A Colorado sheriff's claim that a recent police training he attended included a warning against Bible-believing Christians has created some intense questions for the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) surrounding the public institutions' views on people of faith.
On Tuesday, TheBlaze spoke with Ron Trowbridge, undersheriff of Prowers County, Colorado, who attended the training; he confirmed the troubling allegations he previously outlined in a letter surrounding the incident. And later in the day, representatives from CSP and DHS also responded to the controversy.
Undersheriff Ron Trowbridge (Photo Credit: Powers County)
As previously covered, the training session was focused upon two primary subjects: Motorcycle gangs and the sovereign citizen movement (for a description of this latter group, please refer to our original coverage). Based on Trowbridge’s account, Joe Kluczynski, the individual delivering the training, essentially told officials that Bible-believing Christians who take the holy book literally are more likely to be a part of the sovereign citizen movement.
"He had a list of groups of people who are likely or who are sovereign citizens," the undersheriff told TheBlaze." One was Christians and I don’t remember how he worded it, but it was Christians -- but when he got to that part he said these are the people who take the Bible literally…these are the people who think that America was founded on Christian principles."
Sergeant Mike Baker, a public information officer with the CSP, responded to TheBlaze's inquiry about these claims with a brief statement, essentially noting that Trowbridge's charges are not substantiated by others who attended the same training.
"A law enforcement training class offered by the Colorado State Patrol on April 1, 2013, in southeastern Colorado has come under scrutiny from one of its attendees, a local county undersheriff," the release read. "The specific assertion was that the Colorado State Patrol would target members of certain religious or political ideologies."
Baker's statement went on to note that officials had spoken with "several officers who attended this same training" and that they did not interpret the comments delivered by Kluczynski in the same manner as the undersheriff.
"We regret that he misrepresented the training material in a way that clearly is not the position of the Colorado State Patrol," the release concludes.
Earlier in the afternoon, DHS also responded to TheBlaze, noting that the government office had nothing to do with the presentation. Rather than responding to its contents or the overarching controversy surrounding it, the office focused on its work with the faith community and sought to separate itself from the training.
"The training referenced in the Undersheriff’s letter was not done in coordination with DHS and no DHS training materials were part of the prepared presentation," the Homeland Security release read. "DHS provides law enforcement around the country with access to training that focuses on the behaviors and indicators of violent behavior, regardless of the ideology that may motivate it."
TheBlaze reached out to Trowbridge for comment, but has not yet reached him. We will continue to examine this story.
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