Long ago, before the Delaware State Police were established, in areas that were not incorporated towns, there either was someone to enforce law and keep the peace or there was not and it was like Afghanistan. And if there was someone, the only Delaware constitutional office to do it that I am aware of would have been the county sheriffs. If that is true and if the constitution has not been changed, then sheriffs still have whatever authority they had then and nothing short of an amendment to the constitution changes that. Passing some goofy house bill does not do it and a county ordnance is nothing short of ridiculous. The constitution says that the governor has the power to veto bills passed by the legislature and also that sheriffs are conservators of the piece. If the legislature passes a law that the governor can no longer veto anything, does it mean anything? No! Same with the sheriffs.
If they get the courts to say that sheriffs never had law enforcement powers, it would seem to overturn whatever convictions that might have occurred following illegal arrests and detainments by sheriffs and their deputies from 1897 forward and reimbursment and restitution are due to the affected people’s families.
If the Sheriffs of Sussex County ever had authority to make arrests, they still do. Senate Minority Leader F. Gary Simpson seems smart enough to realize this but wants to straddle the issue a little:
Senate Minority Leader F. Gary Simpson, R-Milford, said he does not believe Delaware sheriffs have arrest powers but he could not support HB 325 because he thinks the bill itself might be unconstitutional.“It deletes the powers of a constitutionally elected office,” said Simpson, who was recorded as “not voting.”
Either get busy with amending the constitution or shut up about it. I don’t care which.