Skip to comments.Sheriff Baca Won't Renew Forest Service Agreement
Posted on 02/04/2012 5:27:37 PM PST by girlangler
click here to read article
YIKES, that had paragraphs in it when I posted it.
...”And the horse you rode in on !”
.... think before hitting ENTER
Sierra County Sheriff Joe Baca has joined a growing number of elected sheriffs from across the West by sending a message to federal officials about undermining state and local rights regarding law enforcement.
Baca, a former lieutenant in the New Mexico Army National Guard and an Afghanistan veteran, told Sierra County Commissioners earlier this month his office will not renew an annual $16,000 contract with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
The ongoing cooperative agreement between the two agencies to compensate the sheriffs department for patrolling and enforcing laws in the Gila National Forest was due for renewal this past fall.
Bacas decision places him in agreement with other western sheriffs opposed to proposed Forest Service rules they interpret as giving USFS law enforcement officers more police powers, which they claim is contrary to citizens rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
According to Sierra County Tax Assessor Keith Whitney, the Forest Service manages approximately 378,700 acres (a portion of the more than 3- million acre Gila National Forest) in Sierra County.
The Western States Sheriffs Association (WSSA) received official notice of the U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement proposed rule changes to the code of federal regulation 36 (CFR) 262, 261 and 212 on July 15, 2011 .
The WSSA released a position paper opposing these rules in September 2011. The portion of the new rules the WSSA opposes reads The proposed revisions to 36 CFRs 262, 261, and 212 make the Forest Service regulations more consistent with other land management agencies; clarify the agencys authority and give it enforcement measures and means commensurate with state law; and update regulations regarding payments for evidence, rewards, and impounding abandoned property.
The Forest Service has added stipulations that we do not agree with, Baca told The Sentinel. We (sheriffs) have jurisdiction in the forest anyway if the land is within our county, and I wont take money for doing what I already get paid to do by the residents of Sierra County.
Baca said he refuses to have federal authorities dictate what he can and cannot do in Sierra County, while Region 3 USFS officials contend the agency is merely updating rules that allow the existing agency law enforcement to be more effective when enforcing laws on public lands and ensuring public safety.
The Gila National Forest is presently in the final stages of approving its Travel Management Plan to determine what roads will remain open to motor vehicles, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in the Gila and other national forests, and the agencys adjusted law enforcement powers are contained in these proposed plans.
The Gila draft proposals for road closures in the forest include (1) taking no action, which would leave 4,604 miles of roads open to public use; (2) implementing a preferred alternative, which would leave 3,323 miles open; and (3) allowing 2,332 miles to 4,266 miles of open roads.
The final decision for road closures was originally scheduled to be announced in mid-2011, but has been delayed until spring 2012. During a series of public meetings last spring where significant local opposition was expressed to any forest road closures, Sheriff Baca announced his department would not enforce federal regulations preventing citizens from accessing public lands.
Sierra Countys sheriff is not alone when it comes to local law enforcement officials who claim it is their job to protect the citizens who elected them, even if it means conflicts with federal Forest Service authorities. Sheriff Gil Gilbertson of Josephine County, Ore., after hearing complaints from local citizens about Forest Service law enforcement officials, told the agency it has no authority in any county and he would protect citizens using the forest.
In 2011 Gilbertson drafted a 10-page report, Unraveling Federal Jurisdiction Within A State, which has become the resource manual for sheriffs in counties facing road closures, National Monument designations and other federal actions perceived as limiting citizen access to public lands. Last year, another Oregon sheriff, Glenn E. Palmer of Grant County, refused to renew his countys cooperative law enforcement agreement with the Forest Service.
I have sent at least two requests to the U.S. Forest Service asking for information that pertains to where the U.S. Forest Service gets it Constitutional authority to have law enforcement officers within Grant County, Sheriff Palmer wrote. Your jurisdiction, as I see it, is limited in nature to the Federal Building in John Day (Ore.). Within the confines of Grant County, the duties and responsibility of law enforcement will rest with the County Sheriff and his designees.
And in March 2011, the Denver Post reported a feud between Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell and the Forest Service over road closures in the San Juan National Forest. When 155 miles of the forests estimated 700 miles of unauthorized motorized routes near Dolores were made off limits to ORV use, Spruell threatened to cut locks on gates and ticket Forest Service agents enforcing the closures. Like his counterparts in other states, Sheriff Baca is confident his refusal to renew the law enforcement agreement with the Gila National Forest was justified.
It might make some people mad, but I want to do whats right, not whats required by the Forest Service, or violating the U.S. Constitution or state statutes, Baca said. Robin Poague, the USFS Region 3 law enforcement special agent responsible for national forests in Arizona and New Mexico, said the agency has jurisdiction over forest lands, and its road closure proposals are not meant to undermine the authority of county law enforcement We want to work with the sheriffs, and respect their role, and these rewrites of the regulations will give us the opportunity for better enforcement cooperation, Poague told The Sentinel this week.
Poague said the USFS has long-held arrest authority (on forest lands) under the law, but the timely rewrites are meant to conserve resources, enhance public safety, and enhance cooperation between the sheriffs and agency. However, an official statement from the Western States Sheriffs Association indicates that group respectfully disagrees. (The proposed rule changes) exhibit an absolute disregard for the sovereignty of the individual States, show a disregard for the authority of the Office of Sheriff, and a continued inability of the Forest Service to understand the mission and function of its law.
The revolt of the Sheriffs continues, thanks to the initial impetus of Joe Arpaio. Soon there won’t be a Sheriff’s association in the US who will support Obama and his buffoonery re the National Parks and the borders.
This will offset the leftist turn by some of the major FOP organizations who support Obama in the big cities.
We need more types of revolts from within the law enforcement ranks to stop Obama and his marxists from their unconstitutional power grabs.
Now, if the military had any balls, they would start their own revolts about the disasterous anti-military policies of Obama and his advisors.
I can remember that it was just 50 years ago the feds couldn’t find any constitutional authority for police powers.
Indeed it does. Will someone tell me what it says? The unformatted article makes my eyes hurt.
Thanks for fixing this, I didn’t know how.
I had several more examples of sheriffs (one in Indiana threatened to arrest EPA thugs) rebelling, but couldn’t put them in the article, as I had to focus on N.M.
Thanks. It did actually show paragraphs.
These guys rock. America needs more sheriffs like them.
Here in fly-over country the MSM has not seen fit to publish these stories.
The National Forest Service did absolutely nothing to stop the Bastrop, Texas, wildfire that burned 1600 homes. In fact, they wouldn’t allow volunteer fire departments from across Texas that had driven hundreds of miles to get to Bastrop to help because these good neighbors hadn’t received certification from the NFS to fight fires. These good men and women left Bastrop and went to smaller communities where their help was desperately needed as the flames approached.
This is why people hate big government. It is constantly focused on paperwork and their reams of rules instead of letting the citizens of this country do the good things that were done for generations until the federal government became too powerful.
The Feds will just taser him in the back for ignoring their dictates.
Related story, sort of.
USFS Rangers Gone Wild.
Not likely. Most citizens blessed with that type of Sheriff will back them to the hilt! Wouldn’t you?
Very interesting article. Thanks for posting it here.
Sure, it was a little tough to read without paragraphs, but don’t let the complainers get to you.