Something extraordinary and historic took place mere days ago in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For three days, from January 29 and 31, 2012, in the Tuscany Hotel & Casino, more than a hundred county sheriffs from across the United States of America met in a first annual Constitutional Sheriffs Convention.
This is what Wikipedia says about U.S. sheriffs:
“In the United States, a sheriff is a county official and is typically the top law enforcement officer of a county. Historically, the sheriff was also commander of the militia in that county. Distinctive to law enforcement in the United States, sheriffs are usually elected. The political election of a person to serve as a police leader is an almost uniquely American tradition.”
The first Constitutional Sheriffs Convention is the brainchild of the County Sheriff Project of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). Here’s a video describing the CSPOA:
The convention’s objective is two-fold:
- To increase the understanding and awareness for all sheriffs and peace officers regarding the true power of our constitutional authority and duty to serve and protect the people for whom we work;
- To unite in a concerted effort to uphold and defend the United States Constitution.
Given the importance of the convention, it is curious to say the least that the media have chosen to totally ignore it. Curious, too, is the fact that I scoured the Internet yesterday but could find scant news on the convention, much less a report — not even on the website of the County Sheriff Project.
But I did find an audio of a 1.5 hr Revolution Radio broadcast on the convention, interviewing several sheriffs who attended the conference, as well as other attendees, mainly Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers. To listen to the audio, click here.
I listened to all 93 minutes of the Revolution Radio broadcast. Here are my notes and summary:
Stewart Rhodes said the sheriffs “are working on a series of resolutions” at the convention, among which is a “Resolution of the Sheriff Against NDAA 2012“, drafted by Rhodes and constitutional attorney Richard Fry, for the sheriffs to sign. NDAA is the notorious National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 which effectively nullifies the Bill of Rights by making it lawful for the U.S. President and the military to arrest and detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial. From the Oath Keepers’ website, it appears the sheriffs at the convention did not sign the Resolution as a collective body. Rhodes is asking the sheriffs to sign the Resolution as individual sheriffs.
Rhodes opined that political party labels don’t mean much anymore, referring in particular to how the NDAA is “a bipartisan assault on our civil liberties,” which was spearheaded by Republican John McCain and Democrat Carl Levin.
Rhodes emphasized that a second American Revolution has already taken place under our noses and our Constitution’s been overthrown. “We have had people who are determined to destroy our Constitutional Republic to create a tyranny.” But this revolution is not fully recognized by the American people, who must be informed and educated. He calls for Americans, especially the military and the police, to emulate the “peaceful revolution of 1800” when Thomas Jefferson and James Madison rose up against the Anti-Sedition Act to sweep federal oath-breakers out of office.
Rhodes was followed by several sheriffs, who spoke one by one. They included:
1. Sheriff Dean Wilson of Del Norte County in Northern California (see a YouTube video of him here)
Sheriff Dean Wilson
2. Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County, Colorado. (Here’s a video of Cooke giving the keynote address at the Union Colony Marines’ 2011 Ball).
3. A sheriff identified as from Northern California’s Siskiyou County. I looked it up, and he should be Sheriff Jon Lopey.
Sheriff Jon Lopey
4. Sheriff Greg Hagwood of Plumas County in Northern California. Here he is on YouTube.
Sheriff Greg Hagwood
Instead of presenting what each sheriff said, I’ve grouped what they said under categories of issues. Words between quotation marks are straight-forward quotes of the speaker.
How many sheriffs attended convention:
120 to 140 sheriffs from all across America. Many (“a great showing”) from California and the western states, but also from Texas, Florida and the eastern seaboard. Some sheriffs also brought their second-in-charge to the convention. A list of the names of the sheriffs who were at the convention will be published.
What they did:
- There was a Sheriffs Panel in which 8 sheriffs spoke.
- There were presentations by various speakers who “spoke powerfully” on Agenda 21 and the Bill of Rights. Even though some of the sheriffs didn’t know about some of the issues, “they are listening” and “have a humility about them.” “They really want to know and are sticking their necks out by coming here.”
What the sheriffs got out of the conference:
1. A renewed knowledge and understanding of the U.S. Constitution and “how it’s related to county sheriffs who are sworn to defend and protect the Constitution.”
