It’s alarming how many law enforcement officers are connected to the Oath Keepers

A member of the Oath Keepers attends a rally protesting the 2020 elections.

A member of the Oath Keepers attends a rally protesting the 2020 elections.

Shockers. Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers appears prominently on the Oath Keepers’ leaked data list.

She’s among the elected officials on the oath-keepers-leaked-membership-rolls-2ca4195ed3a10e45dd189bf98f3e5a26″ data-ylk=”slk:extreme far-right group’s membership list” class=”link “>extreme far-right group’s membership listwhich was analyzed by the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism and reported by the Associated Press.

The Arizona connection is well-known. Rogers is a self-proclaimed member of the Oath Keepers who continues to spew white supremacy rhetoric.

What stands out is the sheer number of law enforcement officers drawn to this dangerous group. Its founding leader, Stewart Rhodes, keepers-founder-rhodes-seeks-delay-in-capitol-riot-trial-00055043″ data-ylk=”slk:is facing trial on seditious conspiracy” class=”link “>is facing trial on sad conspiracy and other charges over his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol attacks.

“The data raises fresh concerns about the presence of extremists in law enforcement and the military who are tasked with enforcing laws and protecting the US,” AP wrote in its exclusive reporting.

It sure does.

How many Arizona officers are Oath Keepers?

ADL identified more than 370 people believed to be working in law enforcement agencies, including police chiefs and sheriffs.

Maj. Eben Bratcher, who works for the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, appears on the list. So does an unidentified former member of the Gilbert Police Department who offered to help and who described his skills as “recon Marine, police trainer/supervisor.”

Bratcher was more specific.

“I am currently the Patrol Bureau Commander for the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona. We have 85 sworn officers and Border Mexico on the South and California on the West. I’ve already introduced your web site to dozens of my Deputies,” he wrote.

The same ADL data report notes that Bratcher has claimed he left the Oath Keepers years ago.

Before Jan. 6: Trump supporters staged similar attempt in Arizona

That may be so. But we do believe him? Do we believe any of the others who say they’ve cut ties with the group?

Have these people really “left” the group, or have they simply gone underground given the public scrutiny? How many more current or former law enforcement officers are part of or identified with the Oath Keepers?

That should worry everyone one.

Would they protect us or overthrow government?

AP defines the Oath Keepers as a “loosely organized conspiracy theory-fueled group that recruits current and former military, police and first responders.”

ADL and others have documented the group’s conspiracy theories and activities, including members’ involvement in the US Capitol insurrection. Oath Keepers drew its name from the fact that members are asked to defend the US Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” according to various media reports.

There are hundreds of thousands of sworn law enforcement officers in the US Obviously, a few hundred listed as Oath Keepers is a tiny fraction of the entire force.

But the fact that so many officers are drawn to extracurricular militia activities casts wider distrust of the men and women who swore to protect the public, not work to overthrow the government.

It doesn’t help that too many Republican extremists with similar tenancies are running for public office in Arizona and across the nation touting law enforcement as their allies.

It’s unfair to paint all law enforcement with the same brush as those listed on the Oath Keepers’ membership list.

It’s a huge problem, though, when we don’t know who’s wearing a badge to enforce our laws and protect the public or who’s out to overthrow the government.

Elvia Díaz is the editorial page editor for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Oath Keepers list shows alarmingly large number of police members

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