The Department of Homeland Security Secret Service Division received so called limited Peace Officer status from the State of Colorado in the recent passage of Senate Bill 13 whose main sponsor was Republican Senator Steve King who later added democrat House Representative Beth McCann. At final passage there were four additional Democrats that co-sponsored this bill along with eight additional Democrats from the House. No other Republicans in the House or Senate co-sponsored the bill however five republican senators voted Yes for the bill, Balmer; Crowder; Grantham; King; and Roberts. One democrat senator Steadman voted No. On the House side one republican member Cheri Gerou voted Yes and three Dems voted No, Lebsock; Levy; and Singer. Mostly the vote's casts were along party lines.
Days after the passage of SB13 there were many reports across the internet that the Secret Service had obtained new found arrest powers in Colorado so VetTheGov dug in a little deeper and requested all related documents from The Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) office. Before we reveal some of the documentation VetTheGov needs to set up all the responses from many either behind or against the bill.
Senator King on his public facebook site defended SB13 as follows:
I hear all the time about the waste of tax payer money and the lack of government doing things in the most cost effective way. SB13 is simply about the ability of the Secret Service to take a complex investigation directly to our District Attorney for local prosecution of criminals in our community. With this LIMITED police power it eliminate the redundancy and cost of the Police Department or Sheriff’s office to start all over again doing their own time consuming and expensive complex investigation just to be able to present a case to the same district attorney. Ask our District Attorney, our Sheriff or Chief of Police how much Tax payer money and local investigator time (time that can be spent investigating violent crime) is saved by this legislation. This bill is supported and endorsed unanimously by the Colorado Police Officers Standards and Training Board, by Colorado Sheriff's, Colorado Chiefs of Police, Colorado District Attorney's Council and the Attorney General of Colorado.
Mesa County Sheriff Hilkey was then asked by Mesa County Patriot president Jeff Mccloskey if he supported SB13 and he gave the following answer:
Yes Jeff, I've supported this bill. Perhaps Senator King said it best:
What SB13-013 is not about:
1) Enforcing Gun control or the 2nd amendment
2) Power to enforce or not to enforce federal gun legislation
3) Expansion of unregulated Secret Service authority and power
What SB13-013 is about:
Senate Bill 13 is public safety legislation that improves the efficacy of law enforcement via the elimination of wasteful criminal investigation redundancy between the Secret Service and local police and sheriff’s departments. The bill maintains local control in line with the 10th amendment while improving the value citizens get from local law enforcement for their tax dollar.
Who supports SB13-013?
This bill was supported and endorsed UNANIMOUSLY by the Colorado Police Officers Standards and Training Board, Colorado Sheriffs, Colorado Chiefs of Police, the Colorado District Attorney's Council and the Attorney General of Colorado.
The fact sheet you've attached is pretty accurate. I've supported because it gives local LE the ability to enlist their assistance on a more efficient basis if needed. I've seen the opposition comments on this based on the "what if" questions frankly, the support and consent of the State's local law enforcement community would evaporate in a heartbeat if we saw the abuses that some are concerned about.
Thanks for asking,
Not only did Sheriff Hilkey support SB13 he also Endorsed on Mesa County Sheriff letterhead on September 11, 2012. VetTheGov must mention that the Board of POST are all law enforcement officers in the State of Colorado and there are no civilians on this board. Basically the cards are always stacked in their favor regarding any legislative action. City of Grand Junction Police Chief Camper who sits on the POST Sunrise committee also voted to approve SB13 and allow sponsorship.
VetTheGov spoke with house Rep. Ray Scott District 55 who stated the following: "I voted No on SB13 due the language in the summary portion of the bill and basically decided the Feds have too much power already in Colorado and they didn't need any more."
House Rep. Jared Wright District 54 who put his comments regarding SB13 out on his public facebook:
"While debating SB13 today, granting Colorado peace officer (POST) status to US Secret Service agents, I began to think about the "free speech zones" the USSS constructs in areas the president will be visiting in the name of security. Here is a picture of a "free speech cage" built in the area of the 2004 Democratic National Convention which protesters were forced to stand behind to practice their First Amendment rights. And now, Colorado legislators just blindly granted more powers of arrest for "state felony AND misdemeanor crimes committed in an agent's presence" to the Secret Service working in our state - even though the Secret Service themselves told me their making an arrest of a Colorado citizen for a misdemeanor crime unrelated to their duties would violate their own policy guidelines. So why are we giving the Secret Service authority that violates the agency's own internal policies? Why didn't the red flag go up for a majority of the members of the House? Last I checked we were elected to represent Colorado citizens, not the federal government. Shame on members of the law enforcement community who supported this measure. They have willingly given up their own and their citizen's 10th Amendment Constitutional rights in the name of possibly lightening their caseloads."
