Citizens serving ex parte orders E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

It seems with each passing day, another proposal emerges to cut costs by giving the duties and tasks traditionally assigned to cops to civilians. Hiring more civilian employees to get cops out from behind desks and back on the street is one thing. But a proposal to allow private process servers to serve protective orders in domestic violence cases is a good way to get someone killed, according to Delegate Kevin Kelly.

In addition the proposal stands an excellent chance of putting cops in harm’s way according to  Allegany County, Maryland Sheriff Craig Robertson.

Others agree. “I am totally opposed to private citizens serving ex parte orders,” said Delegate Kelly.

Kelly was responding in an interview with the Cumberland Times News to concerns raised by the sheriff at a pre-legislative meeting recently.

Ex parte orders are usually issued in domestic violence cases by a judge without the defendant notified of the hearing in advance.

The safety of Robertson’s deputies could be compromised by the plan because they would lose the element of surprise that comes when law enforcement officers serve the order.

The law requires deputies to remove any firearms owned by the person the protective order was issued against from the residence.

Robertson is concerned because under the proposal a private process server would serve the order and then law enforcement would have to respond to remove the guns and the individual if they refused to leave.

In other words it’s a recipe for disaster.

The sheriff said he’s been informed such a proposal could make its way to the General Assembly this year.

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