Law enforcement to be certified in dealing with sovereign citizens by the end of 2013

Published: Jan. 3, 2013 at 11:09 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 7, 2013 at 11:09 PM EST
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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Local law enforcement will be able to spot and handle a sovereign citizen by the end of 2013.

Authorities tell that by the end of the year, every law enforcement officer in the state will receive certification for dealing with this group of people.

According to detectives, a sovereign citizen is person who believes they can choose which laws apply to them and which do not.

Deputies in Brunswick County recently had an incident with a woman they believe to have sovereign beliefs.

The 2013 certification has been mandated for all law enforcement by training and standards.

"I believe it's because of the rise in violence that we've seen from sovereign citizens," said Cpl. Ben Byrne who works with the Apex Police Department. "I believe it's between 6 and 8 officers since 2002 killed in the line of duty by sovereign citizens."

Authorities said it's hard to tell how many sovereigns live locally.

Nationally, there are 100,000 "hardcore sovereigns" and 200,000 who are just starting their journey to following these beliefs.

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