Why We Need The Elected Offices Of Sheriff and Inspector General

The Office of Sheriff is a long established office in Delaware that has its roots in Delaware’s Constitution. Article XV Section 1 states:
The chancellor, Judges and Attorney General shall be conservators of the peace throughout the state, and the Sheriffs shall be conservators of the peace within the counties respectively in which they reside.
Although Delaware does not have an Inspector General, there should be a movement to create this elected position. Most states do have this position as a safeguard against corruption in their states. The Sheriff’s Office was the only law enforcement entity in each county until the state police was created by Delaware in the 1920’s with a charter which stated, the Delaware State Police would have powers similar to those of the Sheriffs. In short both of these offices are elected by the people and for the people and are not controlled by the state. An elected Inspector General and a Sheriff are in fact the guardians of the citizen’s Constitutional rights. Without either of these operating as fully functional offices, the citizens are at the mercy of the state and Delaware is a, “de facto” police state, with no recourse for the citizens to redress their grievances. It is evident, because of a long-standing record of corruption, Delaware is in need of an elected Inspector General. This office could investigate corruption independently at both the state and county levels and would have power to call on the Sheriffs of each county for support and back-up. Currently, the State of Delaware and the counties investigate their own alleged wrongdoings within their own agencies. This practice is similar to appointing a fox to watch the henhouse and lends an air of corruption to everything it touches. Madison fully understood that government needed checks and balances and warned of the danger by writing about this in Federalist Paper No. 51:
The need for government flows from the fact that all men are fallen creatures with a sinful nature. But what is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. If men were angels, no government would be necessary. But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachment of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure. There are but two methods of providing against this evil: the one by creating a will in the community independent of the majority, that is, of society itself; the other, by comprehending in the society so many separate descriptions of citizens as will render an unjust combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable.
So we can see that Madison foresaw that safeguards were to be a necessity if the republic were to be preserved. He knew the nature of man and he also knew that absolute power would corrupt absolutely. In today’s society we have two easy safeguards against the absolute power of the state, and they are the offices of the Sheriff and the Inspector General. In Delaware, we have no Inspector General so the office of the Sheriff is critically important. This Sheriff we write of, should be endowed as conservator of the peace, with full police powers as guardian of the citizen’s constitutional rights. As you have seen lately the state General Assembly certainly will not guard our Constitutional rights. They pass legislation that infringes on our Second Amendment right to bear arms, and the Speaker of the House, “Pistol Pete” Schwartzkopf passed statutory legislation that violated our Sheriff’s right to be the “Conservator of the Peace,” in the county within which he resides, with full police powers as the Constitution indicates. If we are to remain a free state belonging to a free republic we must speak up and make ourselves heard. We now fight a much different fight to remain a free state and we must adjust and prevail.

45 thoughts on “Why We Need The Elected Offices Of Sheriff and Inspector General”

  1. “By undermining the Sheriff’s Office they have threatened our Liberty in their effort to achieve total control.”

    Who are the “they” and “their” you are referring to. What is it that they are attempting to control?

  2. Mr. Picker

    “Wasn’t everybody you listed in 1-4 elected by the people?”

    This fact does not eliminate the fact that absolute power corrupts absolutely. With a one party rule and few good turncoat deserters from the other major corrupt party, complete control is possible and inevitable.
    The offices I am writing about in this post, exist for the practical reason of maintaining a free state in a free republic, which James Madison had the foresight to write about warning future generations.
    Surely you can see Madison’s logic and vision for America in his writings.

  3. So, Wolf, your “solution” to avoiding electing tyrants is to have another elected office?

    If you are trying to say that all of those other elected officials are corrupt and tyrannical, then could you explain how adding another elected official would alter that situation?

    Please explain how having an elected attorney general leads to “Hitler, Stalin…” etc., but having an elected sheriff doesn’t do that.

  4. Mr. Picker

    In case you haven’t read the post correctly. It states that the Inspector General would be out to bust corruption and tyrants, not become one.
    Just pointing that out to you.

  5. “It states that the Inspector General would be out to bust corruption and tyrants, not become one.”

    So? The Attorney General is there to bust criminals. The legislature is there to enact just laws, and so on.

