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More than security, sales

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Letter to the Editor
Friday, May 17, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

In the news story “Gun rights advocates say Westmoreland commissioners' resolution not enough” (April 12 and, Commissioner Charles Anderson suggested Westmoreland County deputy sheriffs perform no duties beyond courtroom security and conducting sheriff's sales. This narrow and incomplete characterization paints a false portrait of what these dedicated law-enforcement officers do on a daily basis.

Deputies serve warrants; effect arrests; transport prisoners from jail to court and to hearings before magisterial district justices; guard prisoners at hospitals; handle evictions pursuant to protection-from-abuse (PFA) orders; perform extradition details, transporting prisoners beyond state lines; and perform many other functions to ensure the safety of county citizens.

In the first quarter of 2013 alone, Westmoreland deputies served 451 bench warrants and 1,096 criminal warrants and processed 5,939 magisterial district justice warrants; conducted more than 4,000 prisoner transports; handled over 800 Family Court cases, including PFA proceedings; and spent in excess of 1,200 hours guarding prisoners at hospitals. The sheriff's office's K9 unit was used at 152 incidents involving suspected drug activity.

Also, 414 real estate actions were processed and many other civil actions were completed.

Deputies work hand-in-hand with other law-enforcement agencies, making arrests and deterring crime. The proud men and women of the sheriff's office are dedicated to maintaining public safety and continuing its rich tradition of enforcing laws against individuals in our community who break them.

Steve Felder

The writer, a Westmoreland County sheriff's deputy, is president of the Westmoreland County Court-Related Employees Association.

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