As a follow-up to my last post, the County Council voted 6-1 to decline the $22,000 checkpoint grant from the state. Reaction from Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer was swift, over-the-top, and unbecoming someone in his position.
In the article linked above, the sheriff, a Democrat, says “It’s indicative of the dysfunction of this County Council.” He also vows to continue running the checkpoints.
“We just had two deputies that were almost killed in the line of duty and I didn’t get one single call from a council person or the county executive to ask how they’re doing, is there anything we can do, can the county do anything to help them out? They don’t care.”
To KMOV, he said “They don’t care about law enforcement and in my opinion they don’t have a great concern about the citizens and the safety of this community.”
As an aside, the KMOV article says Jeffco “has the fourth highest number of accidents that lead to death or disabling injuries” in the state. Well, we are the 6th largest county by population, so that statistic isn’t as damning as the story makes it out to be.
Now, let’s be serious here. Does Boyer really think the council “doesn’t care” about the lives of deputies, or the well-being of county residents? Come on. Only in one place did I see Boyer respond to the main concern: the legality of safety checkpoints. In a KSDK piece, he says “There’s numerous supreme court cases where the supreme court has decided that these types of checks are lawful and legal and they are conducted by almost every police department in the United States.” In that comment, he does not appear to be making a distinction between DUI and safety/compliance checkpoints (for seat belts, etc.). That article provides a good point-counterpoint with him and councilman Bob Boyer. City of Indianapolis v. Edmond has been cited as a relevant case here than outlaws general-interest checkpoints. This is separate from DUI checkpoints, which Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz said were allowable. Here’s a Missouri Bar publication on challenging DWI checkpoints that discusses non-DWI checkpoints. Of note, it suggests that you can arguably refuse to show ID at a checkpoint. Something to consider if you find yourself in such a situation and want to be difficult.
The question now is, how will the council respond to the sheriff’s rants? When the county passed an ordinance a couple of years ago requiring county vehicles to be left on county property at night, Boyer blew a gasket, and his office won an exemption. Councilman Don Bickowski suggests in the KMOV piece that all he would need to change his vote would be a written policy on checkpoints from the sheriff’s office, and he says other council members feel the same way. We’ll see.
These events happened after the Leader deadline, so we will have to wait to see their reporting, which will probably have a pro-sheriff bent. We might even get to read Pat Martin’s thoughts on the matter. Look for a reference to the sheriff’s “famous anger,” which would be considered a character flaw in any other county figure.