About The WSSA

The Western States Sheriffs’ Association is comprised of Sheriffs and their command staff from 16 Western States that include Washington, Wyoming, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, California, Arizona, Nevada, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota South Dakota, Colorado, Montana, Texas and Oklahoma.

The Association was formed in 1993 in an effort to allow Sheriffs to assist each other in fulfilling their duties and obligations related to law enforcement in their respective counties.

The Sheriffs in the Western United States are faced with many issues that you do not find in the east. The wide open spaces and abundant public land require Sheriffs to work on developing and maintaining relationships with Federal and State agencies in order to provide effective law enforcement services in our respective counties. The Western Sheriffs’ maintain responsibility for the traditional law enforcement needs of the county including search and rescue, tribal issues, jails and many other traditional Sheriff responsibilities.

Our Mission

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.

Message From Our President

When the Western States Sheriffs’ Association began some 25 years ago, it was primarily founded to address law enforcement conflicts on public lands and the fact that issues facing western Sheriffs were not being addressed by the National Sheriffs’ Association. I realize that public lands issues will always be with us, but I am personally excited by how far we have come as an organization.

The original sheriffs who founded this organization from beginning six states would be very pleased to see that we have grown to sixteen states strong and is now a voice often sought on a variety of law enforcement related issues throughout the country. We are recognized as a powerful voice on issues dealing with the sovereignty of the office of Sheriff as well as second amendment, immigration, and other issues that are particularly important to Sheriffs in the western United States.

With regards to the National Sheriffs’ Association, we have commanded respect through persistent work and through our participation and involvement in the NSA. Our own Danny Glick has been the President of the National Sheriffs’ Association and many of our members are or have been board members for the NSA. Several more serve on a variety of committees ensuring that the unique issues that we face in the West are heard and addressed on a national level.

Humble as we may be, we cannot ignore that the office of Sheriff is well respected and people listen to what we have to say.

When we say it as an organization representing the Sheriffs from sixteen states, our voice is very loud. This work done by your association is not completed in a vacuum. Membership in the organization is important, but your involvement and participation is critical. I encourage you to get involved and be part of the solution to a wide variety of matters that we deal with as Sheriffs. It is a privilege and honor to serve as your President in this milestone, 25th year of the Western States Sheriff’s Association.


Sheriff Ben Wolfinger

President, WSSA

What We Do

The Mission of the Western States Sheriffs Association is adhered to in our areas of focus as an organization. It is important that the citizens across the western United States recognize where our resources are expended.  There are a multitude of issues that we as an organization dedicate much of our time and effort. The three areas listed below are a snapshot of why it remains important to protect the elected Office of Sheriff and why we came together to collectively combat issues affecting your safety, security, and liberty.


  • WSSA has partnered with the Southwest Border Sheriffs Coalition and the Texas Border Sheriffs coalition to address issues surrounding border security.
  • We recognize there is a distinct difference between immigration and border security. The federal government must be held accountable to address illegal immigration in this country.
  • WSSA believes the issue of border security must be addressed through the collaboration with our federal partners.
  • The criminal element that comes with a lack of security on our nation’s border is affecting the lives of American citizens across this country.
  • WSSA members understand that this is a nationwide problem and deserves the attention of Sheriffs across the west.


  • The 2nd amendment to our nation’s constitution guarantees the individual right to keep and bear arms.
  • WSSA members have taken a firm stance on protecting this right and ensuring that no person, legally entitled to possess a firearm, realizes any pressure from laws inconsistent with the Constitution.
  • We continue to monitor this issue, both regionally and nationally and join to defeat any legislation that seeks to impair our 2nd amendment right including Amicus Briefs in support of second amendment rights in lawsuits in California, Maryland, and Colorado


  • WSSA has remained deeply invested in the issues that pertain to the use of public lands. Land management agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management regularly attend WSSA conferences.
  • It is critical to the role of the elected Sheriff to maintain open lines of communication with these agencies to ensure that law enforcement activities on public lands across the west are consistent with the desire of the elected Sheriff in each county.
  • WSSA members also recognize the economic and social impacts of land management decisions and work to ensure that county governments remain actively involved in discussions surrounding roads, trails, and grazing, mining and overall use of public lands.
  • WSSA members maintain a position of no tolerance for the inconsistent application of rules and regulations on our nation’s public lands.
  • With the vast area of public land in the western United States, WSSA continues to argue for Increased funding for Sheriffs who provide services on these public lands.

Become A Member

Join the WSSA and get exclusive access to our community, news and resources to help empower your agency.