In response to the deceptive propaganda currently circulating around Sussex County [Delaware] regarding the role of the Sheriff, I offer the following points:
The term, Conservator of the Peace, as originally intended in the Delaware Constitution, Article XV, section 1, means that the Sheriff is a Peace Officer vested with broad law enforcement powers (inherent in the public trust of the office) that historically preceded police departments and other executive-branch law enforcement agencies.
The concept of an elected chief law-enforcement officer, responsible to the People (instead of the executive) of the County in which he resides is a critical constitutional check and balance to prevent governmental abuse of power in a “free society”. Accordingly, the Delaware Code statutory limitation against admitting Sheriffs and Regular Sheriffs Deputies to the Delaware State Police Academy is irrelevant in the definition of a “law enforcement officer”, as any given statute, ordinance or policy is legally subordinate to state and federal constitutions. Furthermore, 11 Del C, section 8401(5) as embedded, does not explicitly define a law enforcement officer per se. It only specifies categories of candidates for eligible for admission to the academy.
The same County Council that arbitrarily limits Free Speech (public participation policy),turns a blind eye toward illegal immigration, approves zoning of a low-income housing development over a known toxic waste dump (Jackson’s Pit) in utter disregard of public health and safety; and who penny-pinches our duly-elected Sheriff, Jeff Christopher over proper uniforms and side arms (risking the lives of our lives of our deputies) is not in a strong moral, legal or intellectual position to supercede the Delaware Constitution in any way, shape or form.
To the citizens of Sussex County in these troubled social and economic times (largely brought about by politicians and special interests afraid of independently-elected law enforcement officers) ask yourself:
In a real emergency, whom would you rather call … your County Councilman or the Sheriff???
Wolfgang von Baumgart,
Independent Party of Delaware