The air-conditioned auditorium at Central Valley High School filled with badge-wearing Republicans eager to hear Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich's take on domestic and international threats and the war against police. Also, the "myth" of police militarization.
Knezovich's presentation of the "True Threats" facing our community, in brief:
You know, those people who live in the United States but refuse to acknowledge the authority of the state. They carry documents declaring all this and are increasingly likely to resort to violence, Knezovich says.
The myth of police militarization:
Knezovich scoffed at the "myth of police militarization." Which isn't to say that his department hasn't received helicopters, an MRAP and 57 M16s from the Department of Defense’s 1033 surplus-war-gear program. But his office needs those things, he said. They have long been up against a dizzying array of foes.
Just ask the U.S. Attorney:
"The U.S. Attorney is in the audience, folks," said Knezovich, nodding towards Michael Ormsby, who was seated stage-side. "And he will tell you that the FBI is probably the most tight-lipped organization in the world, and they will talk about nothing. You have no idea what those men and women that serve you on a daily basis have prevented in this county. You have no concept. And I’m going to get into some case studies that happened in Spokane. We didn’t know about it — nope. Why not? The FBI doesn’t talk about cases. Right?"
Questions the sheriff is sick of:
During the audience-questions segment, Knezovich sought to move things along by addressing some questions he gets asked all the time — and is tired of answering — right out of the gate. Those frequently asked questions included:
- What about FEMA camps?
- What about the military coming to get our guns?
- What about the military takeover to happen this summer?
- Why did Walmart close five stores in the U.S.?
- What about the 100-mile Constitution Free Zone around the U.S. border?
Knezovich said none of these things are going on, just stop worrying about them. Need something new to worry about? Knezovich's list: gangs, extremists, sovereign citizens... true threats.
Even after Knezovich dispelled those questions, though, the first question from the audience was: If the federal government instructs officers to go door to door to collect firearms under a presidential order, will they do it? Nope, neither the military nor the Sheriff's Office will be coming to get your guns.
Knezovich vs. the ACLU:
Knezovich has a bone to pick with the American Civil Liberties Union, who released a study
indicating that his SWAT team had impacted 588 black Spokanites per 100,000 from 2011-2012. Knezovich's own records indicate the ACLU is way off, and he says the ACLU is now trying to figure out how it arrive at that figure.
ISIS is coming: "
I had a Facebook discussion with somebody — actually, an elected official — he told me that ISIS wasn’t a threat to the United States," said Knezovich, drawing laughter from the audience. He called the non-believing elected official an ostrich.
Also, too: "There are some of you on the ISIS hit list,” warned Knezovich, adding that ISIS has put a bounty on the heads of law enforcement.
Knezovich did some calculations and concluded that the largest police departments in the country are using their SWAT teams to kick in a maximum of 6.5 doors a year to serve no-knock narcotics warrants. "And good luck getting a no-knock warrant in this state, right, Mike?"
Ormsby didn't respond.
For those who didn't get to attend the multi-hour presentation, Knezovich said he's sending the slides from the presentation. We'll post those when we get them.
UPDATE: This blog has been updated to clarify that the sheriff's SWAT records raise questions about the ACLU's study.