In another email to VetTheGov Rep. Wright made the following comments regarding SB13:
"As written, the bill places no limits for USSS agents on the exercise of police power within this state short of these:
VetTheGov would argue that the Secret Service could use their new given powers to enforce any State law and would have the ability to make traffic stops as SB13 does not state otherwise or that they can't enforce these specifics especially now since they also have immunity to being sued. They might not write tickets but they do have the authority to stop a car if the person driving is committing a crime in their presence or a known active warrant is determined. Even Sheriff Hilkey admitted he would enforce the new gun laws if his department felt the need to arrest and charge if no others existed and the individual(s) were drug dealers and such because of liability to the taxpayers!
From a recent story in WND here are a couple of comments from republican lawmakers:
“This is absolutely insane,” Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, said. “In theory if a Secret Service agent is in a county where the sheriff has refused to enforce some of the recent unenforceable gun laws, the agent could arrest an individual if he believes the law has been broken.”
Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, said despite the bill being sponsored by a fellow Republican, the 72-hour mental hold caught the attention of several Republicans in the Senate. “This was one of the big flags for us in the bill,” Marble said. “It’s very suspicious because we have the separation of federal, state and even the local police services. Everyone has their own jurisdiction, and there is a special reason for keeping federal agents away.
Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said he was told the purpose of the bill was to make it easier to hold a person for mental health reasons. “It does give Secret Service powers in a broad sense, but I’m not sure the changes as stated will automatically change things significantly. It’s not a broad overreach, but it is an overreach. It’s one more step in the wrong direction.”
Republican Senator Kevin Grantham a Yes vote for SB13 stated the following at a recent town hall meeting when questioned on his Yes vote, "I will tell you what I’ve been telling everyone about this legislation since it’s taken on a life of its own: as far as votes go I suppose all things being equal I would probably take that one back…The one criticism leveled against the bill and against my vote, to which I humbly acquiesce, is that it does grant power where none existed before. For that alone I would like to have [my] vote back."
Colorado already has a State Statue in place regarding Secret Service powers and these have worked out just fine over the years. Usually any federal agency would have to contact local Sheriff's and inform them that they will be in their jurisdiction and reasons for the resources being brought in. When or if an arrest is needed the federal agency would request assistance from the Sheriff. Now what we will see is a true reversal of this process and with the new Peace Officer status that makes them equals. Even Sheriff Hilkey in Mesa County now understands and expressed concern over the UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of SB13 but believes the citizens wouldn't allow federal intrusion into Mesa County.
In a recent CORA request, VetTheGov determined that the Secret Service admitted they already have limited statutory authority to make arrest in Colorado if certain misdemeanors and felonies occur in their presence. The Secret Service now requested and granted via SB13 Peace Officer status for the following reasons in their POST form 12 application.
- Making probable cause arrest for state crimes committed outside their presence even if the situation involves serious state offenses (violent misdemeanors and felonies) and immediate intervention and/or assistance of a USSS agent could prevent escape, serious bodily injury or destruction of property.
- Assisting state or local officers in serving an executing state arrest warrants.
- Assisting state or local officers in serving and executing state search warrants and seizing property under state search warrants.
- Assisting state or local officers in seizing property subject to forfeiture under Colorado law.
- Assisting state or local officers in emergency procedures for putting a seventy-two hour hold on any person appearing to have a mental illness and, as a result of such mental illness, appears to be an imminent danger to others or to himself.
Further on in the 120 pages of CORA documents, a request was made to determine what the roles of the different Secret Service agents are.
- Uniformed officers-they are fully uniformed and travel in support of the President and Vice President. They do magnetometers and have bomb dogs. They could use this provision to deal with mentally ill people coming to an event without involving others. There are none assigned to Denver and only travel in support of the Pres/VP.
- Physical Security Technicians and Specialist-Plainclothes but are armed-they do all the technical stuff involving cameras, sweeps and advance work. Same reason for Colorado status as uniformed officers regarding mentally ill and any onview.
- Special Officers-One assigned to Denver office. Does support work including surveillance and wireless tracking. Works with special agents.
- Special Agents-Those are the working folks as we know-do counterfeit, fraud and dignitary protection.
Notice in the above agents given POST Peace Officer status are not involved with fraud or counterfeit cases. They may be called in to join one of these secret task forces that get assembled from time to time. Could the next task force be called enforcing 30 round magazine laws??? Only time will tell.
In another email from John Jackson Chief of Police in Colorado speaking for the Association of Police Chief's was asking for more information regarding the limitations granting Colorado Peace Officer status gave the Secret Service states, "The Secret Service bill seems awfully broad." It was never answered at least via email.
In another letter from Pete Dunbar POST Director to the Attorney General when DA Ken Buck began asking questions and having concerns, here is a portion of the letter to once again clarify the need for Peace Officer status. "The Secret Service cannot work alone on cases for state prosecution. They have a case right now on counterfeit that they cannot get an arrest warrant without having state peace officer authority. They are waiting, therefore, for the local detective, to be available to put the case together. The efficiencies created by the becoming POST certified make practical sense. They would also be able to use Colorado laws to have someone evaluated mentally who they are doing a threat investigation on. This would eliminate the need to call in local law enforcement to do the evaluation and confinement. I understand DA Buck is worried about the federal folks running around but this certification makes sense, is very helpful to state and local law enforcement and is limited."
