The state of Missouri passed its own sanctuary state bill, one that is tougher than just about any other measure in the nation. It doesn’t just bar local police from enforcing federal laws, it allows people to file a lawsuit if the police ignore the law.
I see it has ultimately a good thing, mostly because any law that lacks teeth isn’t much of a law in the first place.
However, some law enforcement officers likely feel quite differently. One, in particular, felt it strongly enough to quit.
O’Fallon, Missouri, Police Chief Philip Dupuis announced his resignation from the Department effective today. City Administrator Mike Snowden accepted Chief Dupuis’ resignation and named Major John Neske as the acting chief.
“We are sorry to see Chief Dupuis leave, but we understand why he has made this decision,” said Mayor Hennessy. “In his short time here, Chief Dupuis has made a tremendous impact on our Police Department. I am grateful to him and wish him the best, and I am confident that the brave men and women of the Department will continue to provide the highest levels of service to our community under the leadership of Acting Chief Neske.”
Chief Dupuis expressed concern over the poor wording and future unintended consequences of House Bill 85, citing that as the main reason for his sudden departure from the department. House Bill 85 was designed to protect the Second Amendment right to bear arms of Missouri Citizens and was recently signed into law by Governor Mike Parson. It creates a civil cause of action for when any law enforcement or municipal officer acts in a way that infringes on those rights. This provision is what concerns Chief Dupuis.
Dupuis claims he’s a firm supporter of the Second Amendment, but feels that he can’t do his job without sovereign immunity protecting him from civil lawsuits when he goes beyond what he’s legally allowed to do.
Much of this stems from the fact that the law in Missouri doesn’t draw a line on which federal laws are OK to enforce. Confiscating a gun from a felon, for example, would arguably open an officer up to a lawsuit, at least to hear critics tell it.
Because of that, Dupuis has resigned from his office. Frankly, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing.
Yeah, I get his point about how this might be used to attack police officers, but I don’t think that’s really going to be as much of an issue as he seems to believe. Criminals who possess guns are going to still be arrested for committing crimes. They’ll go to prison for those crimes. If Dupuis doesn’t see that, then maybe he doesn’t need to be a police chief.
Instead of trying to help figure out how officers can navigate this new environment, he opted to bail. That’s his right and since he cites his concerns about litigation making it more difficult to provide for his family, I even understand why he’s doing it. But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s bailing when his officers likely need him most.
If that’s his approach to leadership, his officers are likely to be better off with someone else at the helm.