I would not expect libertarians to have much sympathy for agents of the state when they are ensnared by the same webs they help create. And yet I do have some sympathy for former Arapahoe County, Colo. Sheriff (and one-time “Sheriff of the Year”) Pat Sullivan, who was arrested Tuesday on charges of methamphetamine distribution. Investigators say Sullivan offered meth to men in exchange for sex, and that he had also been “taking care” of meth addicts, going so far as to claim he was on a drug task force and was working for the Colorado Department of Public Health’s meth treatment program, which doesn’t exist.
It’s a dramatic fall from public grace for a man whose name adorns the very detention center where he’s being held on $500,000 bail. Sullivan served nearly 20 years as Arapahoe sheriff and ironically served on a statewide meth task force in 2000. His department undoubtedly arrested thousands on drug charges during his tenure. For his work he was named “Sheriff of the Year” by his colleagues in the National Sheriffs’ Association in 2001.
So it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who’s run afoul of the same unjust laws he once enforced. But consider this: Sullivan engages in some honest, peaceful, consensual trade for once, and ends up in an orange jumpsuit and shackles on national television, shattering a decades-long legacy as a tough and ethical law enforcement officer. It’s moments like these that makes one want to appreciate cosmic practical jokes.