[LMB] An unexpected Bujold fan?

Peter Granzeau pgranzeau at cox.net
Sun Jun 6 19:39:16 BST 2010

At 08:09 PM 6/5/2010, Eric Oppen wrote:
>Quoting Damien Sullivan <phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu>:
>>On Sat, Jun 05, 2010 at 12:28:01PM -0500, Eric Oppen wrote:
>>>This reminds me of a question I've long wanted an answer to.  I was
>>>intrigued to find that in the North American French colony of St. Pierre
>>>and Miquelon, the local police are members of the same national gendarme
>>>organization that polices Metropolitan France.
>>>Is this considered just another assignment, a plum post (not much crime
>>>there, after all) or their equivalent of sending someone to the Russian
>>>Front?  "Pierre, you are the biggest bungler in the entire
>>>_Gendarmerie._  I can't have you shot---but I can send you to St.
>>I'm not French, but I can see an ambiguity in your statement.  Does
>>"members" mean that they're actually from continental France, or that
>>they're part of the hierarchy?
>AFAIK, it's the same organization all through France, and gendarmes  
>are assigned as-needed.  A locally-born gendarme _might_ be at an  
>advantage being assigned there, but might deliberately be assigned  
>somewhere else, too.  The Spanish Civil Guard did something like  
>this---Civil Guards were never assigned to their home districts.

We must remember, that the USA is based on the fiction that we are not one single government, as are France and its (remaining) possessions, or Spain.  Instead, we are supposedly a federation of sovereign states, more like the European Union than like any individual European country.  Each state may organize its local governments as it sees fit.  Nothing says that states must be divided into counties, or that individual localities must create their own police forces, it's just how things have been done in most US localities.

Local police, however, do not enforce federal laws, so there are federal organizations with police powers--the FBI, the Secret Service, federal marshals, the INS, etc., to enforce federal laws.  I worked for the federal government for 29 years and never once in all of that time did I come in contact with any federal law enforcement officer, so they must be pretty thin on the ground.

Regards, Pete
pgranzeau at cox.net 

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