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Delaware AG's office: Sheriffs cannot make arrests

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February 25, 2012

Delaware: Delaware's Attorney General's Office has ruled that county sheriffs do not have the authority to make arrests. Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher had contended that, as "conservators of the peace," sheriffs can make arrests.

AG solicitor Lawrence W. Lewis wrote the ruling, and stated that county sheriffs should seek clarification from the Delaware General Assembly on issue, but that his interpretation of current law excludes sheriffs and other "peace officers" from police authority. Lewis noted that Delaware law prohibits sheriffs from getting police training, and therefore, "It would be unreasonable to... allow any so-called 'peace officer'... to have that same power of arrest without having undergone the same training."

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