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
Dear Fellow Sheriffs, Deputies and Support Staff:
Last week we completed our Western States Sheriffs’ Association (WSSA) annual conference in Reno, NV. I appreciated the opportunity to speak with many of you at the conference but recognize that several Sheriffs were not able to attend this year. I know that while the Sheriffs were attending this conference, the work within our agencies by each of our staff continues. Our work is essential in each of our communities and has a direct impact on our nation as a whole.
I want to take a moment to introduce myself to those of you I have not met, and extend my appreciation for the dedication, commitment, and overall great work you all do. At the conference, I had the distinct honor to be sworn in as the next President Sheriff for WSSA for 2022-2023. I am truly humbled to lead such an incredible organization and represent each of you. I have been involved in law enforcement since 1992, as a volunteer Explorer Scout, as a limited commission Park Ranger, and as a sworn Colorado Peace Officer since 1999. During my career, I have served as Officer/Deputy, Investigator, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Commander. I am currently in my second term as the elected Sheriff in Grand County, CO. Grand County is about 1,850 square miles nestled in northwest Colorado, about 90 minutes from the Denver area. We are home to about 15,000 year-round residents, nearly 35,000 second homeowners, and visited by over 2 million people annually: mainly for our outdoor recreational activities.
My passion, which is likely shared with many of you, is law enforcement and serving my community. I am excited for us to work together and channel our drive to support our communities and commitment to law enforcement to tackle several critical issues. During our conference, I highlighted the key points for my vision of 2022-2023 and I want to share them here with you so we can work together to make a difference.
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.