Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers has weighed in on a controversy surrounding a Nevada rancher, and visited the scene of the struggle.
Rogers acknowledges the situation is complex. Via a Facebook post, he also said sheriffs have great authority to protect the people from criminals — and sometimes an overreaching government itself.
“Even though this is currently occurring in Nevada, something similar will be coming to a location near you,” the sheriff wrote. “You can bet on it.”
The fight between rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management has widened into a debate about states’ rights and federal land-use policy. The dispute that ultimately triggered the roundup dates to 1993, when the bureau cited concern for the federally protected tortoise in the region.
The Associated Press reports that the bureau revoked Bundy’s grazing rights after he stopped paying grazing fees and disregarded federal court orders to remove his animals.
Earlier this month, the bureau released 400 or so head of Bundy’s cattle that had been rounded up on public land in southern Nevada. That action was taken after hundreds of states’ rights protesters, including militia members, showed up at corrals outside Mesquite to demand the animals’ return to Bundy.
The bureau issued a brief statement saying the cattle were released due to escalating tensions. A cattle roundup was also halted due to safety concerns.
Rogers was invited to Nevada by the Bundy family and the Oath Keepers, a group defining itself as defending the Constitution. The sheriff arrived at the ranch Friday and stayed in the area through Sunday; Rogers said he did so on personal vacation time “and not on the taxpayer dime.”
Rogers said he is sensitive to federal government overreach since his confrontation with the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Justice. This confrontation stemmed from what Rogers termed numerous and unreasonable inspections of an Amish milk farmer in Elkhart County in 2011.