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El Dorado County Sheriff Strips Forest Service Of State-Law Enforcement Power

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EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — The El Dorado County Sheriff says he’s not happy with the U.S. Forest Service, so he’s stripping them of their authority by keeping them from enforcing state law within the county.

Sheriff John D’Agostini is taking the unusual step of pulling the police powers from the federal agency because he says he has received “numerous, numerous complaints.”

In a letter obtained by CBS13, the sheriff informs the federal agency that its officers will no longer be able to enforce California state law anywhere in his county.

“I take the service that we provide to the citizens of El Dorado County and the visitors to El Dorado County very seriously, and the style and manner of service we provide,” D’Agostini said. “The U.S. Forest Service, after many attempts and given many opportunities, has failed to meet that standard.”

The sheriff won’t give specifics, but he says he’s concerned about the number of complaints his department’s received against the federal officers.

We asked law professor John Myers if the sheriff’s actions can supercede the feds.

“Looks to me as though the sheriff can do this,” he said. “They don’t have state powers in the first place, but essentially the sheriff can deputize individuals to have authority in his or her jurisdiction.”

The U.S. Forest Services wouldn’t comment beyond this statement:

“The U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement has not received this letter yet, but we have valued our partnership and good working relationship with the county over the years.”

But with limited resources and such a large area to patrol, some may be concerned that public safety may be compromised.

We asked the sheriff whether this will increase response times.

“It could be, but I doubt it.”

But the bottom line for campers is knowing someone will come when they call and report a crime.

D’Agostini’s order will go into effect on July 22, and for now, there’s no resolution in sight.

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