2. “A good idea and understanding of what’s been going on” in the sheriff’s own county and in other counties. Sheriff Wilson’s county, as an example, is on the border between Northern California and Oregon. 74% of the county is federal and state land. The county’s agriculture and timber industry are under “attack” by the federal government’s Interior Department and BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Sheriff Cooke described how the federal government wanted to burn some grassland in his county which was adjacent to farmers’ and ranchers’ property. So he issued a warning to the feds not to burn, which was ignored. But the county stood firm — and the federal government backed down and decided not to burn. Sheriff Cooke also said that the federal government tells the sheriffs how to run their jails, although Washington D.C. has no authority over this.
3. The realization that many of the problems experienced by separate counties are common to all sheriffs across the nation, “all part of a larger picture.” Sheriff Cooke calls the conference “awesome”: “We sheriffs tend to live on an island, but the conference makes us realize we have common problems.” Those common problems are the federal government’s over-regulation; “overreach” of its authority on matters such as forest land in Northern California; and “infringement against the Constitutional rights of our citizens.” The sheriffs “heard absolute horror stories on what’s going on from one coast to the other — especially in Connecticut and Delaware.”
4. Not only are these problems common to the counties of all the states, these issues also “affect all the citizens of America.” “The problems we’re facing are universal.”
5. One of those issues that affect all the citizens is the NDAA. The sheriffs at the convention learnt how the NDAA “blatantly strips authority from sheriffs into the hands of the military and the President” as well as stripping “the rights from citizens.”
6. Learning about the limits of the sheriffs’ own authority, even in “little things.” Sheriff Cooke gave an example of a Sheriff Akita who said he “did away with DUI checkpoints because they are unconstitutional” and sheriffs “shouldn’t tolerate it.” Why? Because “it is not right to stop people when they haven’t done anything wrong.”
What is needed:
The sheriffs said an organization “like this” (i.e., the convention) is needed “on a national level” to help county sheriffs across America. “The time has come for a nationally recognized organization” of America’s county sheriffs. In the meantime, there are already plans for Northern California’s sheriffs to meet again, scheduled for 2 p.m., Saturday, February 25, 2012. There are also plans for other events in Northern California to discuss land management, land use, water issues, the declining timber industry (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently issued yet another spotted owl protection), and threats against mining, agriculture, and recreational use. California’s State Sheriffs Association has formed a policy committee to deal with common problems, especially those in Northern California.
What most impressed the sheriffs:
1. Sheriff Hagwood: It’s an “eye opener” that the same issues are being dealt with across the country. That’s “disturbing”. At the same time, it’s “good to know that distinguished sheriffs are taking steps to safeguard our Constitution.” They are willing “to stand up, stand tall, to serve the People and stand for the Constitution.”
2. They now feel emboldened: Sheriff Wilson: “Just having an organization like this and meeting sheriffs from across America who are like-minded, emboldens you to take steps that are necessary to stand up for the rights promised in the Constitution, because now you know other sheriffs have his back” and will “stand beside me.” Cooke: “There’s strength in numbers, not fighting it alone.”
What the sheriffs promise:
“The U.S. Constitution was founded by devout Christian men and they got it right. Now it’s up to us — sheriffs and peace officers — to keep it.”
“The problems we’re facing are universal. But sheriffs bound together have real strength to push back.”
“Sheriffs all over are going to fight back.” The number of sheriffs who will attend next year’s convention will probably be double the number as this year. Sheriffs are learning “how to fight back with an organization like this.”
“The only thing I’ve ever sworn to is my oath of office and my marriage vows. When sheriffs take a leadership role, the people will also be inspired. We realize that our freedoms are being threatened” on “county, state, and national” levels. “We must energize and educate citizens and officials.”
“Sheriffs are beginning to recognize the responsibility they have to citizens is much larger than upholding the law. We now appreciate the gravity” of the situation. We recognize our larger responsibility is “to protect the liberties [that are] absolutely essential to our way of life.”
The 2012 election is “make or break”. We must realize that “the enemy is within, not without.” We must “demand that the federal government behave.”
“It won’t be easy but we’ll do it.”
That’s when my vision got blurred by the tears streaming down my face….
God bless the county sheriffs who attended this convention. May their numbers multiply.
Pray for our sheriffs! Pray for America!