Sussex County Delaware

Lights Come off
2 Sheriff Vehicles

 
Sheriff Vehicles ...

Sheriff Requests Removal
While Appealing Suspensions

By ERIC MAGILL
Sussex County Online Publisher

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GEORGETOWN -- The red and blue emergency lights that led to the suspension of vehicle registrations for all five Sussex County Sheriff Department cars came off two of the cars on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2000.

Sussex County Administrator Robert L. Stickels said that Ron Stoner, an attorney retained by Sheriff Robert L. Reed, requested that lights be removed from two of the vehicles while the sheriff appeals Delaware Department of Public Safety Secretary Brian J. Bushweller's suspension of all five sheriff vehicle registrations.

Stickels said the lights were removed from two of the sheriff vehicles on Thursday and that the registrations for those vehicles had been reinstated at 3:30 p.m. The vehicles will be available for use by the sheriff's department at the start of business on Friday.

The sheriff's department has been without use of the vehicles since their regisrations were suspended by Bushweller on Friday, Oct. 20, 2000.

Sheriff's deputies had been mainly working in the office and serving criminal subpoenas since the suspensions. Myrtle Thomas, chief deputy of the Superior Court, said the vehicle registrations had not caused a hardship or backlog in the court system.

"It's still business as usual," she said on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Sheriff Reed, an elected county official, has been in a year-long battle with Sussex County Council and Bushweller over the powers Sheriff Reed believes the state's constitution gives him.

The sheriff believes a couple of passages in the constitution and the Delaware Code that imply the sheriff and deputies are police officers entitles the department to exercise police powers such as arrests and traffic stops and entitles the sheriff's vehicles to be equipped with lights.

But Bushweller disagreed with the sheriff's interpretation of those passages and ordered that the lights be removed from the sheriff's vehicles by Oct. 20 or the vehicles' registrations would be suspended.

In addition, State Solicitor Michael J. Rich determined that the passages the sheriff referred to do not make the sheriff and deputies police officers and pointed to other passages that he says show that the sheriff and deputies are not police officers.


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