Imbedded feds and the law E-mail
Written by Mark Nichols   

We do our best at APB to figure out what’s what as far as the goings on in the public safety profession. But there are times when despite our best efforts we wind up drawing a blank. In this issue we have an article about the State Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s decision to eliminate the requirement for warrants for vehicle searches. Essentially cops in the Key Stone State now have the same level of authority as federal agents with agencies like the DEA and FBI to conduct searches without having to get a judge to sign off on the probable cause.

If you read American Police Beat, you might remember a few items dealing with the fact that the Department of Homeland Security is actively imbedding agents in local law enforcement agencies.

Forget the POST certification issues there - this is a lot simpler.

If a DHS employee is working out of a local law enforcement agency where, unlike Pennsylvania now, they are still required to get a warrant for vehicle searches (we’re assuming the non-voluntary searches), does that requirement extend to the federal agent in that local law enforcement agency?

And if not, does that mean an officer from the same agency who didn’t want to bother with a warrant for a vehicle search can call the DHS employee to the scene and conduct the search under his authority as a fed?
Command and control just ain’t what it used to be and if any readers out there have a read on this we’d love to hear from you.

We’re not lawyers and getting one to answer a basic question is frequently too expensive for a small business like ours to afford.

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