Wall cruises to victory

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Gary Wall displays the sheriff's badge he's worn throughout his campaign for Routt County sheriff. Wall celebrated his victory Tuesday night at Harwigs/L'apogee.

— Democrat Gary Wall, a private investigator and former chief of police in Vail, was elected Routt County sheriff Tuesday over challenger Garrett Wiggins.

Wall received 4,235 votes, or 55 percent of cast ballots. Wiggins garnered 3,423 votes, or 45 percent. Wall will take over for Republican Sheriff John Warner in January.

"I am obviously very happy and honored that the citizens of Routt County would want me to be their sheriff," Wall said early this morning. "I have a very clear philosophy of how I think law enforcement should run."

Wall, who also was an Aspen police officer in the 1970s, campaigned on a platform of protecting residents' civil liberties and Constitutional rights.

Wall said he was prepared to change the philosophy of the Routt County Sheriff's Office and that he was glad the residents of the county supported him.

"I'm looking forward to working with the other law enforcement agencies in the county to accomplish the positive, progressive things we've talked about," he said. "This county is ready for the change. They're ready for me."

During the campaign, Wiggins, a Steamboat Springs patrol officer who currently works for the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, touted his lengthy career in law enforcement and dedication to involving the community in policing. Wiggins has worked at the Steamboat Springs Police Department for five years. He previously was a deputy for the Routt County Sheriff's Office and an officer for the Quincy, Fla., Police Department. Wiggins also worked as a plant manager for Swisher International, a cigar company.

Wiggins said he was OK with losing the election because he learned from the experience and met some unforgettable people during the months he spent campaigning.

"I'm coming out of this experience with a positive attitude, and I'm glad I chose to run," he said. "It's been difficult, but it's been great."

The race for sheriff quickly became contentious, with the candidates using public debates and forums to question each other's qualifications. Each candidate raised more than $20,000 during his campaign.

None of that matters now, Wall said.

"I really didn't know what to expect, but I have been encouraged that the residents are ready to help make the changes I am prepared to make," he said.

Wall said he was planning on spending today "savoring the victory" and calling his supporters to tell them about the win.

Comments

blueheeler 7 years, 10 months ago

While the numbers were close, based on the two individuals background and character I DO NOT believe the best man won. Time will now tell if the voters made a good choice.

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weallnutz 7 years, 10 months ago

How appropriate, Wall's winning photo....standing in front of the bar, this is going to be entertaining!, what a slap to local law enforcement, keep you chins up guys and girls serving us, some of us still believe in you!

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tooner 7 years, 10 months ago

You have to admit that the Republicans were shown the door nationwide. (for the most part) I do believe Wall will be more of a Sherriff for Mayberry (Steamboat). But I fear that Wiggins would of bought a new set of gold handcuffs, and guns a blazin', that isn't good either. Let's hope for a middle ground. Numbers, how will the entire county suffer? Really, A bounty on his head? wow.

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Montana 7 years, 10 months ago

flip- I am so glad you are getting what you expect, there'll be alot more where that came from. It's your own party you should be worried about. Maybe some day the mean-spirited party will remove their safety nets they worked for decades to create and drop all you self-proclaimed "intelectuals" on your a**.

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dfreideman 7 years, 10 months ago

We couldn't more proud to call Garrett Wiggins our friend this morning! His diligent hard work, love for his community, family and friends couldn't have been more obvious during his campaign. The courage he showed to run for public office will always amaze me. With his faith in God, and his loving family and friends he will go on to bigger and better things. We are so proud of you Garrett!

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flipside 7 years, 10 months ago

I would expect nothing less than vicious, untrue comments from you hard-core right-wingers.

Very classy.

Not only did the right man win sheriff, but the party of mean-spiritedness, self-righteousness, arrogance and hypocrisy was shown the door throughout Colorado and the nation.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

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goldilocks 7 years, 9 months ago

Thank you for the clarification. But this still does not excuse Wall for asking them to waive the requirement. He doesn't want to do any of it. Why should he get special treatment?

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seabirth 7 years, 10 months ago

i'm very disappointed to say the least.... but this democracy and we get the officials we deserve.

let's hope that things work out better than many of us fear. good luck gary, you will need it.

as far as the threats from #'s.... that's bs

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Hmmm 7 years, 10 months ago

Like I said in my post yesterday....Routt County better be ready! Gary Wall was not the most qualified candidate, but the voters made their choice. If anyone who voted for Wall can tell me why having deputies pull vehicles out of ditches is a good idea, then please tell me. The facts are that it is not a good idea and I do not want Wall using my tax dollars for such a thing. Why would Wall want to open up deputies and the county to lawsuits over such a stupid thing? Then again, Wall has spent years bashing the Sheriff's Office and its deputies, so maybe he wants to see them sued and will be amused by it.

