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Sheriff cannot choose which laws to enforce

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that Sheriff Tim Howard stated that he would not enforce the New York SAFE Act. I guess I hadn’t realized that when law enforcement personnel took their oath of office that there was a clause that they could only enforce those laws with which they agreed. Has he let his deputies know that if they “know” that a law is unconstitutional they can choose to ignore it?

Until, and unless, an enacted law has been ruled to be unconstitutional, this is not a choice to be left up to him. All citizens of Erie County, regardless of how they view the law, should be terrified of a sheriff who feels that he can pick and choose the laws he will enforce. There are many reasons that we have three separate branches of government in this country. If we allow law enforcement officers to cross over into the judiciary by declaring laws unconstitutional, what other rights are we in danger of losing?

Remember, this is an elected office where it is quite conceivable that a future sheriff may not share your views and could, if precedent is allowed in this case to be set, select laws that you care about to not enforce. This was a very chilling statement. Fortunately, we as voters can send a message in the next election that all laws need to be enforced.

Robert Stein

East Amherst