Home Write Us Contact

A Response to:
Nip Problem in bud...

Indy Star, 7/30/06

An Introduction to the
North American Union

A Letter to Senator Lugar regarding the Law of the Sea Treaty

Senator Lugar's Response

Rebuttal Letter to Senator Lugar

A full listing of letters from around the state coming soon!

We are working quickly to provide you access to information and letters concerning the state of the educational system in Indiana and other state.




The “ Indianapolis Works” Plan is Illegal

Ed Sparks


The Indianapolis Mayor’s “Indianapolis Works” plan calls for the consolidation of the Sheriff’s Department and the Indianapolis Police Department under a three-man commission that reports directly to the Mayor. This would place the Mayor in complete control of Marion County Law Enforcement and would subvert the Sheriff’s office, traditionally the most powerful County office, to that of the politician, the Mayor. This is unacceptable.

The “ Indianapolis Works” Plan:

  1. Eliminates the offices of the Township Assessors.
  2. Consolidates certain fire departments into the fire department of the consolidated city.
  3. Transfers all consolidated firemen, property, equipment, records, rights and contracts to the consolidated city.
  4. Sets up a special services district to levy a county-wide tax to satisfy the 1937 firefighters’ unfunded pension fund liability of $470 million.
  5. Consolidates the Office of the Sheriff and the various Police departments into one organization under a three-man commission reporting to the Mayor.
  6. Accomplishes other various and sundry devices.

The Office of the Sheriff:

 The office of “Sheriff” has long existed in English history. The title is used almost a dozen times in the Magna Carta that King John was forced by the English Nobles to sign at Runnymede in 1215. It, the office, already existed in England prior to that time, since it is only referred to and no explanations are needed to set the office in place. The office is far older, mentioned in the Bible in Daniel chapter 3, verse 2. It must be far older than even that but no document exists to confirm that fact. The Magna Carta is important because it places a limit on the powers of the Monarch and recognizes there is a higher power from whence those powers emanate. Here, for the first time in all of history, we see written protection for the common man and a limit of the extent of the powers of the Monarch.

The office of Sheriff is easily documented over the ensuing years from the Statutes of Westminster enacted between 1275 and 1500. Those statutes contain sixteen references to the Sheriff.

Under the English law the Sheriff was appointed by the Monarch and who then enforced the Kings law until 1689. In that year there was a peaceful revolution during which James II was removed and replaced with William and Mary, the Dutch or German monarchy. However, before William was named as King he was forced to sign the “Bill of Rights” that defined those freedoms that were innate to free men and could not be taken away by actions of the Monarch. Our Federal Bill of Rights comes directly from that document.

From that time forward, the Sheriff was still appointed by the King but he enforced laws that were directly defined by these limitations detailed in the Bill of Rights.

The New World:

As the settlers came to the new world the office of sheriff followed them to maintain order in the colonies. The holder of that office, in the colonies, was appointed by the King until 1776. However, in 1651, the Virginia colony voters succeeded in electing a local sheriff and continued to do so thereafter.

On July 4, 1776 with the Declaration of Independence, the power of the King was nullified in this country. All government offices became vacant and were filled with local people selected by the local voters. The office of Sheriff continued but it, too, was filled by local men elected by the local voters.

The office of Sheriff is not mentioned in the Articles of Confederation that came into force after Maryland signed it on March 1, 1781. That office already existed and it was recognized and accepted as a fact. It was the same with the federal Constitution that was done in convention September 17, 1787. Without mention the office was recognized and accepted.

The Northwest Territory:

The Northwest Territory was formed by an act of Congress on March 1, 1784. That area was bounded on the east by what became the Ohio state line, on the south by the Ohio River, the west by the Mississippi and Canada on the north. Vincennes was named as capitol as it was near the center of the defined area. A definitive plan of governance of this territory was adopted July 13, 1787. The act creating the Indiana Territory was signed by President Adams on May 7, 1800. This Act provided that all officers in the territory would be appointed by the President. On December 5, 1804, Harrison proclaimed the Indiana Territory’s advance to the “second or representative grade of Government”. On January 11, 1805 Congress detached Wayne County from Indiana Territory and made it into the Michigan Territory. On March 1, 1809 the Indiana Territory was divided at the Wabash River due north to Canada and that territory west of that line was named Illinois. The Suffrage Act of 1809 mentions that the Sheriff is appointed. In 1810 a request was sent to Congress to allow the Sheriff to be elected by the local voters in each county and this request was approved. An Act dated March 11, 1813, to be effective May 1, 1813 moved the state capital from the town of Vincennes to the town of Corydon. A second petition asking for statehood was approved by the Indiana legislature on December 11, 1815 after the census of January 5, 1815 showed a population of 63,897. In each of these actions the office of the Sheriff is recognized and accepted. Here clearly in the Indiana Territory the office of the Sheriff was recognized as a natural, already existing part of the government along with the locally recognized need for that office to be elective.

