July 17th, 2011

US law enforcement - jurisdiction issues

Searched: jurisdiction, FBI vs Sheriff, federal jurisdiction disputes, and variations thereof. I also found a previous community post, here, but I'd like to get a bit more detail.

My characters are in present-day Montana. The feds (DEA, FBI, and Border Patrol) are in town to deal with pot being smuggled in from Canada and spread through several states. The Sheriff's Dept is cooperating, but not enthusiastically. Everything is going reasonably smoothly until some information about an upcoming raid is leaked. Everyone blames everyone else, and I want things to get heated. The raid wasn't part of the overall pot investigation, it was on a meth lab that only seems to be distributing locally, but the feds believe there is a link between the pot and the meth.

So my question is -- if the local Sheriff (a bit of a hot head) wanted to stop cooperating with the feds, what could he do? Or at least threaten to do...

First, if a jurisdiction dispute gets really heated, who is the final arbiter? Like, would they go to court? State or Federal, or is there some other body that would decide?

Also, is the Sheriff's department required to actively cooperate? Thus far, they've been giving the feds space in their office, etc. If they refused to do this, or refused to give the feds records, etc., would the feds need to get a court order, or...?

If the Sheriff's dept continued to investigate a crime or situation that the feds had claimed, what would happen?

I don't know, is there other stuff I'm missing? Thanks for any help!

Infant incubators?

Weird question, but...what does it feel like to touch an infant incubator in use, like if you put your hand on the glass or something? Would it be warm to the touch? Would it vibrate/hum as a result of the machinery working? I've looked at the Wikipedia entry for "neonatal intensive care unit" and Googled "what does an infant incubator feel like", the latter of which is weirdly specific but I couldn't figure out how to get a more general search phrase, and anyway Google has some odd stuff in its search suggestions...

The reason I ask this is because I have a character who is touching something, and I wanted to compare the sensation to when he visited his premature infant daughter in the NICU and laid his hand on the incubator machine. It's meant to be a tiny detail of foreshadowing/in-joke, but it's not a big deal if I can't swing the comparison. (Guess which fandom I'm writing for. Go on, guess.)

Thanks in advance!

EDIT: Got the answers I was looking for, thanks to everyone who replied!

Destroy sense of smell?

My character needs his sense of smell destroyed or seriously damaged. Permanently would be prefered, but if he eventually recovers that would be sufficent. It needs to be a one-hit deal and the faster and dirtier the better.

He is in a modern, Western country with resources the average guy would have. No medical labs, but he can get to a hardware store. It must be non-fatal and non-disfiguring, since he's trying to keep it a secret. I've searched "accidents that damage sense of smell", "causes of anosmia", "smell disorder causes", and rearranged those terms appropriately.

Can he snuff up some kind of chemical without killing himself? Jam something up there? Head trauma seems the closest thing I've found but I can't see how he could be sure it would get the desired result. Help.