DEATH * BY * METH

This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

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Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pass law to give sheriffs more enforcement powers (Pennsylvania)

A number of important issues face our state lawmakers as they return to Harrisburg following the summer recess. One is a proposal that would give nearly 2,500 deputy sheriffs with extensive law enforcement training the authority to fully participate in protecting our communities from crime and drugs.

A ruling this year by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court created confusion over what types of law enforcement activities can be performed by deputy sheriffs. The court ruled that, under current Pennsylvania statute, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs were not ''investigative or law enforcement officers.'' Based on that decision, the Office of Attorney General has temporarily suspended the involvement of about 75 deputy sheriffs who served on Drug Task Forces throughout the commonwealth. Attorney General Tom Corbett told the sheriffs at our annual conference that it was one of the toughest letters his office had to write.



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Mobile News | Subscribe Online | Order Reprints The court acknowledged the need for legislation that would resolve the issue of whether deputy sheriffs are investigative or law enforcement officers. The Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association, along with other local, county and state organizations, is working with state lawmakers to draft legislation that would address the court's concerns.

Over the years, the office of sheriff has evolved into much more than a court security and prisoner transfer agency. For example, the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office operates in the same fashion as local and state police. Some sheriff offices patrol long stretches of rural roads where there is no local police force. And deputy sheriffs participated in drug enforcement operations, DUI task forces and emergency response teams on a daily basis.

Now, there is a question about whether deputy sheriffs can continue to participate in the law enforcement duties they had before the court ruling. As one major newspaper opined: ''Do we want to effectively handcuff nearly 2,500 well-trained deputies around the Commonwealth? We think not. There's no shortage of crime in this state, but there is a shortage of trained individuals to respond to it.''

The Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association is seeking a legislative remedy to authorize deputy sheriffs to participate in the same law enforcement activities they have done effectively in the past. This is not expansion of sheriffs' duties; rather it is recognition of the valuable law enforcement services performed by sheriff offices in protecting the public.

In March 2004, two deputy sheriffs in Bradford County — Michael VanKuren and Christopher Burgert — were gunned down and killed while serving a warrant on a methamphetamine suspect. Since the Supreme Court decision, Sheriff Steven Evans reported that his office effectively has been sidelined from the war on meth in that rural county.

Last month, Reading Police Officer Scott A. Wertz was shot and killed. Officer Wertz's death was the latest in a string of violence that has besieged Reading. Statistics show that crime is spreading into the suburbs. However, the 81 men and women who serve as deputy sheriffs in Berks County cannot fully participate in protecting their communities, even though nearly all meet the state training requirements for police officers.

In Pennsylvania, county sheriffs are elected by the voters. That means the sheriff, like a district attorney or attorney general, is accountable to the people for the law enforcement services performed by his or her deputies.

In addition, the county commissioners control how much funding a sheriff's office receives. The fiscal control by the commissioners effectively would dictate which law enforcement activities the sheriff could perform based on the available resources.

It is unlikely that jurisdictional issues would affect the sheriffs' law enforcement duties. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies work cooperatively every day to fight crime without being sidetracked by jurisdictional issues. Sheriff offices, which have worked side-by-side with other law enforcement agencies, would seamlessly reintegrate alongside the agencies.

A majority of Pennsylvanians support the inclusion of county sheriffs as an intricate part of daily law enforcement activities throughout the county and its respective communities. According to a poll commissioned in May 2006 by the Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association, nearly 65 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania are in favor of reaffirming the inclusion of sheriffs and their deputies in actively investigating crimes and making arrests as a part of their respective duties and responsibilities.

The Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association looks forward to working with members of the General Assembly, Gov. Ed Rendell and interested parties to address this important law enforcement issue. The people of Pennsylvania deserve and expect the protection and services of all trained law enforcement personnel within their respective communities throughout the Commonwealth.

The 67 sheriffs and nearly 2,500 deputy sheriffs in our Commonwealth are ready, willing and able to fully serve the people of Pennsylvania.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd A. Martin is president of the Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association.

''The court acknowledged the need for legislation that would resolve the issue of whether deputy sheriffs are investigative or law enforcement officers.''

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it pretty sad that there are no other comments on this situation. As a girlfriend of a sheriff's deputy, I feel that a sheriff's deputy has every right to be considered a law enforcement officer. They have had, plus more, training than any other officer around. If they are not considered a law enforcement officer than what is the point in even putting them through the training if there is no purpose for it. They have protected just as much as any other law enforcement officer. So I feel that they have every right to have the authority to arrest and investigate crimes committed in our commonwealth.

Sunday, January 14, 2007 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is sad, we need all the Law enforcement we can get, I wish you luck PA Sheriffs!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 1:57:00 PM  
Anonymous deputy32 said...

As a deputy sheriff this is sad. This is a complete mess created by politics and decision makers that fail to use common sense. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is one of only a few states that fail to recognize deputy sheriffs as law enforcement officers. We live in a ever changing crime filled world, why would you eliminate arrest powers of individuals equally trained to enforce the laws of the land. We need your help, your voices can make a difference. On Jan 24th 2008 we will address a Judiciary Review Committee in attempt to get this resolved. The taxpayers in the Commonwealth deserve the benefits that the sheriffs offices offer.

Monday, December 10, 2007 9:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a police officer in Virginia. I have also served as a Deputy in PA. Since Ive made the transition to VA I wonder how police in PA ever got anything done. Down here deputies and police officers attend the same academy, meaning we are in the same classroom at the same time getting the same training. Once we are sworn in we have the same powers. Deputies in my county do not patrol the streets but are trained and equipped to do so in a moments notice. My agency is a county police deptartment but we enjoy having a well trained and equiped sheriffs office who is there ready to give us a hand whenever we need it. When it boils down to it when I got a bad guy out at gunpoint and see a brown shirt with that silver star on his or her chest roll up to back me Im grateful as hell that I work in Virginia. I love PA but they need to figure out that the office of the sheriff is a valuble asset and should not be taken for granted. VA has things figured out...hopefully Pennsylvania will follow suite. Good Luck deputies I consider all of you my peers as law enforcement officers.

Thursday, January 10, 2008 6:57:00 PM  
Anonymous randi said...

I really think they should beable to do the same as the state police officers and town cops cordings to north towanda there's only four car's for them to use. when i've seen at least seven. i really think with the sheriff's helping out the crimes will go down, the shreiff are my boys, and ill stand behind them two hunderd persent.
Randi

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 2:08:00 AM  
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Sunday, May 29, 2011 8:57:00 AM  
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011 10:21:00 AM  

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