BLM Law Enforcement-“Gestapo Tactics” in Hearing

hearing(Washington D.C) Local Utah and Nevada officials, yesterday , told a House Subcommittee The armed standoff between Cliven Bundy supporters and the Bureau of Land Management grew out of continued concern about heavy-handed actions by the federal agency’s law enforcement officials. “You may not be aware that much of the support for the rancher by everyday citizens may have resulted from a growing frustration from the way they are treated by local BLM officers,” Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock told the House Natural Resources Committee in the second of a series of hearings on alleged abuses by the BLM. Pollock said the “bullying, intimidation and lack of integrity” by BLM law officers has led to a difficult relationship. “Right or wrong, some equate BLM’s law enforcement operations to the Gestapo of the World War II era,” Pollock says, adding on solution is for the state to take over some of the federal lands, something that 7 western states, including Utah, strongly support.  Pollack said another issue is that the BLM does not respect the face that the elected sheriff is The ranking law enforcement authority in each county… (audio)

Garfield County Sherriff Jim Perkins told the committee how one BLM agents views local law enforcement..  (Audio)

Both men said that the BLM Law Enforcement Director in Utah, recently, cancelled all local law enforcement mutual aid contracts with the counties. Commissioner Pollock also focused on the denial of a BLM contract with his county to provide law enforcement duties on federal lands. In a letter to the committee, Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said the BLM’s refusal to renew the contracts with county sheriffs in the state is “retribution” for Utah’s actions to assert control over public lands. Rep. Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican whose district includes Garfield County, used the hearing to pitch his legislation that would defund what he says are paramilitary units within federal agencies that don’t need such heavily-armed forces, including the BLM. He showed slides of such federal officers — ostensibly from the Bundy standoff — as an example. “I’m not sure having these teams scattered across multiple federal agencies is the best use of limited resources,” Stewart said. “It’s intimidating to the American people and it harms the sense of trust that is so important to establish between Americans and their federal government.”

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