Sovereign Citizens, Officer Safety and Social Media
LAwS Communications is teaming up with Chief Bob Paudert to bring officer safety training about the Sovereign Citizens movement to police officers electronically. Details are below.
May 20, 2010 was a very tragic day. Not only because it marks the day when two more officers died in the line of the duty, but for the father of one of those officers, it’s especially tragic because it might have been prevented. Bob Paudert was Chief of Police in West Memphis, Arkansas on that day in May nearly two years ago, when he was driving down Highway 40 with his wife Linda and heard the call that an officer was down. At that point, he didn’t know if it were one of his agency’s officers or another’s, and he surely didn’t expect what he learned when he arrived on the scene. One of the officers gun-downed during a traffic stop, was his own son Sergeant Brandon Paudert and Brandon’s partner Officer Bill Evans. The murderers were Jerry and Joe Kane, father and son. Joe Kane was just 16 years at the time. But due to “training” from his father, not too young to brandish the AK-47 that didn’t give the officers a chance. If you haven’t seen the tragic video of that day’s events, please view it here, before you read further.
The Feds dropped the ball
The Kanes were members of the “Sovereign Citizens” movement. Chief Paudert says if only the federal government had shared more of what it knew about these types of threats to domestic security, his son Brandon and partner Bill might be alive today. Instead, the two officers didn’t know who or what they were dealing with. In a taped interview shortly after the officers were killed, Paudert said they didn’t stand a chance. “… those those bullets fro the AK47 penetrate anything that’s in front of it. Brandon when he took cover, but he just didn’t have cover. It just penetrated and riddled is body with bullets.”
To the Chief, information sharing from the feds to state and local law enforcement has been non-existent and he hasn’t been shy about sharing that opinion. Paudert has had direct and personal contact with Attorney General Eric Holder, as well as with the staff at the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Unit. Paudert politely points out that the federal government insists they are aware of the problem and are “working on it”, and that he has seen significant changes in these agencies in the recent months. He explained, “the U. S. Attorney has had a representative at each of our conferences to contribute resources and share information with the state and local officers. I have also been in contact with the FBI and they too are participating in the conferences and using the NCIC to alert officers on the possible dangers on traffic stops. With this effort, of all working together and sharing critical information, we will save officers’ lives”. In recent weeks, we’ve seen several main stream news articles indicating that the Feds are finally addressing the issue.
But Chief Paudert is too smart to know the feds aren’t going to take care of business like it needs to happen, so he’s taken it upon himself, as painful as that can be. Every day since that day in 2010 he’s been the spokesperson for educating law officers of the danger of sovereign citizens.
And then he quit his job
In order to meet the needs of the law enforcement community, Chief Paudert quit his post as Chief of Police in West Memphis as of August 31, 2011. On September 1st, he began a non-stop road-trip of public appearances to speak to law enforcement groups about sovereign citizens.
He had been speaking to groups all along but wanted to devote more time to his mission. But, traveling constantly, as the Chief has been doing, can take a toll on self and on family. Paudert has no plans to quit because he feels he’s only scratching the service of what needs to be done to spread his message of officer safety. Instead, he wants to expand his reach to meet a bigger and growing demand.
Early in 2011 I connected with Chief Paudert to present the idea of using the power of social media to more efficiently spread his message to a bigger audience. The Chief’s not a technical guy, not many chiefs are, but he instantly understood the possibilities. In the beginning, he said, he struggled with email, phone and speaking engagements to warn law officers of the dangers of the “insidious sovereign citizens’ movement, calling the task daunting and exhaustive. He added, “With social media we can get our message out to thousands of officers in much less time and cost. Time is certainly a major factor in this mission. The more we reach, the more lives will be saved.” And that’s the bottom line.
First we created a Facebook fan page for the Chief. Please hit the “like” button. If you explore the tabs on the left, you’ll discover resources covering the many dangers of the Sovereign Citizen movement, educational videos, law enforcement tips, and links to a wealth of other information about domestic terrorists at the Southern Poverty Law Center website.
Growing the message
Because the Chief can’t be stretched far enough to meet demand and the need for education in this area, he has teamed up with LAwS Communications to bring his important training – the same training he delivers on the road – to law enforcement in a webinar format.
To begin, we scheduled two dates and times, April 16th at 1:00 p.m. and April 23rd at 6:00 p.m. By holding two webinars, our intention is to accommodate shift changes. At $49, we’ve kept the cost as low as possible and we hope it is within the reach of any agency’s budget.
Here are all the important links you need:
To download the flier with all the info, click here.
To register for the webinars click here.
To find Chief Paudert’s Facebook Fan Page, click here.
The YouTube video (also inserted above), can be found here.
An interview with Paudert by Commercial Appeal, part one, is here.
An interview with Paudert by Commercial Appeal, part two, is here.
The Call to Action: Social Media for Officer Safety
With social media, there is no end to the possible outcomes. Personally, I want to see these tools used strategically by law enforcement agencies in investigations and for community engagement, and also by people like Paudert, who have important information to share. But it doesn’t end here.
We, collectively, are an army…. a really big one. After you attend this webinar, use what you learn to share the information far and wide. Schedule within your social media agenda to tweet one tweet every day just one message to help keep YOUR officers safe. There are many many more officer safety messages to be shared (and we have plans to do so here at LAwS Communications in the future.) If every law enforcement agency on Twitter tweeted just one officer safety message per day, that would be tens of thousands of messages. The really exciting part is that those messages also reach beyond officers into the huge community of supporters. Together, WE CAN squash the hate. All of it, everwhere. At least our voice of support for officer safety initiatives should be louder than the rest.
To register to attend the Sovereign Citizen and Officer Safety Webinar click the links below:
To keep abreast of future news about The SMILE Conference, social media in law enforcement and how LAwS Communications will promote the use of social media to expand messages of officer safety, please join the LAwSComm email list here.