The Indiana Constitution of 1816:

In the Indiana Constitution of 1816, the office of Sheriff is mentioned only twice. It is mentioned once in Article IV where it states that the Sheriff and Coroner shall be elected by the qualified voters. The office is again mentioned in Article XII where it orders that the notice of the election to approve statehood, and the Constitution, be sent to the Sheriff in each County and instructs him to hold the election on a specified date.

Thus, in this brief overview we can see that the Indiana Constitution of 1816 recognized and accepted the office of the Sheriff as it existed prior to the existence of the state. This is noteworthy, for while the qualifications for the office of the Governor are defined within the Constitution of 1816, the office of the Sheriff is recognized as an already existing entity.

In the book “The Indiana Justice and Farmers Scrivener” published by Smith and Bolton in 1822 we find these words:

Surety of the peace is considered by Blackstone, a species of preventive justice; by obliging person, whom there is a probable ground to suspect of future misbehaviour, to stipulate with, and to give full assurance to the public that such offence as is apprehended from them shall not happen; through the means of pledges or sureties for keeping the peace, or for their good behaviour.

On this subject, the statute laws of Indiana, are entirely silent, therefore the practice is to be regulated entirely by the common law of England, so far as it is applicable and in force here … and shall be considered as of full force, until repealed by legislative authority.

The Indiana Constitution of 1851:

In the Indiana Constitution of 1851 and the present day Indiana Constitution, as amended, the office of the Sheriff is listed among other county officers. Both state that the Clerk, Auditor, Recorder, Treasurer, Sheriff, and Coroner shall not be eligible to the office for more than eight years in any period of twelve years.

Nowhere, in any document related to the formation of the State of Indiana, is the Office of Sheriff created, defined or stipulated. There are no qualifications listed for the person who holds that office in any of those documents. He is elected and is the chief Law Enforcement officer of each county. The Sheriff’s duties are expanded or changed. His office is recognized.

In his landmark 1941 graduate thesis A. Anderson states: “While the legislature may impose additional duties upon the sheriff, where he is recognized as a constitutional officer, it cannot restrict or reduce his powers as allowed by the Constitution, or where they were recognized when the constitution was adopted.” He goes on to state “The Legislature may vary the duties of a constitutional office but it may not change the duties so as to destroy the power to perform the duties of the office.”

From the above we can see that the office of Sheriff has existed in the common law at least since the Magna Carta of 1215. The duties of the Sheriff are clearly defined in the above mentioned book published by Smith and Bolton (pg 92-105) and today every Sheriff obeys those duties to the best of his ability. No act by any Indiana Legislature has ever repealed or reduced those duties.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines a sheriff as: “The chief executive and administrative officer of a county, being chosen by popular election.”

Black’s Law Dictionary defines a sheriff as: “The chief executive and administrative officer of a county, being chosen by popular election.”

The Sheriff’s Duties:

Our state and local governmental system was set up over 200 years ago so that the Law Enforcement side is completely isolated from the Political side of that government and in so doing state that the Sheriff is the most powerful County official. That was deliberately done. The Sheriff is directly elected by the voters and owes his office to those voters. Therefore, he is very careful with those persons he must arrest. Every person he arrests is a potential voter and may even represent a block of thousands of potential voters. He treats every arrestee with kid gloves and makes sure nothing serious happens to those people while each is in his custody.

Under this system, the Sheriff is the most powerful officer in the county. Our system was deliberately set up this way so that the Sheriff is, and would always be, immune from all political pressure. His office is so powerful that even Federal law enforcement officers must get permission from that office before they operate in the county. It is checks and balances in operation. On the one hand he has the power but on the other hand he must exercise that power with care.

The other elected entity, the Mayor, (and here read the political system) has absolutely no control over that arrestee or over the Sheriff’s department. The administrative branch of our local government only has the responsibility to try that arrestee and provide the means for that trial. After the trial, if the arrestee is found guilty, and sentenced, the person is then delivered to the prison system to serve his sentence. The politicians never have that man, or anyone else, in their custody. This separation of power must be maintained to conserve our safety.

Checks and Balances:

The people who set up our government system also created a second, but smaller, police force and placed that force under the Administration, the politicians, control. This arrangement provided for the eventuality that someday perhaps someone in the Sheriff’s department just might go astray and need to be investigated or arrested. Our Police Departments, therefore, are a check on the Law Enforcement side. In reverse, the Law Enforcement side is a check on the Police Department should anyone in that group go astray. It is a well-designed system, and works like a well-oiled machine. We are all safe. Seldom have problems appeared but the mechanism is already there, already in place, designed years ago to stop any problems at the source.

The Mayor’s proposed system would destroy this fail-safe system that has been in use for 200 years and that has flawlessly functioned to protect us all. “Indianapolis Works” would place our county directly under the control of the political side of the government, eliminate the safety net created by the Police Department and give the Mayor, the politician, direct control of the Law Enforcement system. We must never allow this to happen. The Law Enforcement branch of our local government must always be directly accountable to the voters and safe from political control. Too many people have lost their lives in countries where this separation of power has been eliminated or has never existed.


From the foregoing argument it is my contention that the action under consideration by the present Indiana State Legislature, namely HB-1435, to change the Marion County government so that the office of the Sheriff would be reduced in authority so as to report to a three-man commission that would report directly to the Mayor of Indianapolis, is patently unconstitutional.

