Letter To The Editor: Vote AGAINST Option 1 And Keep Your Sheriff

By JOHN N. HORNE
Los Alamos County Undersheriff
 
Los Alamos County Charter Section 304.3:

Deputies of the Sheriff, police department, and peace officers. The council shall establishes as a Department of the county, a police department to be charged with conserving the peace and enforcing the laws of the state and the ordinances of the county. The sheriff shall have those powers and duties assigned to the sheriff 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.

I begin this letter with this section of the county charter so the words are fresh in your mind. The bold underlined text exists in our charter because it has to. Our Charter would be illegal if it stripped the Sheriff of his state granted authority.

The legal fact that you have to remember is that no county in the state has the right, ability, or authority to alter, abolish or ignore state statute. Any action taken by a county must be done within the parameters of those statutes.

NMSA 29–1-1 states: It is hereby declared to be the duty of every sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, and every other peace officer to investigate all violations of the criminal laws of the state which are called to their attention…  So the statement made by Councilor Henderson asserting; “ The fact is, the Sheriff here has NO authority to investigate corruption, or any crime.” Is in her own word “both illegal and a complete red herring. “ The Sheriff does in fact exist as your personal law enforcement representative and his authority cannot be diminished by the county. This fact can be verified by the State Attorney and the US Attorney.

Mr. Chandler further attempts to mislead the voters in his last offering when he said I claim to be a peace officer by virtue of my appointment as Under-sheriff. Well, I don’t claim that at all. I state it as an indisputable fact. I hold a full commission from the duly elected Sheriff of Los Alamos County. Mr. Chandlers arguments against that all stem from his false assertion that the county has the ability to alter the statutory authority of the Sheriff. It is clear that they do not. He also states that my employment was terminated by the county but state statute is clear, the under-sheriff serves at the pleasure of the sheriff and the county has no authority to terminate my employment according to NMSA 4-41-5.

In 2004 my life and career were destroyed by a group of corrupt bureaucrats and politicians. I was falsely accused of mishandling classified information by the management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. They were willing to go to any extreme not to admit their own failures and violations of law. In the end I was completely exonerated of any wrong doing but the association of my name with that investigation ended a career that I dearly loved and cost me over $5M in lost wages and value to my pension.

It was at that time that I learned, when political lackeys and corrupt bureaucrats make false statements it needs to be stopped quickly. Had the events of the League of Women Voters been the only thing at issue I would not have written my last letter. However, it came to my attention that the LAPD was beginning to investigateme for impersonating a police officer. It is clear from the statutes that no violation of ethics or law occurred but when I saw the counties willingness to use the official offices of government to carry out a political hit I decided it was time to put a stop to it. My attorney has notified the county of my intent to file suit for malicious prosecution. I refuse to be slandered in this community again.

It is frightening that a group of people like Henderson, O’leary, Girrens, Reiss, and the Chandlers who claim to be so intelligent have absolutely no understanding of the concept of separation of powers which is fundamental to our government. It is even more frightening that they have been allowed to coopt as much power and authority as they have. I urge you to keep a firm grasp on your God given right and authority to control your government. Vote against option 1 and keep your Sheriff.

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