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POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE Wrong Answers to Tough Questions POSSE YAHOOTATUS Chambers County, host of the troubled drug task force profiled in T.O. last fall \(“The Numbers Gamer October 26, month for employing a creative method of stretching their criminal justice budget. As originally reported in the Baytown Sun, and later on National Public Radio, Sheriff Monroe Kreuzer has allowed his deputies to take armed citizens along with them on patrol. The citizens are not licensed peace officers, but they do each have concealed handgun permits, according to Kreuzer. In justifying his actions, the sheriff invoked the seldom heard and even less often understood Posse Comitatus doctrine, a term which did originally refer to the power of the county to round up citizens for law enforcement purposes \(`Get a say, more commonly associated with the federal law prohibiting the use of the armed forces as peace officers. \(Ours being a living language, the term is now frequently associated with backwoods-do-it-yourself militias. Depending on how things go in Kreuzer’s outfit, it may one day refer to the likelihood of being shot by an unlicensed sheriff’s deputy in some Kreuzer’s interpretation of American common law was not popular with the county commissioner’s court. \(And neither is Kreuzer, for in a great liability;’ Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia told the Sun. Liability seems to be a pressing concern when it comes to Kreuzer. Shortly after his election, he responded personally to a call about a stray horse on the highway. Moving fast on a foggy morning, Kreuzer ran over the horse with his brand new county SUV \(the one that reads “Paid For With Seized Drug Funds” damage to machine and animal. raised some eyebrows with his choice of deputies, including Chief Deputy Dear! Hardy, the former task force commander who, as we reported last fall, left the drug squad under a cloud of suspicion. \(Word around the courthouse has it that Hardy is In fact nobody seems too crazy about citizen cops. Will Harrell of the Texas ACLU likened the idea to the notorious vigilante civilian patrols in Central America. Charley Wilkison, political director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of metaphor: “There’s a reason we all run from a burning building and the firefighters go rushing in;’ he said. “It’s called training:’ Just before press time, the sheriff announced he was ending the citizen ride-along practice immediately. SPIKED BY CLEAT The Austin eted up the rhetoric in its jihad against the ACLU with the publication of the April issue of its monthly membership magazine, The Police Line. The issue is almost entirely dedicated to bashing the civil liberties group. APA President Michael Sheffield sets the tone in his column, “Remove the U from ACLU” in which he asserts that the advocacy group should drop the “union” because they are “nothing more than radical union bashers. \(It’s worth noting that the ACLU currently represents a police officer in San Antonio and that the American Federation of State, County, and helped sponsor the ACLU’s recent Sheffield then writes in his column: “They hate us and they are paid to make other people hate us. We need to remind the citizens who support us that belonging to the Austin ACL_ [sic] is like belonging to the Klan. It has become nothing more than a hate group out of contra’ Reached by cell phone, Sheffield is willing to concede only that his remarks might have cast too wide a net. “I don’t know about the whole ACLU, but the group in Austin has a cop-bashing agenda;’ he insists. The APA and CLEAT are particularly incensed by a failed ACLU campaign to have the Austin city council appoint a new independent police monitor after the police negotiated into their contract a provision to have the city manager select one. The two groups also object to the ACLU’s efforts to make public some complaint files against officers. “The characters involved had been butting heads for years over this;’ says Texas ACLU Executive Director Will Harrell. “Everybody’s credibility was on the line. This was a career maker or breaker for Mike Sheffield and I think that is why he took it so personally.” CLEAT’s Charley Wilkison believes the ACLU has tried to turn Austin against the police. “They are a bunch of arrogant liberals that don’t get it;’ he complains. “They don’t know what it is to put on a protective 14 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5/10/02