Further, it is also my contention that to enable the Legislature to accomplish this massive change in county government there must be a Constitutional Amendment, a state referendum addressing that change to the office of the Sheriff, and that we, the people, must be given the opportunity to authorize or reject that change.




 Ed Sparks


Liabilities and Potential liabilities:

The “Indianapolis Works’ plan tells us that there will be a savings of $35 million if the city assumes responsibility for the entire county government and joins the entire police force into one as the firefighters are also joined. There’s more to it than that. There are liabilities and potential liabilities that are not mentioned in the Works plan that must be accounted for.

Let us look at the Indianapolis Center City liabilities and the potential liabilities that “Indianapolis Works” would transfer to the Marion County taxpayers if it is adopted. By “potential liabilities” I refer to those liabilities that the mayor has announced he wants the county to take on and those liabilities the city has already incurred that will be transferred to the county taxpayers.

Liabilities that already exist and that would be transferred to the Marion County taxpayers:

Firemen Fund Liability: 1937 Fund Shortfall

Already authorized: Fireman Fund

Airport Expansion: Already authorized

$470 million

$100 million

$900 million


More liabilities the Indianapolis City Center intends to assume:

New football stadium for the Colts

Grand Total

$800 million

$2.3 Billion

The $100 million shown as “already authorized” was borrowed last year by the Center City after the shortfall in the 1937 Firemens retirement fund left it without funds. This was authorized by the City-County council and was quietly set in place with little public discussion.

In both the “Indianapolis Works” published plan and in the Fiscal Impact Statement issued by the Office of Fiscal and Management Analysis at 200 W. Washington St. we find that if “Indianapolis Works” is adopted authorization is written into it for a “fire special service district” with authorization to levy taxes that would transfer these liabilities to the Marion County taxpayers.

The Fiscal Impact Statement states: Indianapolis Works in Marion County … “Authorizes the fire special services district to levy a tax to pay the amounts required to satisfy the 1937 firefighters’ pension fund obligations.” That obligation, confirmed from several sources, including the Fiscal Impact Statement, and from the Indianapolis Works document itself, is $470 million. Please note: This $470 million is for fireman retirement pensions for which the taxpayers of Marion County received no services. It is a bail-out of the Indianapolis Center City Township and demonstrates gross mismanagement of that pension fund by the Indianapolis city management.

We must point out the following. The total debt of the entire state of Indiana is only $600 million. If the state can operate its much larger budget then and have only this relatively small liability then Indianapolis Center City certainly should be expected to operate within its budget also.

Should this $470 million liability be transferred to Marion County taxpayers, the remaining debts will also follow. Thus Marion County taxpayers are being asked to assume, and are also already paying debts for which they received no services.

It is my contention that if this occurs and the liabilities are transferred to the Marion County taxpayers then a matching asset should also be transferred to the Townships. That asset should be the assets of the Indianapolis Center City Township.

In conclusion, it is my contention that the actions detailed in the “Indianapolis Works” plan signals bankruptcy of the Indianapolis Center City, and that the Center City Township should be dismantled and its responsibilities transferred to the eight remaining Townships.


The Fiscal Impact Statement:

To find the “Fiscal Impact Statement” for HB-1435 go to www.in,gov/legislative and do a search for HB 1435. The Fiscal Impact Statement should be the second item listed. It is a pdf file. On the second page read the fifth and sixth lines particularly close. That sentence states: “Authorizes the fire special service district to levy a tax to pay the amounts required to satisfy the 1937 firefighters’ pension fund obligations.” Thus clearly HB-1435 gives the special fire district authorization to levy a tax on the county taxpayers to satisfy the 1937 Indianapolis city firefighters’ pension fund obligations. That fund is $470 million in deficit. The county taxpayers are here being asked to pay the retirement pensions for persons delivering services that the county taxpayers did not receive.

(If the Fiscal Impact Statement is missing, do a search for LS 7856 a file number assigned that document.)

References to “ Indianapolis Works” Document

Ed Sparks



Magna Carta, 1215

Articles of Confederation, March 7, 1781

The Land Ordinance of 1785

The Northwest Ordinance, 1787

Act Creating the Indiana Territory, 1800

Act Dividing the Indiana Territory, 1805

Act Dividing the Indiana Territory, 1809

The Suffrage Act, 1809

Indiana to 1816: The Colonial Period, by Barnhart and Rikes.

The Enabling Act, 1816

Indiana’s First Constitution, 1816. Article IV and Article XII

The Indiana Justice and Farmers Scrivener, printed and published by Smith and Bolton,1822

Indiana 1816-1850: The Pioneer Era, by Donald F. Carmony.

Indiana’s Second Constitution, 1851

Indiana’s Present Constitution

The Role of Sheriff Past-Present-Future: by Truman Walrod,

National Sheriffs Association.

Indianapolis Works (Available at www.indygov.org)

Fiscal Impact Statement HB-1435 (Available at www.IN.gov.

Search for HB 1435 or LS 7856.)