Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
Very recently, actually Super Bowl weekend, I attended the National Sheriff’s Conference in Washington, D.C. I routinely attend the summer and winter conferences, but this time I’ll take a few minutes to talk about what information I bring back from them, and share the common concerns of Sheriffs from across the country. The conference is held for an entire week; however, I schedule my stay around the meetings I’m directly involved in and presentations that directly benefit my role as your Sheriff. The winter conferences are held in Washington, allowing the nation’s Sheriffs to meet their representatives and forward their concerns for congressional action.
The benefits of attending the conference are, taking part in the executive training seminars, legal affairs updates, policing strategy seminars, and committee meetings. I have the privilege of sitting on both the Homeland Security and Immigration/Border Security Committees. I’m able to contribute because of what this agency has accomplished locally in those arenas. Maybe the greatest benefit is meeting and talking with other Sheriffs to discuss the myriad of critical issues such as personnel management, crime trends, public safety, and national security issues. The fact is from coast to coast, border to border, Sheriffs are expressing their common major problems as the increasing infiltration of immigrant criminal gangs, the deadly heroin epidemic, and the localized threats of radicalized Islamic extremism and terrorist acts. The overriding theme of frustration which is related to all I’ve just mentioned is the open southern border and unchecked illegal immigration.
The horror stories told by the southern border Sheriffs should be shared with everyone in America. Border Sheriffs appreciate what we do here in Frederick County. The violence, the infiltration of the criminal gangs and cartels, the impact of the human surge, the flow of illegal drugs, and stories of destruction and violence experienced by border ranch families is overwhelming. There is no justification for any American anywhere on United States soil, to experience and endure these problems that will undoubtedly worsen because of the failures of this administration to protect the southern border or enforce the immigration laws. There is an indescribable level of frustration among the nation’s Sheriffs in regard to those issues. My prediction is that there will be a tremendous backlash and push by Sheriffs toward their federal representatives to pass laws that strengthen border security and enforce the immigration laws. There is a lot of political clout carried by 3,081 Sheriffs nationwide!
Other conversations of interest involved governmental affairs, including the U.S. Government’s 1033 Program, which authorizes civilian law enforcement to obtain and utilize military equipment and hardware. Many agencies rely on this source for protective armored vehicles and equipment, aircraft, patrol rifles, and personal protective gear. Sheriffs are decrying the fact they are now denied access to the critical surplus equipment, and in many cases are having equipment taken away by the Obama administration. We’re talking equipment for protection of the citizens and deputies, not tanks, mortars and howitzers! I spoke personally with Sheriff McMahon of San Bernardino County, California about the recent terror attack/shooting. He described the absolute need for this type of equipment to protect law enforcement and our citizens. Could Frederick County be the next San Bernardino?
There were committee discussions surrounding the events nationwide that have had a profound effect on law enforcement and the way law enforcement is viewed by the public, and not for the better. The so-called federal Criminal Justice Reform, by this administration reducing federal sentences, releasing up to 48,000 “non-violent drug offenders” onto our streets in the current climate of extreme heroin abuse. This will surely have a negative public safety impact with the increased crime problems and expense pushed down to local Sheriffs and counties. We discuss solutions! Has anyone noticed a commonality in causation by either failure or interference by the federal government on many of these issues?
It’s important to know that my fellow Sheriffs, regardless of their role, are all dealing with the same crime issues, heroin abuse, immigrant criminal gangs, restrictive budgets, and the problem of finding enough quality young people for a career in law enforcement. Also, know that Sheriffs are relied upon in a localized front-line role in Homeland Security in their own jurisdictions. Perhaps the most important and rewarding take-away is the constant reminder that we are sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and we proudly serve and answer to the citizens, not other elected bodies.
As I watched the Super Bowl, bending elbows with other Sheriffs, it was only fitting to watch Peyton Manning, fondly known as “The Sheriff”, ride into the sunset pulling out one last win. Every Sheriff would like one last victory for his citizens and ride away tall in the saddle.
Sheriff Chuck Jenkins