Created: May 05, 2020 06:19 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Sierra County Sheriff deputized about 20 church members over the weekend. He said it’s about ensuring safety for the community, but he was still very critical of the governor.
At an in-person church service over the weekend, Sheriff Glenn Hamilton railed against the governor’s public health order.
“She didn't open our communities she didn’t' open our businesses,” Sheriff Hamilton said during the church service.
There has been one case of COVID-19 in Sierra County so far, as the virus continues to claim lives elsewhere in the state.
“I'm not in any way shape or form attempting to minimize the impact that that's had on our state on their friends and on their families, but the reality, folks, is that we're all going to die,” the sheriff said.
In the middle of the Sunday service, the sheriff deputized any churchgoer who was willing to sign up.
“I guess one of the benefits of what we just did here is that under the governor's order law enforcement is exempted from her order—believe me folks that is not my intent here today,” he said.
In a phone interview, Sheriff Hamilton said it’s about recruiting help and preparing for the worst.
“Should riot conditions start existing, should civil disobedience, it could be everything from crowd control measures to as simple as administrative staff duties,” the sheriff said.
“They wouldn't be engaged in actual law enforcement duties per se unless the individual is maybe retired law enforcement,” he added.
The sheriff said he has offered up deputization to all churches in Sierra County and is expecting more people to sign up.
He said those special deputies have no authority whatsoever until he calls them into service. So far, that has not happened.
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