Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bye, Bye Sheriffs: Colorado Redefines the Police State


(In case you missed it, take a glance at South Carolina PolitiChick Sonya Sasser’s informative article about the immense powers held by local sheriffs.  Truly, they are the last line of defense between the people and the criminals, both from the streets and from the federal government.  They don’t answer to the state or federal government.  They answer to YOU…because you elect them.  As elected officials, they are under oath to protect the Constitution above all else.  Thus, if they think a federal law contradicts the Constitution, they are under no obligation to enforce it. )      
According to the book They Fired the First Shot, “Sheriffs across our nation are standing up against tyranny and are winning their battles without violence, without protests, without lawsuits. How? Because constitutional power is clear as to who holds the final authority in local areas. Not the President of the United States, not Congress, not the Supreme Court, but the local Sheriff holds the authority and he is fast becoming the hero of the people.”
The states and the feds are almost powerless against the Constitutional sheriff…and they know it.  That’s why they are now on the attack.
A new bill coming from Colorado, SB 13-013, passed on a nearly-party-line vote in the Democrat-controlled House and was signed into law recently by Governor John Hickenlooper.  The bill’s long title is “CONCERNING PEACE OFFICER AUTHORITY FOR CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE.”  The official summary reads, “The bill gives a special agent, uniform division officer, physical security technician, physical security specialist, or special officer of the United States secret service limited peace officer authority while working in Colorado.”
I readily confess that I am becoming increasingly paranoid of all realms of our government, but this is hardly a far-out conspiracy theory.  Without a doubt, this law essentially gives police powers and arrest authority to the executive branch of federal government (Secret Service) within the State.  In other words, it is shoving out the elected peace officers (the local sheriffs) who answer to the people and the Constitution and is replacing them with unelected Secret Service members who answer only to the federal government.
As if there was any doubt, the text of the bill reinforces it: The secret service agent acts in accordance with the rules and regulations of his or her employing agency.  A secret service agent is a person who is employed by the united states government, assigned to the united states secret service, empowered to effect an arrest with or without a warrant for violations of the united states code, and authorized to carry a firearm and use deadly force in the performance of his or her duties as a federal law enforcement officer.
Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said, “Often in laws like this they will give broad authority in one section, then later in another section they will have wording which appears to restrict the authority,” he explained. “Unlike the state’s law enforcement, the Secret Service would not have any jurisdictional concerns. Under this bill they can go anywhere in the state of Colorado regardless of jurisdiction.”
“This is absolutely insane,” Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, said. “In theory if a Secret Service agent is in a county where the sheriff has refused to enforce some of the recent unenforceable gun laws, the agent could arrest an individual if he believes the law has been broken.”
It is obvious that SB 13-013 was introduced in direct response to the hundreds of county sheriffs, including many in Colorado, who have justly stood up to the Washington bureaucrats and said they cannot enforce federal restrictions that would violate the Second Amendment.
But it gets worse.
Rep. Saine says she believes the bill is intended to be used as a foundation for later legislation that will surrender still greater control to federal officials.  “There’ve been so many explanations for the reasons they really need this bill passed. So what is it really?” “I believe it is intended to be used for setting up a framework so that at some other time they could expand it to possibly include being able to arrest a sheriff who is refusing to enforce unconstitutional laws. They would justify it by saying that since we’ve already given the Secret Service this ability, why not give them just one more?”
This has already happened…and is happening increasingly.
In the Texas state legislature, Dallas Democratic Representative Yvonne Davis introduced a measure similar to the Colorado law that would fire any law enforcement officer who disobeys state or federal orders.  The bill even calls for the removal of any law enforcement officer who just promises — either on paper or just verbally — not to enforce any federal gun control mandates that the federal government passes.
Coincidentally (or not so coincidentally), Connecticut, the state where the infamous Newtown school shooting occurred, voted in 2000 to eliminate county sheriffs as constitutional officers.  Among the provisions eliminated were the requirements to hold an election of sheriffs in each county every four years for four-year terms and the requirement that sheriffs submit a bond to the treasurer to ensure the faithful discharge of their duties.  Voters in Connecticut opted instead for a system of federal marshals who don’t bother to take an oath to uphold the Constitution; the marshals’ only loyalty is to those in upper echelons of power who appoint them, not the lowly “we the people” they are supposed to serve.
When you realize the power a local elected sheriff has, you quickly realize why there is a concerted effort to take away the position and change it into some kind of a yes-man governmental appointed fluff job.  After all, as Thomas Jefferson said, “Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.” The local sheriff’s job is to ensure the existence of that tempestuous sea of liberty, so, of course, liberals are doing everything to take that power away and instead ensure the calm of despotism.
Even as far back as the 1970s, when the threat to eliminate the sheriff was openly before California supervisors, Supervisor William Johnson of El Dorado County persuaded two California State representatives to join him in getting an initiative qualified for the California ballot which stated in print in the state’s Constitution that the sheriff must be an elective office. The proposition on the ballot passed easily and it was entered into California’s constitution.  At that time Supervisor Johnson declared that it “was an attempt to put a road block in the way” of the ‘change agents’.  It gave the people more time to find ways to protect themselves against the ‘change agents’ who were trying to eliminate the Constitutional sheriff.
Many states, including Montana, Ohio, Kentucky, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Utah, and New Mexico, are trying to protect the power of their sheriffs in much the same way, with many gun rights bills gaining momentum.  Will other states answer the bell and protect their sheriffs from the despotic, power-hungry agents who want to put them out of business?  It is essential that they do because what is so eerie about the Colorado bill is that the state is willingly transferring enormous power to the federal government.  Is this the new normal?
Welcome to the new police state, America. 

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