    You haven’t explained what prevents your sheriff or Inspector General from becoming corrupt. If your answer is “elections”, that’s true of everyone else on your list.

    The “tyrannical” Sussex County Council was elected by the same people who are going to be voting for these other officers. What makes you think that the same voters who, in your view, keep electing tyrants, are going to do any better with more elected offices?

  6. With the help of IPOD in 2008 I proposed an IG and it was opposed by Dems and GOP at all levels including Tom Wagner.

    Until we have an IG Delaware will be the backwards state it has always been.

    Corrupt to a level of comfort by know nothing voters and those who suck off the government teet.

  7. No Don, I’ve never been employed by any government organization. I run my own business and do quite well (as you can tell from the IP logs of my posts, if you have sorted them out geographically).

  8. And, Don, you are the one looking to expand government here.

    You want a new elected official, who is going to need a staff, offices, etc. and so on.

    What is your proposal to PAY for it?

  9. “Until we have an IG Delaware will be the backwards state it has always been.”

    Yep – more government is the answer!

  10. Mr. Picker
    “What is your proposal to PAY for it?”

    Because of you great success as a businessman, I was going to ask you for a $100,000 donation.

  11. I didn’t think you’d have an answer to that one, Don.

    It is a curious type of “conservative” who wants to establish a new department of government because he thinks there is too much government.

    And just which presidential administration allowed the special prosecutor law to sunset?

  12. Actually Mr. Picker

    :You don’t control the what questions I answer. I find some of you trivial crap to insignificant to address. You play a good game though. When you come out like a man with conviction and want to honestly debate, it will be a different story.
    An anonymous sniper will never control the debate or conversation.

  13. Don, it is trivially obvious that if you create a new government office – which is what you are proposing – then you are going to have to come up with some way to pay for it.

    I think we’d be protected if we had magical constitutional unicorns patrolling the state, who would puncture with their horn anyone violating constitutional rights. It’s a foolproof plan, but I don’t think my proposal will go anywhere without an explanation of where I’m going to get the unicorns and how much they are going to cost.

    You want the government to do things, but you haven’t the first idea how much it will cost or where the money will come from.

  14. The attack on the Sheriff’s office was a frontal assault on the Constitution, now flush off of their success, they are doing the same to the Treasurer’s office.

    The reason it is important is that once the GA and governor are not bound by the Constitution, they have the power to do anything they want. That is by definition the essential ingredient in the recipe of tyranny. I care not about the personality issues involved, only the principles.

  15. Nitpicker, an inspector general would be as much of an investment as an expenditure. We could pay for it by cutting one of the political patronage positions. Do you believe federal inspector generals are a worthy expense?

  16. If you don’t agree with the rules of the blog, which allow for people — as they do elsewhere all over the internet — to post anonymously, why do you post here?

    “You don’t control the what questions I answer. I find some of you trivial crap to insignificant to address.”

    Where you raise the money to pay for your suggestions is not trivial; to conservatives, it’s an important question. If you can’t answer a question that basic, you obviously have not thought out your proposal in any depth.

  17. “The attack on the Sheriff’s office was a frontal assault on the Constitution, now flush off of their success, they are doing the same to the Treasurer’s office.”

    This “assault” took place roughly 80 years ago. Y’all keep pretending this happened recently, when the only recent developments were two power-hungry sheriffs who tried to re-expand the office to its 19th-century parameters.

    The same is true of the treasurer’s office: Its duties were reduced back in the ’80s.

    One person’s “tyranny” is another’s efficiency.

  18. This sound like nothing more than an attempt for Sussex County to garner police power over the rest of the state. Sussex County Sheriffs, even in an expanded role, wouldn’t have jurisdiction over statewide office holders. That is the job of the Attorney General. If you don’t like our current AG, he can be voted out. That is the recourse one has in a democracy. If we created a statewide Inspector General specifically to weed out corrupt politicians, I doubt very much you would be happy with the outcome of that election either, given party registration in the state, he/she would probably be a Democrat as well.

    I’m not happy with one party rule, but until the Republicans start running reasonable candidates, that’s probably not going to change in DE. Having Ms. Fish show disrespect for just about everybody, from the Women’s Republican Club of Sussex County to the entire city of Wilmington, is not going to help your cause.

