A week has gone by Since Barry County Sheriff Dar Leaf took to his page on Facebook to talk about the US Constitution. Specifically, the Sheriff wanted to make sure Barry County residents and those who follow him on social media are aware of how the Constitution looks at a key area of law enforcement.

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The Sheriff used the terms “posse” and “Posse Comitatus”. Some people apparently got alarmed. An area TV outlet reports it was contacted by some of those people so it looked into the situation. Its coverage included contacting an area professor and the head of the state Sheriff’s association. Both are less than enthusiastic about what the Sheriff relayed on in his post.

It’s worth noting that since the post was published, it has picked up reactions from 645 people, garnered 7 dozen comments, and has been shared by nearly 300 people. Most of the comments are positive and supportive of the Sheriff’s comments. This appears to be the passage that caught the most attention.

“In Michigan the Sheriff has the power and duty to make “hue and cry” to the posse’ to ferret out all criminal activity.  The correct term is “Posse’ Comitatus” which is “the power of the county”.  The Sheriff may command to duty any able-bodied men age 15 and older.  The Sheriff possesses this power at the “common law” from centuries of

Sheriff Leaf says, "The Posse’ is not to be confused with the Militia. The Posse’ derives its power from the county through the Sheriff while the Militia is a subset of the people alone.  I recite these powers to educate my readers of the importance of local control.”

Sheriff Leaf cites an example in his post that many are doing their own follow-up research on. “With riots destroying our cities in the late 1960s’ there was a case made in the form of a law suit that went to the supreme court called “Baltimore V. Silver”, 263 Md. 439 (1971).  Business owners sued for damages the city of Baltimore for failure to suppress the riot.  Baltimore said that they were not responsible for damages because of the nature of the destruction.  Maryland Supreme Court held that the city was responsible for damages because they failed to use the power of “Posse’” to suppress the rioters.  “…any official responsible to conserve the peace must raise the posse’, if necessary, in order to suppress rioting.”

There are some who think this kind of information is undermining the state and the nation. When looking at how the information is being presented, it seems rather straightforward. Some people apparently forget the Constitution is the underlying law of the land. Sheriff Leaf concludes his post with the following comment. “So, if in the future rioting becomes a threat or an Attorney General calls it an ideology, you will better understand our duty as a county and as a people.”

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