Local Peninsula Police, Border Patrol Appear at Odds

An exchange between Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Brasfield and U.S. Border Patrol Chief John Bates this week — before a packed Chimacum High School auditorium — saw an interesting confrontation, according to the Peninsula Daily News.

Bates was asked by a person in the crowd this question: what would happen if a driver refused to give identification to a federal agent at a border patrol checkpoint, writes Reporter Erik Hidle.

Bates replied they’d need help from Brasfield’s deputies.

Brasfield said no-can-do. “I’m sorry, but we would not get involved. We do not have any rights to issue an infraction in that situation,” Hidle quoted Brasfield as saying.

“The standing room only crowd erupted into a round of applause,” Hidle wrote.

And thus the saga of the border patrol’s bolstering of resources on the north peninsula continues.

To brush up on the border patrol’s checkpoint woes, click here.

To read an attorney’s account of the legalities of the border patrol checkpoints, click here.

16 thoughts on “Local Peninsula Police, Border Patrol Appear at Odds

  1. I attended the recent Border Patrol forum in Chimacum.

    The Border Patrol presentation was professional and done with powerpoint slides.
    There was major emphasis on keeping our community safe from terrorists, drug and human smugglers- this was the sell on checkpoints- more so than catching illegal immigrants. One of the slides showed planes crashing into the twin towers. The audience was respectful, but did not buy into the idea that we needed more federal government action here to make us more safe. BP was questioned about how many terrorists and drug smugglers had been caught locally- they had to admit they had not caught any. One person described those arrested as “poverty stricken immigrants”.

    BP said they were here to help our community.

    BP stated that in Washington State we are required to show Drivers license, registration and insurance when stopped by law enforcement. A citizen made the challenge that this would be the case in a traffic stop, but BP was not doing traffic enforcement work. A citizen asked what would be the penalty for not identifying one’s self to BP?

    BP said it would send you to secondary until they could determine citizenship.

    Citizen asks- what if I still do not offer any ID/information about myself- BP says they would contact our local (elected) Sheriff to come out and deal with someone operating a vehicle who refuses to show ID. Our local Sheriff said the he would not send out a deputy to become involved in this situation- audience erupts in applause. Our Sheriff will only respond to BP in cases where there is a life threatening situation/officer needs assistance etc.

    A smart and powerful presentation was made on individual rights related to the US Constitution by both Ann Benson and Shankar Narayan. Lots of confident, no nonsense info. We were told that being in the US illegally is a civil, not a criminal violation. Mr Narayan pointed out that most people arrested probably did not cross over from Canada.

    The Police Chief from Port Townsend and our Sheriff both stated that their officers would not become involved in BP actions except for life threatening, officer needs assistance situations- audience reacted with applause.

    Citizens asked questions for about 45 minutes – lining up at 2 microphones on either side of the room. About twice as many people stood to ask questions as there was time available to get to them- this was a two hour forum.

    BP seemed to be caught off guard or almost intimidated a couple of times by citizen questions and the mood of the audience. BP made the point that it would just take seconds to promptly answer a question about citizenship- those who state they are a US citizen would be quickly on their way.

    I would have asked: “How can a verbal citizenship check stop terrorists, drug smugglers, illegal aliens, or criminals?

    The professional terrorist would just say he was a US citizen, then he would be free to go- Security Theater.

    I also would have wanted to find out why BP is over here in our little sleepy part of the state when their arbitrary 100 mile zone would allow them to operate in large cities like Tacoma.


    Port Hadlock

  2. Nice……sounds like U all are having a lot of fun “baiting” the two agencies against each other. At the end of the day the Sheriff is a politician and has to pander to voters. Unfortunately when it’s all over and done with I’ve seen the other side of the coin – when John Q and company is whining, “Why couldn’t you guys have dome something to prevent this”,…..never seen a population of people that has such an anti-cop mind set……I hope it serves you well.

  3. Maybe they picked yous sleep part of the state b/c of all the human rash that live in your sleep part of the state … The sheriff should be impeached.

  4. Maybe they picked you sleepy part of the state b/c of all the human trash that live in your sleepy part of the state … The sheriff should be impeached.

