Goshen News, Goshen, IN

April 27, 2014

OUR VIEW: Elkhart County not served by Rogers' trip to Nevada

Goshen News

---- — Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers is not afraid of a fight, especially when it’s a tussle with what he sees as America’s playground bully – the United States government. Rogers, who is seeking re-election to a second term as sheriff, has been a consistent and outspoken advocate of state and local law trumping federal, bureaucratic mandate. He has often stressed that his obligation as sheriff of Elkhart County is to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, the supreme law of the U.S.A.

And Rogers has put his money where his mouth is since being elected sheriff. In 2011 he threatened to arrest federal Food and Drug Administration officials if they attempted to inspect a dairy farm near Middlebury without either a warrant or owner consent. The farmer was distributing raw milk to people who bought into his herd of Jersey cows.

“This isn’t about raw milk,” Rogers said at the time. “It’s about fundamental rights. … I think people are tired of the federal government walking all over everybody and it is time to take a stand for states’ rights.”

LAST YEAR ROGERS was criticized after he said during a political rally in South Bend that he would not enforce proposed future gun-control legislation in his county because he felt it would be contrary to the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

And over Easter weekend Rogers made local headlines again when he visited Cliven Bundy in Nevada to support the cattle rancher in his 20-year battle with the federal government regarding his cattle grazing on public land. According to a New York Times reporter, Rogers stood with Bundy during a media gathering April 19 while Bundy encouraged the gathering to ask questions of Rogers, who was in uniform.

Bundy would later go on to make racist comments regarding blacks by wondering aloud if they would have been better off as slaves. Nearly in the same breath he went on to praise the Hispanic community for its strong family structure.

Let’s be clear: While Rogers is taking heat for being by Bundy’s side last weekend, it was Bundy, not Rogers, who made the offensive remarks. Bundy’s words are tethered to his character, not Rogers’. In fact, Rogers told The Goshen News last week that he was no longer present at the gathering when Bundy made those comments, and we take him at his word.

STILL, IT IS OUR contention that Rogers made a questionable decision at best to visit Bundy’s ranch and interject Elkhart County into this fray by wearing his sheriff’s uniform. There’s no doubt that this type of debate regarding the federal government is in Rogers’ wheelhouse. He is making quite the name for himself as an authority on such matters, which is likely why he was invited to the Bundy ranch.

But Rogers is our sheriff here at home, not Bunkerville, Nev. He said he went to the desert on his own dime and his own time. We also wish he would have taken his own threads. Civilian attire would have been appropriate for this type of personal crusade.