Democrats in Delaware have resuscitated a legislation plan that would declare sheriffs in the state have no power to make arrests after a GOP proposal on the dispute was abruptly withdrawn by sponsors.

Unlike police chiefs, who are hired by government officials, sheriffs are elected by the people and historically have been recognized as a highest-ranking law enforcement officer in a county.

In Delaware, the office of sheriff is a constitutionally created position similar to the secretary of state or attorney general and demands, “The sheriffs shall be conservators of the peace within the counties . . . in which they reside.”

The initial legislation, HB 290, was proposed at the behest of Sussex County officials who took issue with their sheriff, Jeff Christopher, who is attempting to restore the office to its constitutional role.

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