Henderson County sheriff raises concerns in letter to Polk sheriff

Published 3:31 pm Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In recent months there have been several occasions when deputies assigned to your agency have entered Henderson County during the course of controlled/undercover narcotics purchases, informant cultivating, or other activities and have failed to notify Henderson County. Law enforcement officers involved with narcotics operations face tremendous officer safety issues even under the best of circumstances.

As a fellow sheriff, I can assure you my agency stands ready and willing to assist yours in any way possible. However, despite requests from my staff and I, regarding notification, deputies from Polk County continue to operate inside Henderson County without jurisdiction, and not in compliance with our mutual aid agrement. This could lead to jurisdictional and/or liability issues involving purchasing/locating narcotics or any other type of evidence, in this county and removing it to another. Officers acting outside of their jurisdiction or mutual aid agreements are considered to be civilians. This scenario potentially places our officers arresting other law enforcement personnel who are outside their jurisdiction for performing criminal enterprises while acting under the color of the law.

Additionally, I have received two calls from citizens concerned that my department was not taking action against alleged drug transactions. On both occasions your employees were present at the locations indicated. I spoke with Hendersonville Police Department Captain Doug Jones, who also related such an occurrence. These incidents are giving Henderson County citizens the impression we are corrupt, not investigating drug activity, or both.

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I again request that your agency notify our narcotics unit or any of my supervisors prior to your staff entering Henderson County for the purpose of an investigation or arrest. This will prevent duplication of efforts and will avoid the potential for our officers being unknowingly opposed to one another. With officer safety in mind, I will be forced to void our mutual aid agreement if failure to notify my agency should occur again.

Federal, state and local jurisdictions routinely enter Henderson County for a multitude of reasons, and after proper notification, perform tasks. This benefits law enforcement officers and citizens, since our agency can provide manpower and logistical support to help the requesting agency safely and effectively conduct operations.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. If you have any questions regarding this request, please do not hesitate to call.

Rick Davis

Sheriff, Henderson County