Colo. police hate being used as Obama's political props

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 3, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight: At some point, does this just seem or get ridiculous?


(Voice-over): Hey, remember when this happened?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So the reason you're all here, the reason all these fine-looking young people behind me are here, is that in just over a week, the interest rates on federal student loans are scheduled (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to give the president props for -- well, his props.

VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, who could forget this?

OBAMA: I started getting a lot of letters from kids. Four of them are here today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's always quite a dramatic show when the president wants to put on a choreographed moment.

VAN SUSTEREN: And then there was this one!

OBAMA: Emergency responders, like the ones who are here today, their ability to help communities respond to and recover from disasters will be degraded.

LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS NEWS ANCHOR: The president today resorting to what has become one of his favorite messaging devices. There you see him and his supporters and props.

VAN SUSTEREN: And then again today!

OBAMA: I want to say thank you to the Denver police for having me here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many of the officers were stating that, as police officers, we should be neutral on these very hotly contested issues. We shouldn't be seen or perceived as taking sides. We're being unfairly portrayed, what I would even say is exploited, for one political party's agenda over another.


VAN SUSTEREN: Well, you just saw today in Colorado, President Obama using Denver police officers as a backdrop for his gun control speech. Cops as props? A lot of police officers were not happy with the president, including Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith. He joins us. Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to see you. And Sheriff, presidents from both sides of the aisles have been doing it for decades, using people as props for their points. Today, it's sort of cops as props and -- what do you think about it?

SMITH: You know, I agree with the line-level. Denver police officers that I spoke with that it was completely inappropriate. These officers have a job to do. They should be on the street protecting their community, not used as political props. The officers I talked to were disgusted that they had been coerced and cajoled into trying to get them on to be on stage.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, some of the police officers didn't show up today, or didn't stand by the president. Is that in part because of the very sort of controversial new gun control law in Colorado? Is that what is sort of distressing some police officers or members of law enforcement?

SMITH: Absolutely, Greta. That's what really went over the edge. I personally spoke with some officers that came out to the rally that the sheriffs and I -- Colorado sheriffs held, and they told us that they were adamantly opposed to these gun-grabbing measures that the president's pushed on Colorado, and they were really disgusted by the idea of being pushed up there.

They let us know in no uncertain terms. They weren't allowed to stand with the sheriffs standing up for their community, but we're told it was in their best interests to be at the Denver Police Academy in uniform, trying to represent his views.

VAN SUSTEREN: So did police officers actually feel pressured to be there, police officers and law enforcement who didn't want to be there?

SMITH: Absolutely, Greta. I talked to two officers that didn't wish to be identified. In addition to the stories you've already heard, they told me personally -- one of them said he told his superior he'd call in sick before he would come in and represent views that he thought truly were very wrong views out there. I also heard that the Aurora police department got messages from their chief wanting them to show up in uniform, as well.

VAN SUSTEREN: I suppose also there's some of the law enforcement, though, who were happy to be there, who support the president and support gun control?

SMITH: You know, I certainly hold out law enforcement is like the rest of society. There's divided views. Not everybody is of the same mindset. I recognize certainly some of the chiefs, and let's face it, these chiefs don't come from Colorado oftentimes. They come from other areas. They're appointed by mayors to represent their views. If that's what they want to do, they certainly have a right to. But they really should respect the rights and the beliefs of line-level peace officers.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you feel -- do you think Colorado's sort of being used as a sort of a political backdrop? I mean, he chose Colorado. They could have gone to any other states. There are a number of other states. But does it bother you that he chose Colorado, or are you proud?

SMITH: Really, what bothers us is that we've been a pawn in a political play, certainly following the tragedies that occurred out here in Aurora, as well as the one in Newtown, that there was a nationwide political agenda. And between a billionaire mayor, Bloomberg, and the president, they're trying to impose the Chicago and Washington, D.C., policies on Colorado. They didn't work there and they will not work in Fort Collins, Colorado, either.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think should be done, if anything, about the whole issue surrounding guns and violence?

SMITH: You know, I think what you really hit on, Greta, is violence. Violence is the key here. However, we know that -- there's a challenge. It's really going to take America looking in the mirror at itself to deal with these issues. These things can't simply be legislated.

However, as sheriffs, we certainly have ideas on measures that can be taken to allow us -- nobody more than peace officers wants to get guns out of the hands of felons. But our governor and our legislature has proven they have no interest in that. They've really completely set aside any of the values or beliefs that sheriffs have brought to this debate.

VAN SUSTEREN: What I always think is sort of unusual is that a state can create laws -- like, you have new laws in your state. But if I want -- if I couldn't have a gun in your state, if I couldn't get one lawfully under your state, I'd just go next door to one of the other states, go buy what I need, and then come back home to Colorado. I mean, that's the sort of irony of it is that, you know, we -- you know -- that there are ways to get them by just driving a couple miles.

SMITH: Absolutely, Greta. That's one of the challenges that we raised. My community, we border Wyoming, and it's what I refer to as the Cheyenne shuffle. Residents can legally drive 45 minutes up the road and make a gun transaction, whether they buy it from a dealer or whether they buy it from a private individual, and they can be completely legal. And that's assuming -- you know, these are all based on assumptions that the criminals are going to follow these laws. They really just burden law- abiding citizens.

I've got citizens an hour-and-a-half away from my headquarters, waiting for a sheriff's deputy to arrive, and they're told that they're limited to 10 rounds or 15 rounds to defend themselves? I really find that reprehensible.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sheriff, thank you. Nice to talk to you, sir.

SMITH: I appreciate the opportunity, Greta. Thank you.