The CSPOA Event That Wasn't
March 14, 2023
The founder of the CSPOA Richard Mack bragged for a month that the event in Illinois would be big.
And then it wasn’t. Only five Illinois sheriffs (out of an anticipated 90-something) showed up.
In his weekly webinar, Mack admitted a series of failures. He had a kidney stone and was unable to go to Illinois. So, he called in reinforcements: Ex-sheriff Brad Rogers and the newest convert, Coryell County Sheriff Scott Williams from Texas, both “big-time supporters of the CSPOA,” according to Mack.
The March 4 event in Springfield, Illinois was intended to be a part of the CSPOA’s expansion effort, which Mack nicknamed the “Texas Strategy.” He intended to show up, recruit dozens of sheriffs to his cause, convert a few into hard-core believers, and spread the word.
It all started back in January 2023 when around 80 sheriffs, alongside the Illinois State Sheriff Association, signed a letter opposing pending legislation that would limit certain types of firearms. Sheriffs also used a template, probably from the ISSA, to proclaim their intent to “not follow” the law, if it were passed.
The CSPOA took note, and a county commissioner named Jenny Martin coordinated an event that would be a training/ recruiting session for Illinois sheriffs.
Martin also emailed the sheriffs association and individual sheriffs, encouraging them to attend the CSPOA event. (The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights – IREHR – did a great deal of research on tracking the background for this event, and I am indebted to them for the research.)
The emails from Martin included the training materials from Mack’s CSPOA “Texas Tour” as well as ringing endorsements from several Texas sheriffs.
But it didn’t work out. The IREHR sent letters to each sheriff’s office in the state as well as lawmakers, urging them to condemn the CSPOA event. At least one legislator issued a statement arguing that the CSPOA event was an example of far-right activity on par with the Oath Keepers. In the end, barely anyone attended and even Mack had to admit failure. There were, he said, only about 20 people, including five sheriffs, and a lonely John Birch Society table.
After the event, Mack mourned that he even called the sheriff of Springfield who never called him back. He sent out an email blast to all sheriffs using a list he purchased, and one sheriff told him to take his name off of the list.
“The reason we don’t have sheriffs on board is because they are ignorant,” Mack said. “We got our foot in the door…We did the best we could.”
I wrote one piece for Bolts about Tarrant County’s attempt to set up an “election police” and a piece for The Appeal about the dangerous Harris County Jail.