For Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers, holding the elective post isn't just about fighting crime, managing the county jail and ticketing speeders on county roads.
He's spoken out on many other matters as sheriff, notably when he's felt the government has overstepped its bounds or to defend Second Amendment gun rights. Here's a rundown:
Pro-gun rights rally: Rogers, in uniform, spoke at a pro-gun rights rally in South Bend on April 28, warning against new gun control measures.
“I will not allow gun confiscation in my county and I will not enforce any additional anti-gun laws,” Rogers said to loud applause. Any legislation trying to control the Second Amendment, he said, is unconstitutional. (To read more about how Rogers views his role, go to this story that was part of this reporting package.)
Valley View: He parked in a sheriff's department vehicle in Elkhart County's Valley View neighborhood for about an hour one day last March in support of Elkhart County commissioners' moves to prevent Elkhart city officials from halting sewer service in the area.
“We're supporting the people against what we believe to be an improper role of government,” Rogers said at the time.
City officials had threatened to halt sewer service to some customers in the unincorporated area over their refusal to agree to a new, disputed fee schedule. County commissioners, worried about the potential health implications of halting sewer service, decided not to grant city reps the requisite permits to access public right-of-way, needed to cut service.
Rogers then showed up in Valley View the morning of March 20 to make sure city officials didn't try to stop the service anyway.
NDAA: On Feb. 12, Rogers testified before an Indiana Senate committee on behalf of a proposal to prohibit police and sheriff's officials in the state from helping enforce the “indefinite detention provision” of the National Defense Authorization Act.
The provision, ostensibly geared to al-Qaeda terrorists and their allies, has come under fire from conservatives and civil liberties advocates who worry it could be used to detain U.S. citizens without due process.
The state proposal, Senate Bill 400, authored by Sen. Jim Ranks, R-Columbia City, stalled in the Legislature. Banks had invited Rogers to testify, Rogers said.
CNN: Rogers appeared on CNN's “Anderson Cooper 360” on Jan. 31 for an episode dedicated to the gun-control issue. He flew to Washington, D.C., for the program's taping, speaking briefly, in his uniform, defending Second Amendment gun rights.
CSPOA: Rogers inked a petition circulated by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and other organizations expressing opposition earlier this year to gun control efforts at the federal level. He's among 452 sheriffs across the country to voice opposition to the gun control moves, according to the CSPOA.
Rogers is a leader in the CSPOA, formed, in part, to convey the importance of the constitutional rights of the public “with an emphasis on state sovereignty and local autonomy.”
Raw milk: In late 2011, he fired off a letter to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration official, saying the agency would need a warrant signed by a judge if it wanted to inspect a Middlebury area dairy farm. The operation, Forest Grove Dairy, had been subjected to several FDA inspections because it produces, for human consumption, raw milk, which some, including the FDA, say is not safe to drink.
Rogers said the federal efforts amounted to harassment and a federal subpoena ordering the dairy farmer to appear before a grand jury was later withdrawn. He subsequently became the toast of raw milk activists.