  19. ql

    “This sound like nothing more than an attempt for Sussex County to garner police power over the rest of the state.”

    There is no instance that the Sussex County Sheriff would have jurisdiction in either Kent or NCCo counties. Even if an elected Inspector General asked for a sheriffs help, he would have to ask the applicable sheriff for that help. Sussex’s sheriff could not lawfully intervene in either Kent or NCCo’s business. He would have no authority.

  20. The statement is true of any number of autocratic governments from days before history. It is an observation, not a prescription.

  21. Nitpicker on August 14, 2013 at 11:57 said: “You haven’t explained what prevents your sheriff or Inspector General from becoming corrupt.”

    Read “The Federalist Papers.” Smarter men than you thought all this through 250 years ago.

    How does it feel to know that people before you were born had thought of every question you can think of and developed the answers?

    The problem is that you don’t want to know the answers. The answers are there already. They are waiting for you. But you just lack the curiosity and motivation to look.

  22. If there weren’t state police before 1920, what do you suppose the writers of the Delaware Constitution meant by “Sherriff” when they wrote the Constitution?

  23. saltyindependent

    We’ll see what the Delaware Supreme Court says. It can always end up in SCOTUS, which will have no bias toward the State of Delaware or the Sheriff.

  24. “Properly structured, an IGO can save (100-200) times its cost in the first year”

    Where is the description of this proper structure and budget estimate located?

    It’s great that it will save 100 times its cost. What is the cost?

  25. “How does it feel to know that people before you were born had thought of every question you can think of and developed the answers?”

    Jon, whenever need proof that people have become dumber over time, I can certainly count on you to supply the evidence.

  26. this case will be lost again in the delaware supreme court and will not be heard by SCOTUS. it is folly, but this topic does get you the most clicks on your website….. at any rate… down with tyranny.

  27. The cost of an IG office are ZERO, the personnel could be drawn from the AG and Auditor’s office. The AG does not represent the Delaware Citizen and it should, the Auditor’s office is always late to the game.

    The role and the power of the IG office should be the focus as the Delaware Way has state jobs as a slush fund for Legislators and their families. Every possible solution in Delaware has a baked in corruption and slime factor.

  28. salty

    one’s man’s folly is another man’s reality. Article XV section 1 of Delaware’s Constitution is not folly.

  29. Mike and Wolfgang are both correct in their appraisal of an Inspector General’s Office. The cost would be minimal, and the rewards for Delawareans astronomical. The citizens deserve to have the protection that both a Sheriff and an IGO’s office could provide.

  30. “Every possible solution in Delaware has a baked in corruption and slime factor.”

    As would an office of Inspector General. Apparently you haven’t thought out what obviously would happen — the two political parties would run candidates who would far outspend any independent candidate. The office would at best become a tool for one party to investigate the other. The more likely Delaware Way outcome would be for the parties to agree to leave each other alone and let the IG spend his time on routine tasks, much as the auditor’s office gets enough funding to do its designated duties and not much else.

    That’s not the certain outcome, but it’s the one I’d bet on.

  31. nobody
    “The office would at best become a tool for one party to investigate the other.”

    Yes, I agree with your assessment of the situation but this office would be as viable as the citizen’s that would safeguard our primary civil rights. We, the citizens are responsible for how our government operates. If we don’t take action when conditions become intolerable, we are the ones responsible. There are caviats in every scenario.

  32. My point precisely, Mr. Ayotte. If the citizens don’t pay attention now, why would they pay attention under an Inspector General?

  33. The Delaware Superior Court errored in its March 2013 ruling on the Sussex County ruling over sheriff powers. Precedence over the role of sheriff is evidenced in Article XV Section 1 of the Delaware Constitution. The US Supreme Court validated the role of the county sheriff in Printz v. United States ( and companion Mack v. United States case), which established dual sovereignty that requires sheriffs to be the constitutional enforcers for each state.

    Additionally the federal government validated the role of the county sheriff when it made this historic New Castle Sheriff’s house part of the federal monument. Historical reference and significance was forever solidified with this happened. It is now up to the Delaware Supreme Court (and even SCOTUS) to recognize the legal precedence was here all along.