  5. Shocking news.
    “…The Police Chief from Port Townsend and our Sheriff both stated that their officers would not become involved in BP actions except for life threatening, officer needs assistance situations…

    When law enforcement refuse to work together for a common cause…the Chief and/or Sheriff should be fired….or the Border Patrol should be disbanded. What is the point of having a BP when local officers refuse to work with them?

    I also would have wanted to find out why BP is over here in our little sleepy part of the state when their arbitrary 100 mile zone would allow them to operate in large cities like Tacoma….”

    Why large cities? Do terrorists limit themselves to large cities or are they smart enough to do what you think they wouldn’t..live and work in ‘our little sleepy part of the state…’?

    Disheartening that law enforcement agencies don’t bother to put up a common front but these seem rather similar to disagreeable parents in front of the kids…one disagrees with the other…not a united partnership and confusing for the kids.

    Most countries get the leadership and government the citizens demand.

    Why have law enforcement officers at all when they won’t work together for the common good?
    Sharon O’Hara

  6. The conflict in law enforcement roles has to do with the difference between Washington State law and federal law.

    In Washington State we can apply for a concealed pistol carry permit. The Federal government says that permit is void at National Parks within our state.

    Medical marijuana is legal here. The federal government does not recognize states rights in this case.

    Washington is a no internal suspicionless checkpoint/DUI roadblock state. The Federal government sees no problem with conducting Soviet style checkpoints where all citizens are treated as guilty until proven innocent here in our state.

    Local law enforcement serves local people per local law. The Federal Department of Homeland Security sees things differently.

  7. Really, no DUI check points? Do you not recall when you’re Chris(tine) Gregoire had WSP doing DUI check points last year. When you throw out a phrase such as “Soviet Style” checkpoint you only show how ignorant you are. As far as the local law enforcement not assisting, you can lay the blame on the Administration, not all the Deputies / Officers would agree. In an area like Port Townsand where they turn a blind eye to drugs, you all get what you deserve.

  8. Good points. I’ve tended to think of law enforcement as a protection for our law abiding citizens, not as little law enforcement patches here and there.

    When I voted ‘yes’ for medical marijuana I didn’t realize it would be in direct conflict to the federal government or I wouldn’t have voted yes.
    Thanks for the reminders.

    Though when it comes to national security I think local law enforcement should work with the federal government – presuming we’re all on the same side. I don’t understand why we wouldn’t.

  9. Blogger’s Note: This is in response to Dave’s post. A clarification: Gregoire had proposed DUI checkpoints, but they were met with opposition and never implemented.

  10. Thanks Josh. You should police all the blogs for fanatic misinterpretation.

    Sharon, voting for medical marijuana, even though it is in violation of the federal law, is the right thing to do. This is how change happens in our country. We send a message to the feds through the only way we can, local government.

  11. Craig, don’t we change Federal law through our legislators? It seems ridiculous to have important laws vary from state to state. Some laws should be uniform throughout the US…such as gun permitting laws and medical marijuana use.

    What does a person do on a cross country adventure on a bike when carrying a gun is legal in Washington, but illegal in other states the rider travels through?

    Or a patient who needs medical marijuana cigarettes… they would be breaking the law in some states… those states ‘should’ allow the passage of the medical use drug and gun.

    You KNOW that rider will keep the gun, legal or not through the no gun states and hope things work out.

    BUT, what happens if the bike rider has a confrontation and fires in self defense in a no gun state?
    Does that bike rider get thrown in jail?

    The important laws need changing on the Federal level first to protect the citizens as they pass through different states.
    Sharon O’Hara

  12. I did my 20 in the Marines. We had rules and regulations to follow- it all served a purpose.

    It turns out most people are not in the military and don’t want to feel like they are on a military base as they go about their daily business nowhere near an international border.

    And another thing-

    “Live Free or Die” means I have the right to raise a rifle towards whatever Boogeyman might come here to take away our American way of life…

    Some say that those who complain about checkpoints would be the first to scream if the Federal Government fails to keep us safe. The fail part has already happened. Leave us alone to go about our daily business- we’ll call when we need you.

  13. Some years ago – many years ago – I was in a long line of cars stopped for a car check. I didn’t mind, nor felt it was a violation of our ‘American way of life’..

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