4/24/2009

Are States Losing Their Sovereignty?

United States Marshals Service ToolsImage via Wikipedia

This just in from Raw Story about a new plan that has moved forward to merge the Arizona State Police with the U.S. Marshal's Service.

Now, supposedly, state and local police are under the control of local and state governments and are tasked with investigating and handling state and local laws. The U.S. Marshal's Service is supposed to be tasked with transporting and handling criminals prosecuted under Federal law. The two, constitutionally, are supposed to be separate. Now, the two will be one - at least in Arizona.

This is another slide down the slippery slope to a National Police force that began with the infusion of federal funds to provide local and state police with salaries and military gadgets under the guise of the "Drug War" some 30 years ago. Now, not only are they exerting pressure through the addictive drug of big money but they are outright merging and taking over local police agencies. Scary stuff, is this change we can believe in? Sounds more like an extension of the Bush years.

The Arizona State Police are merging with a local service of the federal U.S. Marshals in order to "save money" and track a growing convict population in the state.

Sadly, this will not be anywhere nearly as cool as that Tommy Lee Jones movie from 1998.

From Arizona Central:

"Basically, it's getting everyone in one room in one building working together instead of occasionally discussing cases of mutual interest. It's a great force multiplier," U.S. Marshal David Gonzales said.

The aggregation of acronyms brings together the state Department of Public Safety's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team, called VCAT, and the Arizona Wanted task force of the U.S. Marshals Service. The merger formalizes a relationship among agencies to share information and manpower to track the 60,000 wanted fugitives in the state.

[...]

Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff said another goal of the new system is to minimize politics and maximize results. "What this means to the cop on the street is they come to work every day with precise information about individuals who have committed crimes in our community," he said.

Do you think this will give Arizona cops an advantage over runaway criminals? Or is this a federal encroachment on state authority? Furthermore, how would you feel if your state announced a merger between it's police and federal marshals?

But more troubling is the fact that this means our local agency will probably be spending less time dealing with apprehending criminals charged with state crimes and more time working for the Feds, leaving us to fend for ourselves against those petty state criminals who commit murder, rape, assault and armed robbery.


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