    An Inspector General is vital for checks and balances. The Executive and Legislative branches are a two-headed snake, and won’t keep each other in check. A constitutional office that requires an Inspector General via election, is the only path to investigate state government fraud not covered by the State Auditor who only investigates issues over financial matters.

  34. In some States, judges are elected but are non-partisan elections. They are not identified with any political party, may not be, and no party is listed for the candidate.

    How about if the Inspector General could not run as part of a political party but had to run and be elected on a non-partisan basis?

  35. Oh, well then. That will certainly take care of it.

    Of course, I expect that level of realistic thinking from a person who struts about talking about Prussia.

  36. Nobody, again, you need to read “The Federalist Papers.”

    This is how our American governmental system is designed.

    You won’t learn about it in the public indoctrination centers run by the National Education Association.

    The very design and genius of America’s government, which has survived where others have failed, is that the Founders recognized the strengths and weaknesses of each tool, and then pitted one against the other.

    The Founders created multiple protections like belts and suspenders. (Do you really need both a belt and suspenders?)

    Understanding how things work in the real world, our Founders planned for multiple overlapping safeguards to protect our liberties.

    That’s why you don’t wait until a tyrant becomes Governor and has undermined all other branches of government. YOU PLAN AHEAD. You create multiple lines of defenses.

    That’s why you need a County Sherriff. You deter and discourage the expansion of centralized power, YOU DON’T WAIT UNTIL AFTER IT IS ALREADY TOO LATE.

    See conservatives seek and apply something called WISDOM. That includes planning ahead, not waiting until things go wrong.

    Liberals wouldn’t know wisdom if they tripped over it. They want to scoff and mock and argue for doing nothing until problems become so severe that it is no longer possible to solve them.

    So, Nobody, your observation that non-partisan election of an Inspector General would not solve all problems completely 100% all by itself is the kind of ALL-OR-NOTHING thinking that our Founders were well aware of, and avoided.

    Again, on every thought you have, the Founders of our country ran circles around those arguments almost 250 years ago, and weighed those concepts very carefully.

    You can benefit from their wisdom by reading their words in THE FEDERALIST PAPERS

  37. Nobody, true, the Federalist Papers present the entire political philosophy of the United States Government.

    Start out with Federalist #1:


    And remember that this was written “To the People of New York.” This was intended to be read by ordinary farmers, merchants, etc.

    Graduates of today’s National Education Association liberal indoctrination centers will struggle to read these arguments. But they were meant to be read by the ordinary person in the 1780’s.

    HOWEVER, you will learn that the concepts that underpin our entire U.S. Government include:

    1) No single precaution alone can protect our liberties or make the government work. A variety of overlapping precautions are needed.

    That is why a County Sherriff is a wise precaution — without waiting for all hell to break loose before deciding to start doing something.

    The idea is to discourage, deter, and avoid problems – not wait for problems to get out of control.

    2) Each precaution or safeguard works by pitting the ambition of each agency, official, branch, etc., against the ambition of the other.

    Pitting ambition against ambition is the core concept of our American government.

    Naturally, graduates of our gummint skrewels don’t know that.

    Having one official, or agency in opposition to the others in their ambitions and goals is how our government was designed.

    So an Inspector General whose office can only make a name for itself and be seen as successful is or can be a check and a balance against abuses and excesses of other government officials and agencies.

    But no safeguard or protection is going to be perfect or 100% reliable. Our government is designed to have multiple, overlapping protections, not to assume that one is going to be absolute perfection or total failure.

  38. Nobody
    The Federalist papers are full of warnings that safeguards are the only thing that keeps the ambitions of men from ripping our freedom apart. James Madison was an extremely intelligent man and foresaw the greed of absolute power in all of its ugliness. In his foresight, he wrote most of what became to be known as the Federalist papers.

  39. Nobody
    If you had actually read the post, you might have noticed that I included pertinent paragraphs of Federalist Paper #51, that are applicable to what Jonathan and I are saying to you in our comments. However, reiterate what has been told to you; read the entire set of Federalist Papers and you should get an idea of what James Madison warned America of, in its future.

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