Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness educates students about civil liberty



welter:Lee Welter, a member of the Students for Liberty, explains some of Sheriff John McGinness’ main points to the students during the lecture and presentation held today in Hinde Auditorium.:Ricky Afuang – State Hornet

Ricky Alejandro

Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness applied his 30 years of law enforcement experience to help the Students for Liberty organization educate students on constitutional and individual rights.

In the lecture and film screening held today in Hinde Auditorium, McGinness discussed key issues depicted in the film “Busted,”which informs young people how to deal with police officers in everyday situations.

In the film, Ira Glasser, narrator and former director of the American Civil Liberties Union,evaluated each situation and demonstrated how the characters could have protected their rights better.

Throughout the film, three young people were shown in pressure situations with law enforcement officials. The characters dealt with traffic stops, noise complaints and loitering.

“My concern is that as people see these scenarios, if you go too far and put someone in a situation where they may become their own worst enemy and end up violating the law,” McGinness said.

Students for Liberty, a nonprofit organization based on libertarian ideologies, aims to inform students of their individual rights. Michael Sertic, president and founder of the Sacramento State chapter of the organization, stressed the importance for students to exercise their rights.

“I think often times students are intimidated by police officers, and students should learn when their consent is warranted,” Sertic said.

“Busted” was created by Flex Your Rights, a nonprofit organization that aims to educate the public about the Bill of Rights and how it protects citizens during encounters with law enforcement officials.

“Everyone encounters a police officer,” Sertic said. “Knowledge is power and you will be much more effective and civil.”

McGinness also addressed the recording cameras in local police vehicles that are triggered on as soon as the officer turns on his red lights in the patrol car.

“As a volunteer observer, I saw that it was emphasized to the officers to always act as if they were on camera all day,” said Lee Welter, member of the Students for Liberty.

Although McGinness made clear that he was not a libertarian like the members of the Students for Liberty, he shared many opinions with the group, including concealed firearm carry permits.

“He has shown a solid history of protecting civil rights and also his ethics have remained sound while serving as our elected sheriff,” Sertic said.

Sertic said students should try and understand the philosophy of liberty by visiting the organization’s website,

“If students aren’t aware of how important liberty is in our lives, then there is a very real possibility that we won’t have it,” Sertic said.

Ricky Alejandro can be reached at [email protected].