Swope: PCSO must abide by the U.S. Constitution
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (Sept. 17, 2012) – Scott Swope, the Democratic candidate for Pinellas County sheriff, said today that, as sheriff, he will demand that all PCSO personnel adhere strictly to the requirements of the U.S. Constitution when they investigate alleged crimes, gather evidence or seek search warrants.
Swope noted that time and money spent by the current interim sheriff, Bob Gualtieri, have been wasted when it was learned that detectives lied or falsified evidence as they investigated alleged marijuana grow houses in the county. Gualtieri has failed to take responsibility for the failures, instead blaming them on the actions of a few individual investigators.
All citizens are at risk when local law enforcement agencies and personnel fail to play by the rules and respect the guarantees contained in the constitution, Swope said. That sort of behavior will not be tolerated in any agencies that he heads.
“Personnel who break the law, violate the Constitution and lie about evidence weaken the law enforcement process and put all citizens at risk,” Swope said. “Investigators who engage in such behavior often feel that they have the tacit approval of their superiors. I will make it very clear that that sort of behavior will not be tolerated.”
Swope recently added a position paper on the subject to his campaign website. The paper points out that, in the case of Gualtieri’s Sheriff’s Office, criminal charges were dropped and huge amounts of taxpayer dollars and investigatory time were wasted.
“Even more important than the money is the distasteful reality that we have had a law enforcement agency in Pinellas County that has thought little of the U.S. Constitution,” Swope’s position paper says. “Constitutional protections are our most sacred and valuable possessions as Americans, and they must never be violated by law enforcement agencies. When it comes to the Constitution and police Investigations, the ends must never overshadow the means.”
Scott Swope is the Democratic candidate for sheriff, running against Gov. Rick Scott’s appointee, interim sheriff Bob Gualtieri. Swope, a former traffic homicide investigator and magistrate, is running on a platform focused on violent crimes, traffic safety, crimes against seniors and children, human trafficking, and responsible gun ownership. He has broad support across party lines includes numerous current and former elected officials, the AFL-CIO, and the Libertarian Party of Pinellas County.
Editors Note: Scott Swope has been endorsed by Adrian Wyllie and Alex Snitker, managing partners of the 1787 Network.