Wednesday, July 17, 2013

When Federal Officers Overstep their Authority

I've actually been a victim of an overzealous U.S. Forestry service officer (though thank goodness with a good outcome), so this hits close to home.  I'm glad to see some sheriffs standing up to them.  I didn't even know a Sheriff could do this, but I'd like to see it happen in more counties if it's possible.

U.S. Forest Chief Responds To El Dorado County Sheriff Banning Feds Enforcing State Laws
The chief of the U.S. Service is reacting to an El Dorado County Sheriff’s plan to strip federal officers of their authority to enforce state laws in the county.

“We’re very concerned about that, and I’m going to have my director of law enforcement sit down with our folks and see how they can address the concerns the sheriff has,” Chief Tom Tidwell said.

It comes after El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini informed the feds that their officers will no longer be able to enforce California state law in his county.

“I take the service that we provide to the citizens of El Dorado County very seriously, and the style and manner of service we provide, and the U.S. Forest Service, after many attempts and given many opportunities, has failed to meet that standard.”

In June, the sheriff told CBS13 that he received more than 50 complaints about overly aggressive forest service officers.

In blogs, complaints are growing over federal officers stopping people in the forest looking for campers carrying guns.

“I expect them to be professional at all times, and this is one of the things. We are going to look into the concerns. We will address those concerns and always make sure that all of our officers are always doing the right job in the right way to protect the public.”

And the sheriff’s decision means El Dorado County deputies—not forest service officers—will be responsible for responding to all state crimes committed on federal land in his county.

“It creates a potential [of a risk to public safety] but …  I’m hoping to be able to quickly address this.”
Based on my experience, I've found that U.S. Forestry officers are a greater danger to public safety than banning them from enforcing state law would be.  Encourage your Sheriff or police chief to strip U.S. Forestry officers of the power to enforce state and local law.  Let them deal with Federal code.

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