Wall ready for sheriff's job

After 12 years, Warner eager to begin next phase



Outgoing Routt County Sheriff John Warner, behind desk, visits with sheriff-elect Gary Wall on Friday. Wall takes office Jan. 9 and has yet to name an undersheriff.

If you go

What: Sheriff-elect Gary Wall's inauguration

When: Noon Jan. 9

Where: Routt County Courthouse District Courtroom

— Gary Wall won't bother with slapping a new coat of paint on the walls and rearranging the furniture in the Routt County Sheriff's Office when he takes over Jan. 9.

Instead, Wall is hoping to leave the office west of town altogether. If he has his druthers, Wall will make his office in the Routt County Courthouse.

He said being downtown is his way of fulfilling a campaign promise to be more accessible to residents. Wall also campaigned on a promise to respect residents' civil liberties and rights.

Wall coasted to a relatively easy victory in November, beating Republican opponent Garrett Wiggins by more than 4,000 votes - a 55 percent to 45 percent margin.

"I am honored," said Wall, who is about to become Routt County's first Democratic sheriff since 1982. "After running a clean campaign where my philosophies and policies were clearly articulated, I'm honored."

After attending a required County Sheriffs of Colorado Sheriff's Institute earlier this month, Wall said he is eager to tackle the challenges he will face in undertaking the lead law enforcement position in the county.

Taking the reins

Wall and outgoing Sheriff John Warner shook hands and sat down for nearly four hours last week to chat about being sheriff. Warner has dedicated the past 12 years of his life to the role.

"I've been though five of these transitions, or as I saw them, lack of transitions," Warner said. "With Gary, I wanted to make sure that we were going to have a smooth transition."

Warner said it can be difficult for an incoming sheriff when the outgoing sheriff just throws him the keys on the way out. Sharing his experiences from the past 12 years with Wall will be important for maintaining a healthy department, Warner said.

"Because Gary is the incoming sheriff, I feel it is my job to educate him on the issues," he said. "I'd feel guilty if I didn't."

The men spent Thursday going over the department's budget, county policies, hiring procedures and some of the issues Wall will face in the next four years such as jail overcrowding and employee retention. Warner has prepared an evidence and armory inventory for Wall to inherit when he comes in.

Wall said he is hopeful to have more meetings with Warner in the next two weeks.

"I'm very grateful for our relationship," Wall said. "Every-one has been very helpful."

No housecleaning

Wall will give his cell phone number to all employees to call him with questions.

"I have met with several officers at the Sheriff's Office and talked to them about my philosophies," he said. "I wanted to put them at ease that I'm not going to come in there and clean house."

Wall said he will make changes only after analyzing current policies.

"I will look at the structure and then look at altering or changing whichever policies or procedures I think need altering or changing," he said. "I'm not going to walk in there and make all these sweeping changes without getting employee input first."


Wall, 65, still has not said who will be his undersheriff or second in command.

"I've considered a lot of people," he said. "I thought it was important not to dilute what I was doing during my campaign. I found no reason to rush into that decision."

Wall will be inaugurated Jan. 9. He wants as many employees from the Sheriff's Office present at the ceremony as possible, which will be at noon in the Routt County Courthouse District Courtroom. Chief Judge Michael O'Hara will conduct the ceremony.

"I wanted this moment to be special and memorable for me and my staff," he said.

Other county officials will be sworn into their offices at 8 a.m. Jan. 9 in the Routt County Courthouse Annex.

After the ceremony, Wall said he'll get started.

"As I promised, there will be changes in philosophy at the (Sheriff's Office)," he said. "Everything is going to be just fine. I'm not confused about what to do."

Leaving a legacy

Thinking back on his career, John Warner hopes he is remembered as a cooperative sheriff who bettered the communities he served.

"I think we've demonstrated that," he said. "Because of our cooperation with other agencies, we've been able to get through some pretty tough dealings."

During his time as sheriff, Warner said he has seen it all from births on the sides of roads to plane crashes.

He jokes that his book will be out in April.

"In my first term, first year, we had the visit from the Hell's Angels," he said. "In my last year of my last term, we had the visit from the Rainbow (Family of Living Light). I think (the book) is going to be called 'From Hell over the Rainbow.'

"I've loved what I've done, but it's time for a change," he said.

