Montezuma County Sheriff Wants to Keep Federal Law Enforcement on Public Lands

Mar 14, 2017

Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin said Monday he opposes a bill before Congress that would terminate the law-enforcement functions of the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

The bill, HB 622, was introduced by Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, and is before several committees. It would provide block grants to states to pay for enforcing federal laws on federal lands and is intended to increase local and state authority over those lands. But Nowlin told the county commissioners he believes the bill would force him to hire more deputies and would increase costs for the sheriff’s office beyond what the grants might provide. He said he doesn’t believe the funding would be reliable and his office is “already stretched pretty thin.” Nowlin said while Utah supports the measure, every sheriff in Colorado is against it.