Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sheriff Jeff Hawbecker: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges

State rep. Craig Dally has introduced legislation to give deputy sheriffs the same powers as municipal police officers to make arrests, without warrants, for all crimes and offenses. But at a Northampton County Council budget hearing yesterday, Sheriff Jeff Hawbecker said that bill is going nowhere.

"I don't have any high hopes for that. I think we will basically be doing the traditional duties of a sheriff's office."

Hawbecker noted many municipalities throughout the state have no police protection and "really do need the support of the sheriff's departments in performing the duties of a police officer."


Pogperson said...

"That's a huge increase in a short time," remarked Morganelli. It appears that, instead of deterring people, this lower 0.08 BAC is actually leading to more arrests.

I live in a state (Maine) where drunk driving is typically not punished at all. It's quite common to read about people who, when stopped for driving drunk, were found to have had their license suspended at the time and many, many prior suspensions and drinking-related violations. Ask Stephen King.

I don't pretend to know what the answer is - except the one no one wants to hear, which is to seriously tackle the enormous underlying societal and cultural problems that underlie drug use. Until we're willing to do that, I think we have to at least make some effort to protect innocent drivers and pedestrians. That means arrest and punishment of some sort, even if it isn't much of a deterrent. At the moment, it's the best we have.

Anonymous said...

well the sheriffs already have the same arresting powers as police. just look in western PA where sheriffs are doing everything police do as patroling and responding to 911 calls investigations etc. if they want to clear the powers up so no one needs to assume one department doesnt have as much power as another sure make them all equal. the more the merrier in this one. just think if you need help you want the closest officer/deputy there as quick as possible. when the crap hits the fan you just need help not red tape or politics.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Agreed. I understand the PSP is opposed to the legislation, but don't know why. I's like to see a county-wide PD myself. It would be more efficient and more professional than the current hodge podge of smaller local PDs.

lighthouse said...

Being a native of Ohio, it was strange when we moved to PA in the late 80s. In Ohio the sheriff was the law enforcement for the county for those areas that did not have their own police dept, much like the State Police are in PA.

Anonymous said...

The deputies are trained and they have the same power in me eyes, what is there not enough crime out there?