arrest:

(a) In obedience to a warrant;

(b) Without a warrant when a felony is committed in his presence;

(c) Without a warrant when he has probable cause to believe the person arrested has committed a felony;

(d) Without a warrant when a misdemeanor, as defined in KRS 431.060, has been committed in his presence; or

(e) Without a warrant when harassment, criminal trespass in the 3rd degree and certain traffic violations are committed in his presence, or if he has probable cause to believe that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol or any other substance which may impair his driving ability.

Where a misdemeanor has been committed in an officer’s presence, he may issue a citation instead of making an arrest, if he has reasonable grounds to believe the person cited will appear in court (KRS 431.015). Citations may be issued in lieu of a physical arrest for violations committed in the presence of an officer. The officer may make a physical arrest for a violation committed in his presence if he has reasonable grounds to believe the defendant will not appear at the required time or if the violation is one of the several set out above from KRS 431.005(1)(e). If the defendant does not appear, a warrant for his arrest may be issued (KRS 431.015).

Offenses are either violations, misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the nature and length of punishment that may be prescribed. These terms are defined in KRS 431.060.

In addition to the instances cited above, certain peace officers, including sheriffs and fulltime paid deputy sheriffs, may make warrantless arrests in some narrowly defined cases of domestic abuse (KRS 431.005(2)).

When in actual pursuit of a law violator, a peace officer may cross corporate or county lines for the purpose of making an arrest (KRS 431.045).

In actual practice, powers of arrest are exercised only by the sheriff and constable. Jailers and coroners rarely make arrests. The law specifically authorizes sheriffs and constables to carry concealed deadly weapons when necessary for their protection in discharging their duties (KRS 527.020).

Specific statutory duties devolve upon all peace officers. All peace officers must seize untaxed cigarettes and notify the state commissioner of revenue that they have done so (KRS 138.165). Peace officers and deputy sheriffs must enforce all controlled substances laws (KRS 113 218A.240) and must arrest and return any children who have escaped from a reform institution (KRS 440.060).

Upon request from the Kentucky Board of Agriculture, a peace officer must aid in destroying diseased livestock (KRS 246.210). Any Kentucky peace officer may destroy a suffering, abandoned, or diseased animal (KRS 257.100). He must also impound unlicensed dogs (KRS 285.215). A peace officer may order funds derived from the sale of an animal of questionable ownership held until ownership is established (KRS 253.070).

Peace officers must enforce all truck weight limit and size laws (KRS 189.223). They must seize any automobile transporting alcoholic beverages in dry territory and make all necessary arrests (KRS 242.360). Peace officers must serve any subpoena issued by the state parole board (KRS 439.390). On being informed or having reason to believe that an unlawful professional prize fight or wrestling match is about to take place, peace officers must prevent the match (KRS 229.240).

All peace officers must cooperate with the Justice Cabinet in the fingerprinting and identification of prisoners (KRS 17.115). A peace officer may arrest without a warrant any military personnel in his jurisdiction who has violated the military code of justice25 (KRS 35.035).