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Letter to the Editor: Jurisdictions and their problems
Opinion

Anyone that has spent any time with law enforcement or courts of law gets the hard lesson about jurisdictional disputes. The first defense that is offered is that “you don’t have jurisdiction.”  It is a great defense if you need one and it is about the first one raised.

And boy, do we have jurisdictional boundaries everywhere in the USA. Cities, towns, municipalities, counties, states and then the big one, the federal government. They are in a constant tug-of-war about jurisdiction. Since the City of Dawsonville has raised the possibility of another law enforcement layer within the county, I want to focus a little on the potential problems with that idea.

Generally speaking, city police officers can only arrest people within their city boundaries. Hot pursuit may give them the right to go outside their city boundaries but it becomes an iffy thing if it is disputed at trial. 

So if a police officer of the proposed new city police force wants to go and investigate or arrest an evildoer, that officer will have to be sure they have jurisdiction. That is, they must be within the boundaries of the City of Dawsonville. 

And here is the rub. The land boundaries of the City are very complicated. It is very hard to tell when you are in the city and when you are out. To mark them with signs is going to cost a very large sum of money. The shape of the city is unique.




My recommendation is that we not spend the money to create problems. Our existing sheriff’s department is already set up and structured to handle law enforcement in the city. If the majority of the citizens want to spend even more money on law enforcement, our sheriff’s department can do that and we don’t need the additional jurisdictional arguments.

 

Gary Pichon

Marble Hill

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