Sheriffs Have Discretion, Too, and It’s Going Viral

 

If you elect a sheriff, they get to play the independent mandate “I’m a check against tyranny” card like every other elected government officeholder. And some are (from the Greenwich Times):

In Snohomish County, Washington, Sheriff Adam Fortney is refusing to enforce the governor’s stay-at-home order. He claims the order “intrudes on our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” On April 22, he told constituents via a Facebook post that “along with other elected Sheriffs around our state, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing an order preventing religious freedoms or constitutional rights.”

These Washington sheriffs are far from alone. They’re part of a nationwide group of sheriffs who feel beholden to no one but their voters. As they have on issues such as immigration and gun regulations, they will lead rebellions against higher levels of government – in this case, undermining public health efforts in the name of their interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Here’s how.

The piece tends toward deploring this development, but that just makes the news all the more delicious.

Published in Policing
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  1. Brian Watt Member
    Brian Watt
    @BrianWatt

    Gives new meaning to the childhood saying…that governors “aren’t the sheriff of everybody”…when, unlike some of the governors, there are sheriffs willing to uphold the Bill of Rights.

    • #1
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    We who live in Snohomish County (home of the big Boeing plant, and myself and Ray) cheer our Sheriff.

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Sanity speaks out, for a change. Thanks for the news, Sisyphus.

    • #3
  4. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Sheriffs in upstate New York already were in revolt against Andrew Cuomo over his 2012 gun law following the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut, and law enforcement in Houston has say they’re not going all draconian on local residents who refuse to comply with Harris County’s new mandatory mask order, while norther Michigan sheriffs have balked at enforcing Gretchen Whitmer’s hardcore restrictions.

    So there are lots of cases of law enforcement looking at items pushed by progressive politicians and deciding that they are Constitutional violations and won’t be enforced, and for the most part up until now, the progressive pols haven’t opted to take the next step, and try to remove top law enforcement people from their positions because they refuse to bow to their orders. But as we’ve seen in some of the larger cities like Los Angeles, you can always find law enforcement people who are ambitious enough to rise through the bureaucracy that they’re willing to carry out or even initiate orders of questionable legality, so what you end up with is the same Red/Blue split as elsewhere, where the rights of people in areas voting for people who love big government are subject to being curtailed by law enforcement leadership perfectly willing to follow the orders of big government.

    • #4
  5. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    If the voters in a county pay attention and elect a “good” Sheriff they will get someone who can act as a buffer against a lot of political nonsense. There are exceptions. The Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, and the former Sheriff of Broward County, Florida. Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona also comes to mind.

    Police chiefs are unelected, they can be fired at anytime, for any reason by the mayor or a city manager. The vast majority of law enforcement officers that do the grunt work on the streets, and supervisors that have extensive experience on the streets are more conservative in their political views. Admin cops, those that spent the minimum amount of time on the street before climbing the ladder are a pain in the…, well you know what I mean, not only to the public, and to the street cops as well. 

    • #5
  6. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    If the voters in a county pay attention and elect a “good” Sheriff they will get someone who can act as a buffer against a lot of political nonsense. There are exceptions. The Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, and the former Sheriff of Broward County, Florida. Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona also comes to mind.

    Police chiefs are unelected, they can be fired at anytime, for any reason by the mayor or a city manager. The vast majority of law enforcement officers that do the grunt work on the streets, and supervisors that have extensive experience on the streets are more conservative in their political views. Admin cops, those that spent the minimum amount of time on the street before climbing the ladder are a pain in the…, well you know what I mean, not only to the public, and to the street cops as well.

    Interestingly, the police chief in Houston is one of those “all politics, no policing” types.  It is the Houston police union that is resisting the draconian arrests and fines for not wearing a mask.

    • #6
  7. Jon1979 Lincoln
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    Headedwest (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):

    If the voters in a county pay attention and elect a “good” Sheriff they will get someone who can act as a buffer against a lot of political nonsense. There are exceptions. The Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, and the former Sheriff of Broward County, Florida. Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona also comes to mind.

    Police chiefs are unelected, they can be fired at anytime, for any reason by the mayor or a city manager. The vast majority of law enforcement officers that do the grunt work on the streets, and supervisors that have extensive experience on the streets are more conservative in their political views. Admin cops, those that spent the minimum amount of time on the street before climbing the ladder are a pain in the…, well you know what I mean, not only to the public, and to the street cops as well.

    Interestingly, the police chief in Houston is one of those “all politics, no policing” types. It is the Houston police union that is resisting the draconian arrests and fines for not wearing a mask.

    Art Acevedo came to Houston from Austin, where he was the type of hyper-political police chief the mayor and council there wanted, so it’s not a big shock that he’d be all-in on supporting hardcore shutdown measures in the COVID-19 situation (this incident involving the shooting of Houston police officers from back in December pretty much gives you an idea of Acevedo’s mindset, and the fact he’s no doubt eying a future job in an even larger Blue city as top cop, such as New York or Los Angeles).

    • #7
  8. Hammer, The Member
    Hammer, The
    @RyanM

    “undermining public health efforts,” hug? Interesting characterization. Typical news report, though.

    • #8
  9. Sisyphus (Rolling Stone) Member
    Sisyphus (Rolling Stone)
    @Sisyphus

    Hammer, The (View Comment):

    “undermining public health efforts,” hug? Interesting characterization. Typical news report, though.

    I enjoyed the piece in part for just such lame efforts to undermine the significance of the story.

    • #9
  10. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    This lockdown is really something that should be decided at the local elected level, with guidance from above.  The situation in Chicago is very different from Rock Island, much less Carbondale on the other end of the state.

    • #10
  11. Sisyphus (Rolling Stone) Member
    Sisyphus (Rolling Stone)
    @Sisyphus

    Here in Williamsburg, our only death was the week before the lockdown started. Way to go, governor!

    • #11
  12. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    This is why I was against the Bush-Clinton moves to consolidate and centralize all our police forces. 

    • #12
  13. EndOfPatience Member
    EndOfPatience
    @EndOfPatience

    So a “Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of California, San Diego” disapprove of elected officials who believe their responsibility is to their citizens.  Based on experience, I’m reasonably certain he represents 99% plus of the faculty across the country.

    1. Hang the professors.
    2. Bulldoze the buildings.
    3. Salt the earth.

    It’s the only way to be sure.

    • #13
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    EndOfPatience (View Comment):

    So a “Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of California, San Diego” disapprove of elected officials who believe their responsibility is to their citizens. Based on experience, I’m reasonably certain he represents 99% plus of the faculty across the country.

    1. Hang the professors.
    2. Bulldoze the buildings.
    3. Salt the earth.

    It’s the only way to be sure.

    Except for Hillsdale, please. 

    • #14
  15. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Congrats Sissphus! Instapundit linked to your post.

    • #15
  16. Sisyphus (Rolling Stone) Member
    Sisyphus (Rolling Stone)
    @Sisyphus

    tigerlily (View Comment):

    Congrats Sissphus! Instapundit linked to your post.

    Sweet! Thanks for the heads up!

    • #16