I think that Gary Wall's first order of business should be to apologize to the police officers in Routt County. He accused deputies of violating people's rights and he doesn't even know them (most of them are new). He needs to retract his vicious statement and recognize the police officers for putting their lives on the line everyday. THERE IS NO RESPECT IN ROUTT COUNTY FOR POLICE OFFICERS AND IT IS RIDICULOUS. I know for a fact that some people voted blindly along party lines and never took the time to read about either candidate (see my next post for an example). Although that is frustrating, it happened and it can't be changed.

To the deputies of Routt County, I say this: Keep your heads up and continue to go out and do your jobs. I appreciate the fact that you guys/girls are out there protecting my family. If you have to arrest the law breakers in this county (because they are out there), then do so with pride. Take those drunk drivers, drug addicts, wife beaters, etc. straight to jail and smile at Gary Wall as you go past. Gary Wall does have a checks and balances system and it is the deputies of Routt County. Thank you for your service to this community and if Gary Wall thinks he will come into office and disrepect any of you.....well then, this citizen will be the first to march into his office and rip him a new one.

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fish 7 years, 10 months ago

I wonder if this threat was written on a bathroom wall would it be taken more seriously? Ann I hope you come to realize how much you hurt your husbands reputation and that of the Steamboat Springs Police Department with your rants and your threats. I understand that you are upset that Wiggins did not win but you really do him and yourself a disservice by acting the way that you do. Please think before you type.

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dave reynolds 7 years, 9 months ago

boo all i really care about is whats good for the country..but everytime you turn around this election fraud(florida) keeps coming up..im neither a rep or dem..but dems keep dragging it up..i did notice however that reps who lost conseated defeat and are now moving on..no whining about election fraud, ect. im with you lets all get together and do whats right for the country and the future of our children..i hope the dems have an awesome plan for all the problems facing this great nation..they have 2 years to present them and i do know it takes time

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jimmiller68 7 years, 10 months ago

Thank you Mr. Freidman for echoing the same sentiments that I am feeling this morning. I could not have been more impressed with the commitment and dedication that Garrett Wiggins put into this campaign. His work ethic and strength of character were always evident and always on display. As a casual political observer, for me, this was a refreshing and much needed change. I was looking forward to seeing those qualities in action as our new Sheriff.

I wish Mr. Wall the best and I know he will try and lead our County's law enforcement in a positive direction. Now that he has been elected to office, we should all do whatever we can to support him.

I have to speak to Boo's comment on postings. People are going to vent. They are going to say things that are, at times, inappropriate and inflammatory. To suggest that a posting, without an immediate objection or comment from the host constitutes approval by the host is incredibly ignorant. I believe the exact quote was "it must be concluded that Stanford and the management at the SP&T support this type of activity". That's like saying 7-11 supports death by obesity by selling Zingers, Slurpees, and taquitos. It's ridiculous. If anything, Scott Stanford and the rest of his talented staff at the Pilot should be praised for providing such a wonderful forum for his readers to express their different viewpoints.

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flipside 7 years, 10 months ago

The WIFE OF A POLICE OFFICER says there is a bounty on Wall's head - more than once, even?!?!? If that's the way cops in this town think, thank God the sheriff isn't like them.

A bounty on a public servant's head? I hope the Pilot has the guts to investigate this. It's unbelievable.

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goldilocks 7 years, 9 months ago

No- you got me there. I have had conversations with various sources about the subject., but nothing in writing. I will recant my accusations until Wall either decides to take the test, or submits his appeal.

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intowner 7 years, 10 months ago

Boy, to #s and her compatriots, sounds like a lot of sour grapes turning into a classic Republican whine. . .

And to some of the others who complain about one of Gary's proposals, i.e. to help people who slide off the road (and let me tell you, I did it once in a blizzard going 15 mph in the middle of nowhere and received no help from the sheriffs): the law enforcement motto is supposed to be "to SERVE and protect." He is to be commended for giving meaning to the first verb of the motto. In this county, the sheriff's dept. has seemed to have forgotten that they are here to assist people in need, but have adopted an "us vs. them" mentality.

I am sure that Gary will do a great job.

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intowner 7 years, 10 months ago

No one said that they would be tow truck drivers. The concept is that, if they encounter someone in need, they will assist rather than ticket the person, if the person is not at fault, and pull them out of a ditch. It is called working cooperatively with the public, which is who the department is supposed to serve.

