What happens when an officer takes the law into his own hands?
PINELLAS, FL. – A dark haze has cast itself upon area law enforcement. During a recent investigation it was discovered narcotics detectives have been accused of criminal trespass and lying to judges while pursuing indoor pot farmers.
Current allegations under Sheriff Bob Gualtieri’s regime include detectives who obtained search warrants under the pretense that they stood on public sidewalks or in neighbor’s yards and detected the scent of indoor pot farms.
Defense lawyers speculate officers actually gathered evidence by illegal trespassing. One grower claimed his surveillance camera images clearly showing an officer vaulting his fence were seized and erased.
Growing suspicion continued as Tampa Bay Times reported another narcotics officer refused to answer under oath if any of his fellow officers ever trespassed.
As a result, Gualtieri has put four officers on leave pending the outcome of the investigation and prosecutors were forced to drop 18 cases.
Former Sheriff Everett Rice wants Gualtieri ousted from office to retake the helm, yet Rice’s administration suffered similar problems during his tenure (1998-2004).
Local defense lawyers claim this is a pattern that has been going on for decades.
Editor, J. Illidge states, “Every American citizen is entitled to privacy, and while I believe in the aggressive and righteous apprehension of criminals, I don’t support such if and when it goes against the legal right of that person.”
What can we do when such abuses are taken by officials; should we as citizens, turn a blind eye to such practices if it is claimed to be for a greater good?
The overall consensus is no.
Mr. Illidge states, “We should create deterrents with higher-than-usual consequences within the law to punish officers who abuse the law. Police officers are an elite, they are held to higher standards because they are part of enforcement of law. Their criminal acts are highly symbolic and undermine the law to an unusual degree, and in my opinion that should be addressed with greater consequences. The same goes for other important officials in a fair legally governed society, including lawyers judges and journalists.”