Sheriff Mack: Upholding rights, not enforcing law, purpose of police and sheriffs

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Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald Former Graham County, Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack spoke on the constitutional responsibility of law enforcement officers Friday in Moses Lake.

MOSES LAKE — It’s not the job of police officers and sheriff’s deputies to write tickets, break down doors or bust drug users, according to former Graham County, Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack.

In short, it’s not the job of “law enforcement” to “enforce the law,” Mack explained. Rather, the job of sworn peace officers is to “secure these rights” outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

“We, the law enforcement community, our job is to guard the republic, guard the Constitution, and guard our liberty,” Mack told a group of people gathered at Big Bend Community College’s Wallenstien Theater on Saturday night.

“Liberty. That’s what we are after. That the goal here. Not writing tickets or seizing homes,” he said.

Mack was in Moses Lake to speak on behalf of the organization he founded, Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), and let concerned Grant County residents know that there is “a peaceful, effective and constitutional solution” to the problem of a federal government run amok.

And that solution involves sworn peace officers — police and sheriff’s deputies — adhering to their oaths as put forth in Article Six of the U.S. Constitution, Mack said.

“We can take America back one county and state at a time,” he said. “Sheriffs and chiefs of police have a duty to uphold the Constitution.”

If law enforcement did that job, Mack said there would be far fewer innocent people languishing in prison.

“Our job is to secure rights,” he said.

As an example of how peace officers should behave, he showed a video of an Albany County, New York deputy who was asked by managers of the local airport to remove a young woman who was handing out pamphlets informing people they could opt out of a full body scan at airport security. The deputy refused, saying that she was perfectly entitled by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to hand out pamphlets in the airport.

“How many deputies would have done this?” Mack asked. “He’s got it right.”

And as an example of how peace officers should not do their job, Mack showed a video of a Stockton, California, man whose apartment was stormed by deputies early one morning because his wife — who was not there at the time — was delinquent on her student loan payments.

“It’s hard to do your job right when you don’t know what it is and you aren’t trained the right way,” he said.

No peace officer has a duty to enforce “unjust laws,” Mack said. And whether a law is just or not is not solely the responsibility of the courts, Mack added.

“The person who swore the oath has the responsibility,” he explained. “They have to know and understand and love and cherish the Constitution.”

That’s what CSPOA does — it informs law enforcement officers and local elected officials of the constitutional responsibility of the oath they swore when elected or appointed to their positions.

Because local, county and state governments are not merely administrative appendages of the federal government, Mack said, and cannot be compelled to enforce federal laws.

“The feds are not our boss,” he said.

Mack reminded those gathered that they can start small, with their local elected officials, and once people “achieve liberty” locally, “it will catch on.”

“We bestow all power. Are we forgetting that? We can take it back,” he said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at

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