Last Wednesday morning (April 17), I was driving past Poor Red’s and observed what appeared to be a raid by people dressed in coveralls with “Police” on the front and back. I thought that, oh, oh, someone has put their foot in it again. I did wonder who the police officers were as their uniforms were not the uniform of our Sheriff’s Department, Placerville Police or Highway Patrol. I figured that it was probably the SWAT team from the Sheriff’s Department but there were no helmets or rifles, just the bulletproof vests and sidearms.
Something big must have happened. One appeared to be a woman with bushy hair, an oriental person with a jungle hat of the Viet Nam era, and a guy with a baseball cap on. Oh well, it didn’t affect me and I went on my way. I don’t patronize Poor Red’s since I went there about 30 years ago to have some ribs. I found the bar and dining room in a haze of cigarette smoke and the ribs weren’t all that good either.
Imagine my surprise when I picked up my copy of the Mountain Democrat and there were the three individuals I saw, in full color. The article identified them as law enforcement from the Franchise Tax Board and the Employment Development Department. Huh? Since when have we had police officers in these two state agencies?
A myriad of questions arise about these people. Are they sworn peace officers? Do they have the power to serve and execute warrants issued by the courts? What is their training? What is their chain of command? Who is in charge of these people? What legislation and laws established these police departments? What rules govern their activities and responsibilities? It has always been my understanding that a warrant issued by the court must be served and executed by a sworn peace officer from the jurisdiction involved. I did not see any deputy sheriffs in view.
The “raid” was carried out by the Franchise Tax Board, the Board of Equalization and the California Department of Insurance along with the District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department. Do these state departments each have police departments and officers? What department were the pictured “Police” from? I saw no badges and the shoulder patches were unreadable. I think that we are entitled to an explanation from the District Attorney or the Sheriff, the primary law enforcement people for our county. How are we to know who anyone would be that came to our house dressed in the manner that these individuals were, who proclaim to be “Police’” from the Franchise Tax Board, for example?
Well, at least they weren’t wearing Hawaiian shirts. It is still troubling that these state departments are suddenly fielding so-called police officers dressed like they are from F Troop. I am still troubled by the sheriff’s SWAT teams dressing like soldiers. If they are law enforcement people, they should look like law enforcement people. I have written about this matter in the past and it seems to get worse instead of better. There is a legitimate reason that our cops should look like cops.