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Michael Savage, a nationally syndicated radio commentator who's ratings are soaring, is calling for local Sheriffs with support from the Homeland Security Agency to deputize all able bodied gun owners as Homeland Security Deputies. These Deputies would assist in counter terrorism efforts and in major crimes like the DC sniper. The idea is based on the posses that Sheriffs used to raise in the past, and in most jurisdictions still have the authority to create, when more help was needed. Savage pointed out that despite the varity of capabilities or limitations of these inexperienced Deputies that a large number of alert and observant people who are able to defend themselves and those around them would provide valuable information and a strong deterrent.

What do you think?

This idea will of course never be more than the pipe dream of a sometimes rabid but often inciteful radio guy, but I think something like this could have real merit. Selection would need to be a bit more careful than Savage suggests, but that volunteer, partime Deputies have been helpful adjuncts to professional law enforcement in the past and could be again seems obvious. On several fronts we are clearly in situations that, much like the cases posses were formed for, are beyond the current capabilities of our LE agencies. Having regular citizen volunteers form a key component of our Homeland Security Force under the direction of local Sheriffs (the most local and directly answerable of elected officials) seems to me to be an almost sure assurance against both bloated bureaucracy and the abuse of civil liberties.

I certainly like hearing something in the national media that acknowledges both the caliber (pun intended) of most shooters and hunters; and that personal firearms can, should, and indeed do contribute to our security.

Fireplug
 

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This basic idea is good, but it needs work...the Devil is in the details. There needs to be a specific plan for every area, and the use of citizens needs to be specifically worked into it.

All "deputies" would need background checks, training and certification. I would invalidate any existing conceal carry permits and allow only long guns for "carry" for defensive purposes, and only in vehicles.

We really need eyes and ears a lot more than guns in these situations. Confrontation at close range is NOT something we want for volunteers. 99% of all duty time should be in vehicles making observations.
 

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I see a problem with this idea

I know a fair number of shooters, close to 50% , that I would be very uncomfortable with running around with loaded firearms and 50 cents worth of authority. Then there are the Marshall Dillon Want A Be's.
I like my lawmen to have passed some mental, emotional testing before they are turned loose. In addition, a bit of education, as to the law, would help my sense of uneasiness at the thought of some of the Yahoos from Craigsville, Va. running loose with badges and loaded guns.
No I'll be content with the Lawdogs we have.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #4
This basic idea is good, but it needs work...the Devil is in the details.
Loader's statement sums up my thoughts on this concept well. In fairness a radio show as a forum does not allow the presentation of a detailed plan, but rather is a medium for the broad strokes of a concept and hopefully one provacative enough to generate spirited calls.

I do not see the connection to invalidating concealed carry permits. Perhaps, it makes good sense to require that while acting as Deputies arms be carried in plain view; but I can not see invalidating someone's permit as a "reward" for agreeing to aid their community.

Eventhough I am still in my thirties I have seen the Constable of the small town I grew-up in and the Sheriff of the rural county both Deputize just regular citizens when they needed help. Saying this makes the points that this is not simply an outdated wild west idea, and that I have seen how this in microcosm has been made to work. I have to differ with the ideas stated about trying to convert these Citizen Deputies into quasi regular cops. I think that by "professionalizing" them with training, uniform, and such your would discourage the very people best suited and recruit the wanabes you want least. The way I think this could work best is with no more than a weekends training on the basics, selection by invitation and recomendation only, plainclothesed with only an ID, and very strictly part time and volunteer.

I think that the last thing you want in this role is the light version of the twentysomething, shaved headed, sap gloved types we often see in patrol cars these days. What you want is the lumber yard manager, the real estate agent, the charter pilot, and the pharmacist to all give one weekend for training and a couple of observant hours two or three days a week (that they want to as soon as possible to devote again to their hobbies and friends) to protect their community.

Fireplug
 

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The carry permits would be replaced with a different permit for the duration of the deputized status. The idea is to make them agents of the state through the local community for liability purposes.

In addition, the role of a side arm would be questionable. The role is best limited to observation made from a vehicle, and radio or cell phone communication. Protection should be a shotgun, period. If you are not in your car, you don't have the deputy status.

In the real world, deputies on foot, carrying hand guns, will not work without some very sticky legal issues and liability problems.

The eyes and ears deserve to protect themselves, in the unlikely event that they need to. They cannot intervene in ANY crime they observe, AND are duty bound to report it and gather sight evidence.

With this type of approach, it is possible that the general population would welcome or accept such a program on a temporary basis.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I think that it would work well, if the new deputies were paired with a regular officer. The officer's car already has a shotgun, run the newbie through a qual course. Handguns - probably not a good idea. Personally, if the fecal matter hit the fan, I'd just as soon have a long gun, though I am quite fond of my Taurus Ti .357.

Perhaps a quick course on radio call signs and a few basic emergency procedures.

I have ridden with a neighbor who is a police officer and it is quite an experience. It does help an officer to have an extra set of eyes/ears, more so than you would think. And as far as weapons go, well, I showed him how to field-strip his 870 .....
 

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Well, it was a sharp eyed citizen that called in the location of the suspects this AM. In spite is police disclaimers that these suspects may not be the "snipers", this time we have them.

The disclaimer cuts down on efforts to kill the suspects, and keeps the community vigilant in case more are involved.
 
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