On the front page of the Sunday June 8, 2013 Washington Daily News was an article titled "SBI Move Concerns Local Officials". The Daily News has been supporting those good old boy Democrats during the past few days. They are usually subtle about it but when the Democrat Sheriff Jordan and the Democrat District Attorney Edwards are upset about a Republican move to both save money and destroy one of the worst good buddy law enforcement set ups in the United States the liberal Daily News rides to their rescue.
This is about the proposed move by the Legislature to transfer the SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) from the Attorney General to the Department of Public Safety. Roy Cooper is the Attorney General. He is a Democrat.
I like the idea of saving money but I am very happy with the breakup of this good buddy system that now exists in law enforcement. This system has been politically run for the use of the insiders for a long time. When private citizens needed to get the SBI involved in a matter there has been only one thing to say; get your politics right first or nothing will happen and if the person you are complaining about has better Democrat politics than you, don't waste your time. If you can get the Feds interested you may force the SBI to do something, but it won't happen from Democrats. They always protect their own.
Up until now this political structure has worked well for the insiders. With Democrat Governors, a Democrat Attorney General running the SBI, and Democrat District Attorneys, the Democrats had a lock on the justice system. Now that the Republicans are in charge they are not wasting any time in moving the SBI to a place where it is very visible to the public with both an elected official (the Governor) and his appointee (the Director of Public Safety) accountable. Why do you think Governor Pat is doing that foot shuffle thing, saying he never asked for this and does not really want it? Both he and the Attorney General will be responsible. They will have to oversee each other. It is called "checks and balances". What a wonderful concept. The Attorney General is a Democrat and the Governor is a Republican, someone may actually get justice without having to ask for a political favor.
District Attorneys do not like this for the same reason as the Governor. There are a lot of investigations that do not go forward without a request from the local District Attorney to the Attorney General. And, for the most part, the SBI does not come into a county without first letting the Sheriff and District Attorney know. Games are played, with the District Attorney saying, "I asked and the Attorney General decided not to investigate". If the system is changed, the public can go to the disinterested third party, the Governor, and say your Director of Public Safety did not do his job, what gives? Governor Pat will be on the public hot seat and he cannot use the law as an excuse like the Attorney General does. The public will have a way to hold all of these political birds accountable.
The Sheriff is in a pickle on this one. That extra level of bureaucracy he is concerned about is the one that documents what he has been doing or not doing. With the public spot light that comes with the involvement of the Governor's office and the Director of Public Safety directing the SBI, it would become real easy to ask what the Sheriff did, if anything. No longer can District Attorneys and Sheriffs deny SBI investigations simply because neither of them conveniently bothered to even ask for an investigation. It looks like checks and balances to me. Is not that what the framers of the Constitution intended?
The Sheriff can no longer hide behind the District Attorney who hides behind the Attorney General. This means the Sheriff will actually have to investigate, the District Attorney can spend his time trying cases and the Attorney General will have a hard time covering anything up. Checks and balances. All these guys are going to feel naked for a while. It is going to be real interesting to see a Democrat District Attorney join hands with a Republican governor to prosecute anyone. This also allows the Attorney General to actually become the State's Attorney instead of worrying about petty theft in some county office.
Beaufort County Commissioner Hood Richardson making himself perfectly clear: Above. photo by Stan Deatherage
SBI agents are going to feel funny for a while. They have been muzzled for so long. Agents will actually be able to do their job without looking over their shoulder. The biggest file in the Director of Public Safety's office will be the cold case file. There has to be a lot of back tracking to do.
I have a lot of confidence in Kiran Shannahan, the Director of Public Safety. He is a lawyer with ties to Eastern North Carolina. Shannahan was one of the first to become very active about property rights and the taking of land by the government for private use. He knows and is close to the Constitution.
Even with a system in which all the players are Democrats or all are Republicans this move will root out almost all of the corruption within the system simply because the process is a lot more open for public viewing and questioning.
I "ain't" worried about moving the SBI from the Attorney General to the Department of Public Safety. Why? Because all of the bad actors are worried. Checks and balances.