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Media Statement on Libertarian Party and TSA

August 12, 2011


The Florida Sheriffs Association respects and values an organization’s right to rally about issues that are important to them as a way to draw attention to their issue and seek support for their cause.

After speaking with the party’s leaders we understand the reason for today’s Florida Libertarian Party rally in an effort to urge Florida Sheriffs to arrest Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees who search passengers at checkpoints in airports across the nation for violating the fourth amendment.

However, it is our belief that TSA officers who conduct these searches are simply performing their duties as defined by the federal government and are not violating the federal or state constitution. It is the job of Florida Sheriffs to serve and protect our citizens, not to arrest citizens who are attempting to do the same.

While we understand the frustration the group has with the current system, we do not believe this matter should be handled in the criminal court and Sheriffs will not arrest TSA officers who are performing their jobs as outlined by TSA and authorized by Congress.

Federal courts have held that, while the Supremacy Clause in the US Constitution allows Congress to enact legislation free of any impediment or interference by state law, it jointly serves to prevent state law or state law officials from interfering with or otherwise impeding federal officers as they perform their lawful duties.

A thorough legal analysis supports our position that Florida’s Sheriffs cannot arrest the federal TSA officers who are executing their duties as prescribed by federal law because this would be impeding the federal officers from performing their lawful duties. Simply put, the Sheriffs have no authority to arrest the TSA officers who are performing their assigned duties.

As Sheriffs we are on the frontline everyday and we have and will continue to take appropriate law enforcement action to bring those who violate our laws to justice. This is why we have aggressively targeted pills mills, meth labs, Internet sexual predators and other criminal elements that would destroy life and property if left unchecked. As Sheriffs we know this is the work that is truly keeping the citizens in the state of Florida safe from danger and we pledge to continue this work with the support of local citizens and our law enforcement partners.