-To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com


Ilike2dv8 10 years, 3 months ago

Everyone can use a little luck, Gary Wall will need it. The fact is too many at the Sheriff's office are all ready on the way out for fear of working for a lawless Sheriff. Let's hope that the new Sheriff can manange a positive and effective office.


Otto_Stader 10 years, 3 months ago

Warner has been an ineffective, do-nothing and duty-shirking polyp. Those of us who have gone to his office for help and been put off to do-nothing underlings and incompetent deputies know it only too well.

We'll see how Wall does on civil liberties. Isn't being able to obtain protection from criminals a civil liberty? I thought it was, but not during Warner's reign.

Come ON January 9th! It's about time.


Matthew Stoddard 10 years, 3 months ago

Hey Otto- What was your problem and what was the reason for not helping you? Just wondering because I've never had a problem with any law enforcement officer slacking or going overboard in almost 30yrs here. Just wondering since you didn't go into any specifics.


Otto_Stader 10 years, 3 months ago

It doesn't matter now Kielbasa. Nobody can undo the damage.

Hey, did you ever wonder about all the paperwork that seems to get lost in Routt County? Like the citation issued to Don Nord, for example? No tickee, no hearing, no prosecution, etc. That was not an isolated incident.

The greatest power law enforcment officers have is to NOT prosecute criminals. Think about it. Who do you turn to when that happens? Nobody.

Gary Wall appears to be someone who is capable of analytical thought. If he can combine that with some respect for the law, things will be better.


ihatestupidpeople 10 years, 3 months ago

otto get ready to really have nothing done when you need the routt county sheriffs deputies. it is so stupid for gary to have his office over at the court house seeing as how when the justice center is done that is were all the dep. will be going. plus they will have to drive across town to talk to there boss that is stupid.


Otto_Stader 10 years, 3 months ago

Maybe Gary Wall will come outside and do something himself. That would be a change in itself.


Matthew Stoddard 10 years, 3 months ago

No, Otto, I don't wonder about the citations, especially for Don Nord. I've had problems that I've had to call the sheriff on and they respond quickly & have always taken care of my problems. I only have my own experiences to go on, and luckily, I rarely have to call for anything, but when I do, I've never had a problem getting helped.

I live in Silver Spur, where Gary Wall hangs his hat. Now, I don't have a radar, but I've seen his truck (the white pick-up with that had the large campaign signs) going thru the neighborhood...sometimes a little quickly to my eyes. Might still be under 25mph, but until I buy a personal radar I can't say for sure. I've also seen the "California" stops from that same vehicle.

So nobody's going to be your perfect sheriff this time any more than last time. I had wonderful service from the few times I've had to call. We'll see if that continues in the future.


Otto_Stader 10 years, 3 months ago

Obstruction of justice is a crime. No conspiracy is required.

I did e-mail the details to Scott and I posted them here just before the election. My post was removed by the "editors."

Under Federal law, it's only necessary for two different people to knowingly violate the same Federal law (such as a pattern of denial of civil rights by a police agency) to show participation in a conspiracy, whether or not they ever agreed to act together. If a police officer uses excessive force and a district attorney refuses to prosecute him, that's a conspiracy to deny civil rights under Federal law whether or not there was ever an agreement. It's not necessary for two people to know or ever see each other to participate in a conspiracy.

Under Colorado law, two people must knowingly agree to act together to commit a crime in order to commit the crime of conspiracy. However, two separate acts of obstruction of justice are two separate crimes even if there is only one victim, and no proof of a conspiracy is required. Conversely, if two people agree to commit obstruction of justice and an overt act in pursuit of the crime is committed, they are guilty of conspiracy whether or not the crime of obstruction of justice actually occurs.

18-2-201. Conspiracy. Statute text (1) A person commits conspiracy to commit a crime if, with the intent to promote or facilitate its commission, he agrees with another person or persons that they, or one or more of them, will engage in conduct which constitutes a crime or an attempt to commit a crime, or he agrees to aid the other person or persons in the planning or commission of a crime or of an attempt to commit such crime.

(2) No person may be convicted of conspiracy to commit a crime, unless an overt act in pursuance of that conspiracy is proved to have been done by him or by a person with whom he conspired.

(3) If a person knows that one with whom he conspires to commit a crime has conspired with another person or persons to commit the same crime, he is guilty of conspiring to commit a crime with the other person or persons, whether or not he knows their identity.

