Sheriffs Standing Tall
January 13, 2012 by Bob Livingston
Much attention these days is focused on the Republican Presidential beauty contest, especially now that primaries have begun. But a far more important election is much closer to home: the race for your county sheriff.
The sheriff is the top law enforcement officer in his county. Some Constitutionally minded sheriffs are standing up to Federal officers and bureaucrats, and the Feds are backing down. Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America recently told you about some New Mexico sheriffs threatening to arrest Federal agents. Now he has learned of some others who need to be applauded.
In Elkhart County, Ind., Sheriff Brad Rogers told Food and Drug Administration agents they would be arrested if they go on Amish farmer David Hochstetler’s land. Hochstetler is a raw milk criminal, and the FDA didn’t like that he was distributing it to people who buy into his herd of dairy cows. So the FDA issued a subpoena and declared it wanted to perform an inspection.
Rogers told the agents if they tried to inspect Hochstetler’s farm without a warrant they would be arrested for trespassing. The Department of Justice responded by threatening to arrest Rogers, but Rogers didn’t blink. The DOJ and FDA did, however. The subpoena was withdrawn, and the Feds slunk away into the night.
Rogers isn’t alone. Sheriff Joe Baca in Sierra County, Calif., told his county commission he would not enforce road closures on Bureau of Land Management and Gila National Forest Lands. Sheriff Gil Gilbertson of Josephine County, Ore., has told the Forest Service it has no authority in any county and he would protect those citizens using the forest.
Sheriff Johnny Brown of Ellis County, Texas, has said that he would resist any effort by the Federal government to confiscate firearms in his county.
Sheriff Billy McGee of Forrest County, Miss., stood up to the Feds in the days after Hurricane Katrina. With power out and food and medicine about to spoil, McGee learned that a Federal shipment of six ice trucks bound for Hattiesburg turned out to be only four. He went searching for the other two and found them at a staging area being guarded by reservists paralyzed with bureaucracy. When he tried to get the ice, he was told he was not authorized to take the vehicles. He handcuffed a recalcitrant reservist and delivered the ice. The Feds are now suing him.
Agents of the Federal government are under the mistaken impression that the 9th and 10th Amendments no longer apply. But some brave, Constitutionally minded sheriffs are standing tall. It’s important that each of you vet your sitting sheriff and the candidates challenging them and find out which ones are prepared to enforce the Constitution.