Sheriff works for the people, not politicians, in defending citizens’ rights

Posted 13 June 2019 at 6:27 pm


Once again, we have a hotly contested sheriff’s race, with the Republican primary only days away. Before you go to vote, understand what the office of sheriff entails.

According to the NYS Sheriff’s Association (and NY state requirements), to hold the office of Sheriff or Undersheriff, a person must have at least 60 credit hours from an accredited college or university or have five years experience in leadership and management; and five years experience in one of the following: law enforcement, public safety, corrections, court security, civil process, or like experience in the criminal justice, legal field or military command.

We have been brainwashed into thinking that the sheriff has to please the legislature, the country executive, the DA, or other political figures. As Andy of Mayberry often said, “We have to keep the mayor happy.” We have also been taught that the sheriff is the top law-enforcer, making him no more than a Super Cop. If this was the case, the county would be hiring the sheriff, just as it hires other police officers.

But the office of sheriff is so much more than enforcing laws. This position goes back centuries, when the sheriff worked for the king. With the Magna Carta, his position was changed to working for the people. When our country was established, that position was incorporated into our governmental structure. The sheriff enforces the nation’s laws—providing they do not go against the Constitution—protects the lives and property of its people, and safeguards the health and morals of the community.

But most importantly, the sheriff works for the people. That means he does not answer to the legislature, the county executive, or any other person in power. That means that the legislature and county executive have no say in the sheriff’s business. That means that the sheriff protects his people’s Constitutional rights, even against the “king’s” men.

If state or federal agencies try to act against the people in the county, they must first go through the sheriff, who will wisely decide if their actions are justifiable or if they are infringing on the rights of the people.

Therefore, if you cannot depend on your candidate to defend your rights, or if he is beholden to political leaders, or focused solely on law enforcement rather than combining it with community enhancement and cooperation, then he does not understand that the position of sheriff is a unique position unlike any other in law enforcement. And he will not be a Constitutional Protective Sheriff.

Judith Larkin