Now when it came down to testifying for the Peace Officer status, here was the approach to be used for talking points being sent in another email from David Blake Deputy Attorney General when SB13 started losing republican backing. "All this bill does is the same thing we've done for other Federal LE, including the FBI, and it has never been abused. That is, it gives the USSS authority to work under the supervision of your local elected DA's and the Attorney General on mostly financial crimes-including identity theft and credit card or check fraud-and frees up your local law enforcement resources. Important bill, a good bill to fight fraudsters-support!" Nowhere in the bill does it mention working under the supervision of local DA's or the Attorney General. Just one of many Red Flags!
David Blake Deputy Attorney General wrote in another email when doubts were forming and citizens began to express concern, "Would love to get a R to speak but can't think of a pro-law enforcement (i.e. former Cop) in the R. House Caucus that is reasonable!" "Sounds like there is an email campaign against it and some D's are asking questions." "Apparently there is a letter writing campaign that will cause us to lose more R's than I counted last week and had a few D's say something to McCann. Haven't seen what it says. Don't know the source."
David Blake forwards this email from Rep. McCann to Secret Service agent Bruce Ward, Pete Dunbar, and Matthew Durkin, "Here is the kind of email we have been getting about the bill." Dear Beth McCann, I am opposed to expanding the powers of the Secret Service in Colorado. The track record of this agency in the past decade has been deplorable on the issue of free speech. There are many cases of this agency silencing dissenting voices. There is no sound reason for offering this bill. This is a solution in search of a problem. The potential benefits are tiny compared to the risk of further trampling basic free speech rights. Vote "NO" on SB13!"
More than like this is one of the cases this email letter to McCann was referencing and happened right here in Colorado. Remember the talking points above, "never been abused!"
In Connecticut when this similar bill allowing Secret Service Peace Officer status was met with resistance from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees and their attorney made the following comment, "Allowing the Secret Service this new appointment will take power away from both local and state police, despite their jurisdiction."
Libertarian for Colorado Governor Matthew Hess gave the following comment regarding SB13:
"SB13-013 is a bad idea. This bill creates a police force in Colorado that has no local accountability or even oath of office. We cannot expect people who have sworn no oath to properly uphold our laws. Unfortunately, this bill can even extend police powers to private contractors working for the Secret Service. Would we tolerate a blackwater security firm acting as Colorado law enforcement? I certainly would not and neither should you if you value the separation of powers and division of power between the states and federal government. This bill addresses no need and serves to only further abdicate the authority of Colorado to the federal government. Our representatives would do well to remember their authority is derived from the people and pushing an agenda that is not of the people will result in a loss of freedom and liberty here in Colorado."
The Republican Liberty Caucus wrote about SB13 prior to the votes being cast urging a NO vote. "More than being a solution in search of a problem, this bill is a terrible intrusion of Federal power into local law enforcement by an agency with expanding powers and a track record of abusing free speech rights of Americans."
These talking points were used in promotion of the bill and included one case in Colorado from 2012. Two individuals were arrested for passing counterfeit United States currency. They go on to mention no charges have been filed by either the Secret Service or the State of Colorado and nothing in the talking points mention this because the Secret Service wants Peace Officer status. If the counterfeiting is a federal crime then federal courts must handle them. It appears the forgery case might just be a little more complex and taking the DA's office a little more time. Pay attention to the fact that nowhere in the bill does it mention any cost savings and how this helps the citizens of Colorado any more then the current State Statutes offer. Smoke & Mirrors goes a long way with the Feds. This bill is a perfect example of how they obtain more and more power and control by stretching ONE small case into more federal intrusion.
The talking points also mention how the system has been set up and working well in that most of the Secret Service cases originate from local and state law enforcement agencies. So again the question arises since most Secret Service cases originate from the local and state level, WHY the need for more Secret Service powers? Simple they can now act on State laws without any resistance from local authorities. Now that federal agents are protected from First & Fourth Amendment lawsuits, let the Federal abuse continue! We now have four bills that have been passed since 2006 granting Federal Peace officer status to the following federal agents, FBI, ATF, DHS, US Marshall's, and now the Secret Service.
VetTheGov agrees now more than ever after receiving the POST documents that SB13 is exactly as thought by many citizens of Colorado that the Department of Homeland Security Secret Service divisions have even more opportunity to arrest and prosecute in Colorado when local and state law enforcement won't or without their presence being needed or notification given! No doubt this is free reign for federal agents. Surely with these new gun bills being passed the Dems who were beneficial to SB13's passing and found a "REASONABLE" Republican pro law enforcement police statist Steve King, set this bill up nicely and rolled out the red carpet for the higher powers to have their way in Colorado! Mayor Bloomberg and VP Biden are thankful for your contributions!