Georgia state Senator John Wiles in the Marietta Daily Journal today:
Cobb Sheriff Deserves Support
Recent comments by certain organizations in the community have suggested that Sheriff Neil Warren of Cobb County is doing something wrong by enforcing the Georgia and federal law concerning those arrested for crimes.
Nothing is further from the truth. As the sheriff in charge of the Cobb County Detention Center, it is his obligation to take everyone into custody brought to him (a majority of who are delivered by the Cobb County Police and the city police departments of Cobb County) and to process them for holding until an order of the court allows them to be released.
Importantly, Sheriff Warren has led the charge to protect the citizens of Georgia from those who commit crimes while in Cobb County.
Warren’s agreement to have his deputies trained pursuant to Section 287(g) of The Immigration and Nationality Act was vitally important for Cobb residents. This training allows Cobb County to comply with all federal laws and treaties concerning those non-citizens who are arrested. When we discussed this process in the Senate while considering Senate Bill 529, Sheriff Warren was one of the biggest proponents of this important legislation, which was designed to protect the citizens of Georgia.
In fact, Sheriff Warren is simply complying with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, a treaty entered into by the United States which provides that it is the obligation of all law enforcement officials holding nationals of a foreign country to immediately notify their government that the person has been arrested or is in custody pending trial. To fail to do this violates a treaty obligation of the United States, which could have repercussions on U.S. citizens arrested abroad.
Much has been made of the claim that Sheriff Warren is holding people for simple traffic violations. Keep in mind, these people have chosen to violate the laws of the State of Georgia and have been arrested because of their violation. Many of the individuals detained in the Cobb County Detention Center are charged, among other crimes, with driving without a driver’s license.
In the past legislative session, I introduced and passed Senate Bill 15, which would increase the penalty for driving without ever having had a driver’s license from a misdemeanor to a felony on the fourth offense. Repeated violations of our laws by anyone, citizen or non-citizen, should be dealt with in a severe manner by making repeated violations a felony. This bill was an important measure designed to protect the citizens of Georgia from those who are not licensed.
Remember, if you are not licensed, you have not taken a driving test and in many cases, you are unable to read the road signs, and almost always, you are driving without insurance!
While the governor chose to veto this legislation, I intend to introduce a modified version of Senate Bill 15 next year in order to continue my efforts to protect the citizens of Georgia from unlicensed drivers….
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