Letter To The Editor: Apparently Council Deems Sheriff To Be A Mere Puppet

By JOEL M. WILLIAMS
Los Alamos

Los Alamos County Code 304.4: The Sheriff shall have those powers and duties assigned to sheriffs by state statutes, including the powers of a peace officer, but the Sheriff shall not duplicate or perform those duties in this Charter or by ordinance or resolution assigned or delegated to the County’s Police Department.

Via “resolution assigned“, Council deems that it “can” delegate any and, indeed, all of the sheriff’s duties to the Police Department as it so chooses! Vise versa? (Sounds like a Police-Council-Sheriff tiff to me with the Police being the 800-lb gorilla!).

If the Council considers the Sheriff to be a puppet with strings they do not like attached, then there seems no reason to have an elected Sheriff as part of the county’s operation. So far Council has chosen not to put it to a citizen’s vote, but simply to diminish Sheriff’s duties and facilities, as they choose. Council should put it to the electorate whether the electorate wishes to have a “publicly elected Sheriff” who is part of the County’s operation. If the electorate wishes to have one, then the Council should get off its current stance and see to it that the Sheriff’s position has some significant duties, even if it entails having some of the Police Department’s duties “resolution assigned“.

For Folks who can take hard action (as we have seen in the recent “reassigning” of the Sheriff duties) whenever they wish, Council’s  continued pussy-footing around the issue of having an elected Sheriff in the mix seems incredible to me. There should either be a Sheriff or no Sheriff and that is a citizens choice! Get it on the table in such a way that either there is one (supported by Council! in substance!) or not one! If the issue is not on the next ballot, one can only guess that Council loves the quibbling rather then resolving this matter beyond creating a puppet.

There can always be a “Los Alamos County Sheriff”. If not an citizen-elected position to the county’s government, it could be a yearly elected entity of the “Sheriff’s Posse” and rule over that organization’s activities. Whether this allows the Sheriff to participate with other Sheriffs in the state beyond rodeos is another issue.

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