Measure Passes: Federal Law Enforcement Officials Need Sheriff Approval

By Dennis Lambert
Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 2:26pm
Updated: Thursday, February 13, 2014 - 3:16pm
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(Photo courtesy of the Arizona State Legislature)
Sen. Andrea Dalessandro voted against the bill.

A Senate panel voted on Wednesday to make federal law enforcement officials get the approval of the local sheriff, in order to operate in Arizona. Under the measure, a federal employee who is not a state-certified peace officer cannot make an arrest, a search or a seizure without the written consent of the sheriff who can deny permission for any reason. There are exceptions for the work of customs and border patrol agents. 

Former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack told the committee the bill provides protections against what he called atrocities by federal agents, like the stand-off at the Branch-Davidian compound that led to a fire that killed 76 people.

“This will be normal activity and will continue if we don't have somebody locally telling the federal government, 'You can't do that.' Who at this time tells the federal government how far they can go and how far their jurisdiction goes?" Mack said.

Only Sen. Andrea Dalessandro voted against the bill saying some of its provisions make no sense, like requiring a county attorney to prosecute a federal agent who fails to register and making the county attorney subject to prosecution if he or she refuses to do that.

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