I am highly frustrated with you. Over two years ago, we had a bill that would have required Federal agents to seek approval from the local sheriff before serving any sort of warrant. If Federal agents proceeded without this particular check and balance, they could be held accountable for anything they did, as though they were an non-uniformed citizen performing the same actions. Going in with guns drawn would be considered brandishing a weapon, or even armed robbery. Taking peoples’ possessions would be theft. Holding them at gun point would be kidnapping. This is reasonable, because we can not vote FBI agents, fish and wildlife agents, etc out of office, but we can vote a sheriff out of office, if he becomes oppressive. (Well, at least more reasonably so than a federal agent.) A year after the bill was introduced, Federal Fish and Wildlife agents stormed the offices of Gibson Guitar for the second time in 2 years, without a warrant being served either time, and took a million dollars worth of the owner’s possessions, which as far as I know have yet to be returned. This terrorizes the people who work in these places. Yesterday, FBI and IRS agents, sadly along with Knoxville police, stormed Pilot’s headquarters. As you know, this is the company associated with our governor Bill Haslam, and his family. The SWAT style raid appears to be over paperwork regarding rebates given to some of Pilot’s customers. The employees still don’t know if there is even a criminal charge in this. This is a very difficult way for the Haslams to find out what the people as Gibson felt like. This is not the proper way to look for problems with paperwork, and it is terrorizing the citizens of this state. When this bill was in committee last year, you and Mr. Yeager walked out. I talked to Joe Carr and Stacey Campfield about running this legislation yet again this year. Joe did not submit the bill, because Ms. Harwell had instituted a 15 bill limit, but he left one slot open until the last possible moment in hopes of running this bill. The reason he did not submit it, was on Mr. Campfield’s advice, that it would be a waste of a bill slot, because he felt you, and Mr. Yeagar would kill this bill in committee, just like you had the previous year. Thus, I called your office. While I never could get in a direct conversation with you, your secretary finally delivered the message that you don’t comment on bills not yet in committee. This was a worthless answer, that did nothing to move the bill along, because we needed to know if you’d kill the bill again, before we wasted the time trying to push it through the process. If anything, that comment is what effectively caused the bill to die yet again. I want to make sure you know, that you are responsible for the lack of checks and balances that made this raid on Pilot possible. If the bill had passed, it would have at least required Sheriff Jones to be notified. He could have either signed off on it, or decided to serve the warrant himself. A sheriff who cares for those who vote for him, might have been more delicate in how he proceeded with the investigation. Otherwise, if he simply signed off on it, and the raid was done in this manner, that would have been a potential issue come election, for a public that is fed up with this type of abuse from law enforcement. That’s why this is called the constitutional sheriff bill. In the end, law enforcement is supposed to be accountable to those they SERVE and PROTECT. We aren’t supposed to be their serfs, such that they can come charging into our villages, swords drawn, to terrorize us. I hope, one day, you come to realize how messed up the checks and balances have become, and the importance of positions such as sheriff, constable, citizen grand jury, and a proper grand jury foreman are. The fact, we have corrupted these offices, is the very reason we see out of control law enforcement today. Pilot is far from an isolated example. It just happens to be the governor’s company.
Samuel David Duck