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Maricopa County constables risk lives serving eviction notices

Maricopa County constable eviction notice
Posted at 7:54 AM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 12:43:24-05

PHOENIX — It was already a risky job, and in some ways, it's getting even more dangerous.

Constables never know what they're about to face when they knock on someone's door to serve an eviction notice. We saw that first hand when we followed a Maricopa County constable.

These "door-knocks" may seem routine for Maricopa County Constable Darlene Martinez, but each encounter brings its own set of dangers.

"That's why when I come through the door, I always tell people who's in the house," explained Constable Martinez. "Are there any weapons? Anyone else in the house?"

It's a job so dangerous, so unpredictable, I was advised to wear a bulletproof vest, which I did for many of the door-knocks we went on.

Nick: You don't know what kind of situation you could be walking into, right?

Constable Martinez: Exactly, because just a week ago, another constable was doing my district and somebody was loading an AK-47 when they walked in. And his comments were, "This is going to be your last day."

Not far from our first stop of the day, it's a different story. Another constable called Constable Martinez for back-up after finding drugs and weapons inside a home where an eviction notice had just been served.

A short time later, police gave us the go-ahead to get closer, but we stayed a safe distance away. Constable Martinez feared there could be fentanyl inside and we were told a hazmat team was on the way.

"I don't think I've seen this many drugs in a long time," Constable Martinez tells us. "There were guns. Shotguns. Handguns. An AK-47 in the other room."

Constable Martinez says the tenants willingly left after getting served the eviction notice. She says they knew the police would be hot on their trail.

It was a peaceful ending to something that could have wound up ending very differently.

"It's a very dangerous situation. It's always a very dangerous situation. And we're always alone."