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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.

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

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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."

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