Print Column: We Are Too Deferential to Law Enforcement


MINOT, N.D. — America’s vast military might resides under civilian control. The commander-in-chief of our armed forces is the President of the United States, and for good reason.

Law enforcement, too, is under civilian control. Or it’s supposed to be anyway. Given the deference shown toward cops it can seem like the tail is wagging the dog.

Take, as a case in point, the recent failure of HB1442 before the state Senate in Bismarck. This bill would have outlawed the use of DUI checkpoints as a law enforcement tactic. The stop and search of every motorist along a given stretch of road has, through an astounding feat of legal gymnastics, been upheld by the courts as constitutional.

But we needn’t go to the Constitution in arguing against the tactic. The checkpoints don’t seem to accomplish much of anything outside of running up overtime for the cops.

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