Is it a cops duty...

OP
Tgace

Tgace

Grandmaster
Joined
Jul 31, 2003
Messages
7,766
Reaction score
409
The question i have is I swore an oath the the state and federal constitution if a law is passed that I believe is a violation of either I have a duty not to enforce it. In this case these departments have decided the law unconstitutional. I do it on a local level. We had a banning list for our housing authority I personally refuse to enforce it because I don't believe the city should have the power to ban a person from visiting family or friends. Eventually the courts agreed with me when the ACLU got involved and the banning list we had with 1000s of names was declared illegal and was thrown out. Same thing in my opinion as this. Or another example is the housing authority staff will call and ask us to search peoples houses for drugs or weapons and they always show me a lease that says they have the right to search an apartment at any time. I always refuse because I don't believe a lease supersedes the Constitution.


Good point. When one takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution what does that mean in the real world...beyond just sounding good? On one hand we can't cant violate the Constitution under the excuse of "just following orders", but I get the impression that people here are also saying that we don't have the authority to decide whats unconstitutional either...
 

ballen0351

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
10,480
Reaction score
1,244
Good point. When one takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution what does that mean in the real world...beyond just sounding good?
I carry pocket copy's of the Constitution with me and hand them out to people when they ask me to do things I feel are a violation. My supervisor hates me sometimes lol.
 

arnisador

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 28, 2001
Messages
44,563
Reaction score
441
Location
Terre Haute, IN
The question i have is I swore an oath the the state and federal constitution if a law is passed that I believe is a violation of either I have a duty not to enforce it. In this case these departments have decided the law unconstitutional.

At the individual level that makes sense to me--I am more concerned by a police dept. acting as a whole in challenging the legislature. If it's dept. policy to not enforce certain laws, that's a problem (expecting obvious cases like archaic laws that could never be prosecuted today).
 

arnisador

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 28, 2001
Messages
44,563
Reaction score
441
Location
Terre Haute, IN
Good point. When one takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution what does that mean in the real world...beyond just sounding good? On one hand we can't cant violate the Constitution under the excuse of "just following orders", but I get the impression that people here are also saying that we don't have the authority to decide whats unconstitutional either...

An individual LEO should be allowed room for conscience and judgment. A dept. taking a stance that a law enacted by the legislature and signed by the gov./pres. is invalid is where I have a problem. We have courts for that. Of course there are corner cases here, but as a rule I want Joe Cop to have this freedom but the Peoria P.D. not telling him what is and isn't constitutional where new laws are concerned. Take it to the courts.
 

ballen0351

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Dec 25, 2010
Messages
10,480
Reaction score
1,244
At the individual level that makes sense to me--I am more concerned by a police dept. acting as a whole in challenging the legislature. If it's dept. policy to not enforce certain laws, that's a problem (expecting obvious cases like archaic laws that could never be prosecuted today).
Not if its a law that the department as a whole has decided isn't Constitutional. Nobody can force an officer or department to enforce a law. How would you go about it? *If the entire department says no what do you do? The sheriff is elected if the people disapprove then can demand a recall and unelect them.
 

billc

Grandmaster
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2007
Messages
9,183
Reaction score
85
Location
somewhere near Lake Michigan
Taking an oath to protect and defend the Constitution is a valid point. It is the supreme law of the land, and I think citizens, and those who are acting as enforcement officers should keep that in mind, considering we are the people ultimately in charge, not the politicians and the judges who are supposed to do our will, not their own.
 
Top