Lyon County Sheriff Shares Thoughts on Constitutional Sheriffs Association, County’s Response to Federal and State Mandates | News from Carson City, Nevada


Lyon County Sheriff Frank Hunewill shared his thoughts on the proposal on this week’s agenda that would declare Lyon County a “constitutional county” and his support for Sheriff Hunewill joining the Constitutional Association sheriffs and police officers.

To read our previous coverage of the agenda item and CSPOA, click here.

One of the positions held by the group is that county sheriffs have the power to interpret US and state constitutions, and that they can arrest government agents and employees for enforcing laws that go to against their interpretations.

Sheriff Hunewill said he is a member of the Association, but has not brought the matter to the Lyon County Board of Directors for discussion.

KP: Can you confirm that you have joined the Association and, if so, can you explain your reason for joining the organization?

F H : Yes, I am, because I believe in the principles of the organization. Support our rights as defined by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of our State. The oath I took as a sheriff is based on these two facts. The position I defend has not changed since this all started. The fact that the BOCC (Board of County Commissioners) decided to take a stand does not change mine. The board of directors does not and should never have the power to tell me what to do. The board members took it upon themselves to draft a resolution following other Nevada counties. It may seem like he’s being pushed by me but the two decisions are really independent of each other. The unfortunate part of this whole topic is that some people have taken what some of us believe are our rights and turned it into a political issue.

KP: Do you agree with (CSPOA) that you, as the sheriff, should be able to interpret the Constitution and that the decision of which laws are constitutional should be yours? One of the points I found a little troubling was the belief that sheriffs should take it upon themselves to arrest any government agent they believe is acting unconstitutionally, such as a member of the health department applying the mask warrants. Is this something that you also believe in?

F H : I agree with you that some concepts have gone too far. I do not think it is for me to interpret the constitution and determine which laws are constitutional, but rather to have the discretion in some cases to take an active role in the application based on the facts of the moment. I agree with the concept that the county sheriff has the ultimate authority over laws that affect local jurisdictions. Regarding the arrest of government agents on the spot, this is a very broad statement. If they break the law and are an agent of the government, they are not exempt. This is where this whole issue got out of hand. We need to get back to basics and realize that our job is to keep the public safe and enforce the laws that we are able to safely make. Keep in mind that as local authorities we need a good working relationship with our federal partners because we cannot do our job alone, but neither should we be afraid to have those conversations with them when they can cross the line. We also need to go beyond our personal agendas and figure out how to work together.

KP: What do you hope to gain from being part of this group? Will any of the local policies be changed to align with CSPOA policies?

F H : What I hope is that people start to get involved in what is going on in our country. Good people with good values ​​get involved. I don’t see any of our local policies changing much. We have already dealt with the issues that have arisen responsibly. We are fortunate to live in the regions where we live.

KP: Can you tell me more about the issues you are referring to?

F H : We got out early and said we weren’t going to be the mask police. We would only get involved in the mask issue if there was a criminal offense related to it. We also did not get involved in limiting church gatherings. These are just two examples of topics that have been raised. We have a job to do despite all the twists and turns that ensue, to apply the laws that are written to the best of our ability and that have a criminal link.

KP: So, if I understand correctly, what concerns you most is NOT applying rules that you find unconstitutional, not necessarily prosecuting people who you think are acting unconstitutional. I think a major concern would be for the sheriff’s department to say, arrest a member of the county commission or health department for promulgating an ordinance that the sheriff’s office disagreed with and determined that it was unconstitutional.

F H : We are not going to engage in the application or support of laws that go against the constitution.

KP: So to be clear, the sheriff’s office won’t take it upon themselves to arrest any government official acting in a professional capacity that they (the sheriff’s office) deems to be acting unconstitutionally?

F H : I never said that. It goes back to where I started, there is a lot more to it than what people know or think. A lot of things have taken out of context. There are a number of things operationally in place that hopefully either illuminate or reduce the likelihood of any of these types of actions happening at the local level. People forget two very important words – due process – which are stated a number of times in the constitution.

Lyon County Commissioners will vote on the proclamation on Thursday, July 1 at the Lyon County Administrative Complex, located at 27 S. Main Street in Yerington.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m.

You can also watch the meeting yourself online in the following ways:
Join the Zoom meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88690040964?pwd=cUdmUUU3b3VDVDVLRUw4RlB3ZHp0dz09

Meeting ID: 886 9004 0964 / Access Code: 220631

A mobile tap: 1-253-215-8782 / Dial by your location: 1-346-248-7799

Agenda: https://www.lyon-county.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_07012021-1003


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