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Electing police chiefs.

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Eddie Mair | 13:30 UK time, Monday, 23 August 2010

Michael Buchanan writes: "Would you like to police your neighbourhood? The government is looking for active citizens to come forward and stand for election as police chief. Jimmy Ray Swindle is taking up the challenge - in Alabama.


He's standing for the sheriff's office in Fayette County, a small, rural corner of north west Alabama.



Jimmy used to be a country music DJ, a timeshare salesman and now he flogs flag through a website. He has no law enforcement experience. When I ask him about this, he replies "The president of the United States is not a general, yet he is in charge of the most powerful military on the face of the planet earth."

Tonight, we'll hear about the American experience of electing police chiefs - and what possible lessons the US has for us. And our colleagues on Hardtalk have been speaking to arguably America's most high profile elected law enforcement official, Sheriff Joe Arpaio."


  • 1. At 1:56pm on 23 Aug 2010, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Initially thought this chap looked pretty scary but then tried to imagine him in policeman's uniform and he changed into "friendly cop". Wondering what that says about our perception of trusting "men in uniform"?

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  • 2. At 2:02pm on 23 Aug 2010, Phil Burt wrote:

    He looks a right "good ol' boy"
    Visions of Rod Steiger in Heat...

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  • 3. At 2:17pm on 23 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:

    A timeshare salesman called Mr Swindle! You're making this up, aren't you?

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  • 4. At 5:07pm on 23 Aug 2010, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Giggle, Horsey!

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  • 5. At 5:26pm on 23 Aug 2010, IMOORE wrote:

    Shock horror, police forced to impliment the law, can't have that can we, not when they are being forced to impliment the law the metrosexual class don't want implimented.

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  • 6. At 5:32pm on 23 Aug 2010, The Intermittent Horse wrote:


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  • 7. At 5:37pm on 23 Aug 2010, newlach wrote:

    It doesn't matter what colour the cat is, as long as it catches criminals.

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  • 8. At 5:41pm on 23 Aug 2010, NickLangley wrote:

    This package made a big mistake in its assumptions about law enforcement in the USA.

    County Sheriffs are not the primary local law enforcement agency in most of the USA. That is the job of the thousands of independent city police departments whose chiefs are not elected but appointed by politicians.

    Sheriffs provide law enforcement to unincorporated areas and those cities that choose not to have their own police department. Sheriffs operate county jails and enforce court decisions.

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  • 9. At 5:59pm on 23 Aug 2010, grumpypowys wrote:

    In America, it would appear that the position of Police Chief is largely political.
    Over the last ten years in this country, the Police in this country have become very political. Maybe under the Coalition, the position can be reversed.
    The tick box, target driven, remote desktop operation needs to be unwound.

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