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Law enforcement problems in Colorado

This hasn’t been a great week in the news for Colorado law enforcement.

We learned a few day ago that some 350 inmates had apparently been released early and were at large. It wasn’t that long ago than Evan Ebel was released early by mistake and several weeks later murdered pizza delivery man Nathan Leon and Department of Corrections Director Tom Clemens.

Then this evening there was a story about a problem with the training of all the expensive drug-sniffing dogs used in the state. They’re all trained to detect marijuana along with other drugs, but marijuana is now legal in Colorado. If the dogs alert, handlers don’t know if it’s on marijuana or something else, so they don’t know if they can legally conduct a search. It will be expensive and time-consuming to acquire new dogs that are trained to ignore marijuana. Not a big demand for them.

But the most disturbing story by far is that sheriffs from 54 of the state’s 64 counties are suing to block Colorado’s new laws limiting the size of gun magazines and expanding background checks to private and online gun sales. The laws are set to take effect July 1. The sheriffs contend they are unconstitutional and they will not enforce them. They say its their duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Now, I know I hold some old-fashioned ideas about things, but I’ve always understood it was the duty of sheriffs to enforce the laws of the state and the counties that elected them and pay their salaries. That’s their job; that’s what they take an oath to do. But now suddenly they’re lawyers or something, deciding which laws they will and won’t enforce. Some have said as much. They will refuse to enforce the new laws because they believe them to be unconstitutional. It may take 54 elections, but those sheriffs can and should be replaced if they won’t enforce the law.

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