[link to patdollard.com
Undersheriff Ron Trowbridge (Photo Credit: Powers County)
This weekend, an email written by Ron Trowbridge, the undersheriff of Prowers County, Colorado, started sweeping some of the viral corners of the internet. It alleges that a Colorado State Police training encouraged law enforcement officials to look at Bible-believing Christians with intense skepticism.
At first glance, the startling allegations in the letter, which was first posted on the conservative site Red Statements, were seemingly unbelievable. But TheBlaze reached out to Trowbridge to confirm that he wrote the note and to speak further about its contents.
In sum, the undersheriff said that he, indeed, wrote it and that the version that has been published is entirely accurate to what he experienced at the training session. Here are the first two paragraphs of his note, which summarizes the problematic training in its entirety:
On April 1, 2013 I attended training in La Junta, Colorado hosted by the Colorado State Patrol (CSP). The training was from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm and covered two topics, Sovereign Citizens, and Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. I was pretty familiar with motorcycle gangs but since we often deal with the so-called sovereign citizen groups I was interested to see what they had to say. The group consisted of police officers, deputies, and CSP troopers. There were about 20 people in attendance.
Trooper Joe Kluczynski taught a 2-hour section on sovereign citizens. Kluczynski spent most of his two hours focusing on how, in his view and apparently the view of Homeland Security, people turn to the sovereign citizen movement. Kluczynski started off by saying there are probably some sovereign citizens in this room and gave a generalized list of those groups that have sovereign citizen views. Among those groups, Kluczynski had listed, were those who believe America was founded on godly principles, Christians who take the Bible literally, and “fundamentalists”. Kluczynski did not explain what he meant by “fundamentalists” but from the context it was clear he was referring again to those who took the Bible literally or “too seriously.”
For those who are unfamiliar, the sovereign citizen movement is comprised of individuals who believe that they are free from state, local and federal laws. It is a loosely affiliated group that rejects many elements of governance, including, but not limited to, taxation.
As TheBlaze’s Jonathon M. Seidl explained last year, “They’re a mixed bag. Some reject their U.S. citizenship and don’t recognize government authority, like laws and taxes. But others don’t, and are more concerned with private property.” Of late, officials have cited a heightened potential of violence among these individuals as well tax evasion and other related crimes. The FBI began looking at this group more intensely back in 2009, as documented here.
Based on Trowbridge’s account, Kluczynski was essentially saying that Bible-believing Christians who take the holy book literally are more likely to embrace such notions. In his interview with TheBlaze, the undersheriff confirmed this detail, noting that Kluczynski purportedly stereotyped Christians, encouraging the 20 to 25 law enforcement personnel at the meeting to keep a watchful eye over such believers.
“It was a very, very fast course. This guy spoke at a very fast rate and he used a PowerPoint as he was going through it — and the first part of his course was on what causes people to lean more towards the sovereign citizen movement,” Trowbridge told TheBlaze.
“He had a list of groups of people who are likely or who are sovereign citizens. One was Christians and I don’t remember how he worded it, but it was Christians — but when he got to that part he said these are the people who take the Bible literally…these are the people who think that America was founded on Christian principles,” he continued.