(4) If a person conspires to commit a number of crimes, he is guilty of only one conspiracy so long as such multiple crimes are part of a single criminal episode.

(4.5) Conspiracy to commit any crime for which a court is required to sentence a defendant for a crime of violence in accordance with section 18-1.3-406 is itself a crime of violence for the purposes of that section.

(5) If a person conspires to commit a felony which is defined by any statute other than one contained in this title and for which conspiracy no penalty is specifically provided, he is guilty of a class 6 felony. If a person conspires to commit a misdemeanor which is defined by any statute other than one contained in this title and for which conspiracy no penalty is specifically provided, he is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.


fish 10 years, 3 months ago

I don't think that he has to have the training before he takes office because Warner received most of his training after being elected, paid for by Routt County taxpayers. So I think Wall will be just fine.


fish 10 years, 3 months ago

Another officer has left the sheriff's office. Having lived in ROCO for quite some time I realize that this is the standard when the head of the office changes. It also happens in every other county office when new elected officials come in whether it is commisioners or county clerks. I don't think that there is any reason to get your panties in a knot. A change in personnel can be a good thing.


ihatestupidpeople 10 years, 3 months ago

are you ready to not have a sheriffs office i wonder who has already left


id04sp 10 years, 3 months ago

Let's see, what would life without a Sheriff's Office be like?

Not much different than the past 12 years, I think. Can't the Colorado highway patrol investigate accidents and catch speeders?

I'm looking forward to Wall's first few weeks in office. I think he may just rattle a few cages that need a good rattlin'.


ihatestupidpeople 10 years, 3 months ago

ya csp does there job very well but they dont deal with domestics, assulates, burgleries, amb calls and what ever else you want to think of csp can only assist on those if needed. accidents and speeding are not he only thing that happen in this county.


why 10 years, 3 months ago

If I'm right, Wall said before the election at an Oak Creek meeting that Dan would be gone. A big loss. Not sure how he can replace either Dan or Rachelle. Both are very dedicated to their profession. Our loss.


kingsride 10 years, 3 months ago

Me agrees with boos latest post..."assulates, burgleries"


roadhard 10 years, 3 months ago

the stop signs in silver spur are unwarranted "illegal" stop signs posted by the HOA and are unenforceable, same with the speed limit, which should be 30 MPH per state statute..


Matthew Stoddard 10 years, 3 months ago

Roadhard- Great excuse to just go fast thru a neighborhood with kids & dogs running loose. Ooooohhhhhh yeah: wonder what Roscoe P. is going to do about the dogs running loose in his own subdivision. Not only is it a county law to keep dogs leashed, it's an HOA rule. (I sure the 'riff is also protecting dogs' civil liberties.) Noooooo, we know it has nothing to do with the legality of the signs; it's just not caring about the safety of others. If it wasn't about that, he'd be more careful in a family neighborhood.

I also looked up your claim on CO DMV's site about signage. Only illegal signage info has to do with a stop sign/device on highways, not county roads or subdivisions within a county. Where did you get your info?


roadhard 10 years, 3 months ago

the 30 MPH is colorado state statute, you can hit that on the lexis nexis site. the stop sign warrants are in the MUTCD, manual of uniform traffic control devices, look at multi way stops and the minimum traffic volumes...the manual is adopted through state statute as well. the city has signs all over the place that don't meet the warrant, see river road... unsafe is unsafe no matter what the sign said, we need more prudent, reasonable drivers and less signs....

i've met gary but i don't know him, he seemed ok....


Matthew Stoddard 10 years, 3 months ago

Roadhard- Thanks for the info. Can't say I've met the guy personally, but after watching his campaign truck disregarding the stop signs put up for the safety of children & pets, I'm not too thrilled with him.

To me, it's the deeds and not the person in general. I don't have to like the sheriff personally to acknowledge if they do a good job. With just the few actions taken by Wall in the past couple of days, along with the "message" he's getting out there, I'm not impressed with him so far.

I think people who complained about Wiggins being part of a "good ole boy" background aren't saying much about Wall finally coming forth with an Undersheriff that hasn't been in the field of experience for 30yrs, and might be looked upon as a "Yes-Man" to Wall; kind of their own "good ole boy" network.


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