Nationalizing Law Enforcement

by Harvey Carpenter

On September 13, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law the "Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994," better known as "The Crime Bill." Joe Biden, who was then a Senator from Delaware, drafted the Senate version of the legislation. Within the bill's 356 pages was a provision that funded 100,000 new police officers.

On September 12, 1994, then Charlotte City Councilman Mike Jackson (Republican) submitted a resolution to the Charlotte City Council proposing that the city of Charlotte would NOT accept any funds apportioned to Charlotte by "The Crime Bill" for additional police officers.

I and two others appealed to then Mayor Richard Vinroot (Republican) and the entire City Council to SUPPORT Councilman Jackson’s resolution. In our presentations, here were some basic points that we asked everyone to consider (link to VIDEO).

  • Wasn't "The Crime Bill" legislation a gross infringement on the Bill of Rights (and more specifically the Tenth Amendment), which delegates all specific powers within the Constitution not enumerated to the Federal Government to be reserved to the States and to the People?

  • Federal mandates will ALWAYS accompany Federal subsidies - every time, without exception. In other words, there is no money received by Local and State governments from the Federal government that does not also come with directives on how that money may be used.

  • How necessary was it for the city of Charlotte to receive Federal funding in order to provide police services? Was Charlotte not sufficiently viable economically to fulfill this important need of the Community, without looking to the Federal government for financial assistance?

  • It was NOT an oversight by our Founding Fathers that local law enforcement was reserved to State and Local jurisdictions and was therefore, by design, separated from the Federal Government and the US Military.

  • Accepting Federal funds for local policing was a very dangerous precedent that would further the slippery slope towards centralizing law enforcement powers under the Federal government, and away from the States and Local Police.

The Charlotte City Council's response? An almost unanimous rejection of Councilman Jackson's resolution. Amongst the discussions between Council members prior to voting was heard a snicker or two, along with a quip by then Mayor Richard Vinroot that "there must be a full moon out tonight." One Councilman’s response during the discussion, Republican Pat McCrory (who would later become Governor of North Carolina) stated that he would rather see Richard Vinroot's Charlotte receive the appropriated funds than Washington DC's Marion Barry receiving the money.

Almost thirty years later the march towards a centralized and nationalized US law enforcement continues, unfortunately at rapid speed.

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