New York, NY, October 6, 2021 – ADL’s (Anti-Defamation League) Center on Extremism today released a report detailing the widespread and alarmingly effective efforts of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) and its founder, Richard Mack, to recruit law enforcement into the anti-government “patriot” movement.
The central tenet of CSPOA, borrowed from the anti-government extremist sovereign citizen movement, is that the county sheriff is the ultimate authority in the county, able to halt enforcement of any federal or state law or measure they deem unconstitutional. Mack, a former Arizona sheriff, has used this false narrative to oppose gun control laws and, in the last two years, to exploit anger and frustration over federal and state actions to combat COVID-19.
ADL is releasing this report today because we are especially alarmed that Mack is increasingly seeking out law enforcement audiences, billing his extremist events as “trainings.” In a disturbing development, in 2021, Mack won official state approval for his “trainings” in Montana and Texas, which allows attendees to receive continuing education credit for attending Mack’s events.
“Given the scope and scale of this growing threat, ADL has developed policy recommendations to assist local, state and federal law enforcement agencies screen for extremist content,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “Among the recommendations: States should review law enforcement training curricula to ensure that trainings serve a legitimate and specific law enforcement purpose, teach principles that are in accord with current federal and state law and judicial rulings, and do not attempt to spread partisan or ideological viewpoints.”