It's been a strange couple of weeks and please don't believe I am fooled. The Sussex County Council is determined to stop Sheriff Christopher, whatever it takes.
The Sussex County electorate, however, is not so convinced.
Sheriff Christopher, for his part, is busy making the rounds to all the GOP meetings he can and other venues and he does quite artfully make his case.
My First Sheriff Post
I've listened to Sheriff Christopher a couple of times and like many Sussex countians, I suppose, I am a bit confused. What I hear the Sheriff requesting is more money to update his force's cars and to better train his deputies. I've been to about three things that had Christopher giving a presentation and on all occasions he asserts that the Sheriff in Delaware has full arrest powers. He then states that he would like to have his deputies get more training for those times when an arrest might be required.
The legislators, however, via two "rulings" by Attorney Generals, state that the Sheriff has NO arrest powers in Delaware.
It's very unclear as to whether Christopher or his deputies have arrested anyone to date, not that the elected guys think us boobs out here in la-la land where we carry this county on our backs, need to know anything.
THERE'S the rub.
All I know is one morning I woke up and a whole bunch of Sussex Republicans, the STATE elected guys, sat down and wrote a whole bunch of new laws changing the Delaware code as concerns the Sheriff. There is also some question as to an impact on the Delaware state constitution that mentions the Sheriff and his duties. The elected guys did NOT change the Delaware constitution but those laws they wrote seem to have de facto changed the Delaware constitution and this makes folks uneasy.
The rumble could be felt throughout the county.
It's not so much that there aren't issues as concerns the Sheriff, we get this. But so far we've only heard the argument from the Sheriff as the elected people can't be bothered.
And goodness knows we understand that oncit the Sheriff was the law guy, dag, we all watched Andy of Mayberry.
What most of us full well understand is it is the Sheriff's job to serve official court documents, to oversee evictions, to be the government representative doing those things that require an authoritarian type of presence.
While Fedex might be able to take over the job of delivering official court summons and such, maybe it's because I worked for the largest property owner in Baltimore city and the Sheriff is a very important fellow to a property owner.
Because, go with me on this, sometimes people do not pay their rent. And a person who rents out their property to others needs a bit more help ridding the non-payer from his or her life than the store owner who can just refuse to give away their product for free.
Evicting people is nasty, nasty business.
I suppose someone could be hired to do the job but I simply can't envision it. And folks getting thrown out of their homes are quite often not happy. I'd think a Sheriff should have the use of a firearm for protection at the least, and a kind of common sense tells me that he should be able to arrest any evicted resident who tries to take matters violently into his or her own hands.
Further, the Sheriff is an ELECTED position. Legislators shouldn't be willy-nilly messing with positions elected by we the people without, at the very least, allowing for an open forum and healthy debate.
The Sussex and Delaware elected folks didn't even try to run it by us the rubes. They sat down and wrote a tome to change the code as concerns the Sheriff's arrest powers when hey, I want to talk about it before embarking on such a drastic action.
Again, I remind, the only guy doing the talking has been Sheriff Christopher.
Now we add a little salt in that this is an election year, an election year following a nasty mid-term that had the rabble-rousers of Sussex county rising up to oust Mike Castle, a Blue Blood Republican who loved to spit in our faces and lie. We also have Obama in the White Hut doing his darndest to dismantle our federal constitution, goodness we've got Supreme Court Justices going overseas and advising other countries NOT to use our constitution and add the sweet cherry topping of Schwartzkopf and his rant about radio talk show listeners a week after a major trumped up attempt to oust conservative favorite Rush Limbaugh and man they got tin ears, every damn one of them has a tin ear.
I hear that the Sussex county council is still diddling with HB290, which they tabled last week in response to a mass rumble of unrest by really irked Sussex countians.
They are the political class they are. They know better than us, they have more inside information, this is not something for us to worry our pretty heads over.
It doesn't matter anymore if they are Democrat or Republican. For a Republican Blue Blood will reach across the aisle with polished fingernails but will rip off the head of any of an ornery base they threatens their power and perks.
They will get their way re the Sheriff and their reward will be a dispirited Sussex county electorate who not only will not get out and help get their fine selves re-elected, what you think we're going to go all out trying to get Mitt Romney elected, a guy we're lukewarm about alread?
Below the response by Democrat County Council Representative Joan Deaver. I am the campaign treasurer for her opponent, for the record:
In Delaware the sheriffs in all three counties function as an arm of the court, serving papers and auctioning property. These things could also be done under contract with a private company or directly by County employees.
The County Council has to comply with State law and we have two Delaware Attorney General opinions confirming that the county sheriff has no powers of arrest. Jeff Christopher wants the sheriff to be the ultimate law enforcement official in Delaware. While he pursues his political crusade, misdirects County employees and misuses County cars and equipment it is urgent that we seek help from the General Assembly or in Court.
COUNCILWOMAN JOAN DEAVER Serving Sussex County's 3rd Council District
Home Office 302-645-6657, http://councilwomandeaver.com/
To contact county council click here http://www.sussexcountyde.gov/suggestions.cfm