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Sheriffs are key to BLM mission, but local politics intrude

When the Bureau of Land Management faced down an armed militia while rounding up rancher Cliven Bundy's cows last April in the southern Nevada desert, missing was a key ally, Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie. The sheriff and his deputies left federal rangers to manage hundreds of protesters, many of whom saw Gillespie as the area's sole legitimate police authority. BLM had tried for months to secure Gillespie’s assistance, but the deal disintegrated at the 11th hour. "Sadly, [Gillespie] backed out of his commitment shortly before the operation -- and after months of joint planning and sharing of accurate information," BLM spokesman Craig Leff said.

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