Come In. Connect. Collaborate.
Sheriffs in the Western US face unique challenges.
You don’t have to face them alone.
A WSSA Membership will help you:
Build an alliance when facing distinctive concerns
Develop partnerships among Sheriffs from neighboring states
Connect with other Sheriffs who understand your experiences
Find an avenue to discuss matters unique to the Western U.S.
We know the role of Sheriff in the western United States is complex.
You want to serve your community with confidence and expertise. The problem is, Sheriffs in the Western U.S. often feel isolated—confronting each pressing matter independently. With such diverse terrain that includes large cities, sparse rural areas, massive federal lands, facing all of the issues that arise can feel like a constant uphill climb.
At Western States Sheriffs Association, we get it.
We know how important connection and collaboration are to law enforcement executives. A western Sheriff must balance matters like tribal concerns, floods, fires, and search and rescue alongside jails and other traditional responsibilities. That’s why we offer partnerships and provide timely resources. We help empower the office of Sheriff as we face concerns entirely unique in the western U.S.
Develop partnerships for the concerns you face every day.
The mission of the Western States Sheriffs’ Association is to assist sheriffs and their offices with federal and state legislative issues, address policy and procedural matters, develop guidelines to promote uniformity in matters that are important to sheriffs of the western United States and to work together to keep the office of the Sheriff strong.
A Message From Our President
Hello to the membership of Western States Sheriff’s Association,
It was nice to gather and see each other again. For those of you were able to visit us in Reno for our conference, Thank YOU very much. We, the organization needs you very much. Sheriff Fred Lamphere, thanks for the great job you did in a difficult year.
As we prepare for the next year of challenges, I’m going to reflect back on some of the past of what made me want to join WSSA. The opportunity really didn’t become possible until 2009, the sheriff before me wasn’t interested. However, a sheriff I went to high school with was a real recruiter and talked me into it. After my first meeting in Vegas, I recognized the value of WSSA. Tony Harbaugh was the mentor encouraging me to join as he and others, were founding members. WSSA was struggling, at least that was my first impression,
Jim Pond came forward and made some incredible promises, at least to this kid in the cheap seats. Well, Jim has proven up on those promises and we continue to get better each year. We had a first timer that I know of, Sheriff Danny Glick was president of NSA and WSSA at the same time, WOW!
Each conference I listen to a sheriff recount an event in their life, thinking, I don’t think I’ll ever hear something that will top that, but I do. The incredible part of being a sheriff is forward thinking, what are the unintended consequences of the decisions I, we, are about to make. Being able to hear shared experiences like that are stored in our cognitive section for retrieval later.
The level of respect is accumulated by calming a situation or handling it with a call to someone you know. Our reputation is built by our behavior, our citizens know we care and we will listen. There are people with PhD’s out there, degrees and the like, second guessing every move we make. I met some of those people, academically talented they are, but in real life, they can’t tell the difference between a birchen strap and a bridle.
The Story of the Sheriff’s Saddle
It’s a plain saddle, not covered in fancy silver Conchos or a lot of tooling. This is a practical, tough working saddle. The saddle sets empty of a rider, representing that the Office of Sheriff will have many occupants over time. You will notice that the stirrups on this saddle are adjustable, representing its need for adaptability to the persons who will occupy the saddle over time.
Attached along the right side is a scabbard and rifle representing the dangers that a sheriff will face while in office. He must be prepared to bravely face those dangers.
Attached to the back of the saddle are leather saddle bags. In the right saddlebag, you will find an ammunition pouch. That pouch carries an extra box of ammunition for the Sheriff’s rifle. This represents the dedication and endurance a Sheriff must demonstrate as he must be prepared for a long, tough fight. Also, in the right saddle bag is a Bible. The Bible represents the Sheriff’s commitment to a cause greater than himself. It represents honor, integrity, and eternal thoughts.
In the left saddlebag, protected in a leather pouch, are copies of the United States Constitution. The Sheriff must keep his solemn word to uphold and defend this sacred document.
Sitting next to the saddle is the Sheriff’s hat. Throughout his work, the Sheriff must protect his vision. He must be able to see his way clearly, and his hat protects him from the sun, the wind, and the rain.
Hanging off the saddle horn is a bridle and a set of spurs. The bridle and reins represent the Sheriff’s responsibility for directing his agency. The Sheriff also uses the spurs to signal the need to move forward or to pick up the pace, and a touch of the reins slows things down. Over time, a wise and practiced Sheriff learns to give subtle cues by simply shifting his weight in the saddle and finds that he only needs a light touch of the reins and spurs.
The Sheriff also carries a supply of hardtack in his saddlebags and a canteen of water slung around the saddle horn. The sheriff needs these things to maintain his strength. Tied behind his saddle is a bedroll. The bedroll represents the many long and cold nights that the Sheriff will spend away from his home.
In addition to the bedroll, there is a slicker draped across the back of his saddle. Throughout the journey, the Sheriff will encounter many storms. He must be prepared to weather the storms and do so under the protection of his duster.