Friday, April 15, 2011

The Wistful Sheriff of Greenhill Gap

Sheriffs, unlike chiefs of police, are political animals. Seemingly they don't need experience, or even good reviews, and certainly not good grammar, in order to win election, especially if they're the incumbent. Recently, we've received some requests for information on how to impeach a county sheriff. Here it is, in the "for what it's worth department."

State law lists these causes for removing an elected official from office:

  • Willful neglect of duty.
  • Incompetency.
  • Corruption in office.
  • Intemperance in the use of intoxicating liquors or narcotics to such an extent in view of the dignity of the office and importance of its duties unfitting for an officer to discharge duties.
  • Any offense involving moral turpitude while in office or committed under color thereof or in connection.

  • and then...

    A grand jury investigates allegations.

    It shall be the duty of every grand jury to investigate and make diligent inquiry concerning any alleged misconduct or incompetency of any public officer in the county which may be brought to its notice.

    If a grand jury finds that an official has committed any one of the offenses in the law and should be removed from office, it must report the finding to the court.

    State law gives citizens the right to file allegations for impeachment against an official.

    Any five resident taxpayers of the division, circuit, district, county, city or town for which the officer sought to be impeached was elected or appointed may institute proceedings of impeachment under Sections 174 and 175 of Article 7 of the constitution upon giving bond, with sufficient sureties, payable to the officer sought to be impeached.

    Now after all that stodgy legalese, we'll inject some humor that has been making the rounds:

    Recently, a bank executive and an FBI agent were touring the various law enforcement agencies in the area. Everything went fine until they arrived at the County Sheriff's Department.

    At the conclusion of the tour, the FBI agent reportedly asked the sheriff to '....let him know if there was anything that the FBI could help him with?'

    The sheriff is reported to have looked up at the ceiling, pondered for a moment then said. 'You know, we really could use some help with Animal Control.'