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Letters

  • Petition seeks curb to fireworks use
    The Independence Day celebration of bombs bursting in air and gunshots has gotten out of hand and needs to be reined in.
  • Living through July 4 unnerving experience
    What I experienced on the Fourth of July was a war, not a celebration, as huge rocket launchers hurled bomb-sounding fireworks in the air and the fire landing on other homeowner's yards and houses.
  • Police, firefighter must choose own union heads
    Maybe if we changed the title of the union presidents to “CEO of police and fire,” the Republican City Council would allow them to be compensated for there service.
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Web letter: Officers’ first duty is to uphold Constitution, not enforce laws

The Journal Gazette had an article April 30 (“Sheriff won’t enforce future anti-gun laws”) chastising me for the premise that I would not enforce all laws.

There is a misconception that we are supposed to check our minds at the door and enforce any law regardless of how unjust, oppressive or clearly unconstitutional it is.

The sheriff’s oath of office states, “I do swear or affirm to uphold and defend the United States Constitution and the Indiana Constitution, to the best of my ability, so help me God.” Nowhere in this oath does it require any law enforcement officer to enforce all laws.

Our founding fathers knew there would be people who make mistakes, maybe even evil men, who would attempt to usurp the Constitution. When every public servant takes a solemn oath, then our Constitution has built-in safeguards at all levels, not just at the legislative and judicial levels.

In fact, officers today have a great deal of discretion on enforcing laws. For example, officers enforce traffic laws daily. However, officers often give warnings rather than a citation. The action can still be beneficial to the community by bringing attention to traffic safety.

Would it not have been wonderful if there had been a constitutional officer present in December 1955, the day Rosa Parks was arrested basically because of the color of her skin? The law was in place. However, the officer did not need to enforce it.

Oath of office or blind enforcement? As for me, I will honor my oath of office.

BRADLEY D. ROGERS Elkhart County sheriff

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