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Queenie 7 years, 10 months ago

To the Steamboat Pilot: Here's a story idea....do a profile story on the incoming undersheriff! Oh, wait.....there isn't one.

I find it intereseting that if you will look at how the precincts voted...it's Steamboat that put Wall in office, not the rest of the county.

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Hmmm 7 years, 10 months ago

Hey intowner,

I'm sure that when you slid off the road in the middle of nowhere and in a blizzard (and uphill both ways, etc., etc.)....that you were the only one in trouble. Why didn't the Sheriff's Office immediately rush to your aid and pull you out of the ditch? Forget those people who were actually involved in accidents where there may have been injuries. For heaven's sake, you slid off the road and deserved immediate attention. Hello intowner, your common sense is as ridiculous as Gary Wall's. If the Sheriff's Office had the luxury of driving around and pulling people like you out of ditches, then I'm sure they would (you should learn how to drive in snow first). The fact of the matter is that they don't have that luxury and I don't think a slide off constitutes an immediate response to your location during a snowstorm (maybe I'm wrong about that and need to check with the Sheriff's Office, or you can call them). From your view, they have forgotten that they are here to assist people in need. Well, I guess an accident with injuries isn't as important as your slide off and the Sheriff's Office shouldn't assist those people that need more help than you....they should immediately come and pull your sorry butt out of the ditch.

The police aren't tow truck drivers and I don't want them touching my vehicle. I'm a big enough adult that I can get myself unstuck without the help of a police officer. I want the police to focus on people who are having real problems....although I guess you driving into ditches is a real problem (ha!). By the way, the "us vs. them" mentality....yeah, a statement like that only comes from people who hold grudges against police or are involved in things they shouldn't be involved in. I've had issues/tickets regarding the police, but I have never taken a "me vs. them" stance because of it (that's childish and irresponsible).

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freshair 7 years, 10 months ago

The great thing about Democracy is everybody, educated or not, informed or not, smart or not, gets a chance to vote. The worst thing about Democracy is everybody, educated or not, informed or not, smart or not,gets a chance to vote.

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kevin fisher 7 years, 10 months ago

Whoa- I'm a conservative, but I sure hope that people aren't lumping me in with my moron "bretheren" posting on this forum. Some of the things being written by #'s, ihate, etc are the most infantile, poorly conceived, borderline libelous rants I have run into in a while.

I voted pretty much along party lines, save for sheriff. Unlike what has been argued above, it is not because I am uninformed (I have been active in republican party politics for years). It is because Wiggins represents all that is/can be wrong with small-town law enforcement. This heavy-handed letter-of-the-law crap is part of what many seek to escape by moving out of metro areas into places like Steamboat/Routt.

Towing stuck vehicles- I don't know about that- but I do know that the last thing an experienced mountain driver needs is a citation for a little slip. Now as far as GRAMNET goes- we know this style of law enforcement is worthless. In the two-plus decades since our "war on drugs" began, nothing has been solved. Drug use, manufacture and distribution have grown. Prison roles have swelled. Billions have been spent- all to no avail. Here, on this issue specifically, I voted locally. This is where the changing tide begins. And before all you so-called conservatives start spouting inuendo- remember my stance IS CONSERVATIVE- not liberal. Personal freedom and personal responsibilty are the hallmarks of conservatism. Big government and big police somehow, along the way, became republican mottos. We need to get back on track.

So- spout if you like. But make sure you know that you are misrepresenting the very ideals you portend to defend.

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Scott Stanford 7 years, 10 months ago

All:

Several of the items posted this morning were inappropriate and have been deleted. Please remember that personal attacks, obscenities, unfair criticisms that involve incidents that are not a matter of public record and offensive insults will be deleted.

I apologize for not deleting these comments earlier, but it was a rather late night for those of us at the newspaper, and the comments on this race simply got out of hand before I could catch up. I will be vigilant from here on.

Questions? Please call or e-mail me.

Also - Jim Miller, you SHOULD sue 7-11 for those Zingers. I have seen the damage they have done, brother. Your post did inspire me to go to the vending machines in search of Pop Tarts - Cinammon and brown sugar, a personal favorite.

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today (970) 871-4221 Office (970) 291-9278 Cell sstanford@steamboatpilot.com

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Scott Stanford 7 years, 10 months ago

Let's try to steer this a different direction:

Rumsfeld resigned... Talk among yourseleves...

Scott Stanford Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today (970) 871-4221 Office (970) 291-9278 Cell sstanford@steamboatpilot.com

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shane knutson 7 years, 10 months ago

just thinking about how times have changed in this country (and valley) politically. does anyone remember when a victorius challenger would spend the days and nights following said victory, in a mindset of preparedness and reverent honor about the duty that must be fulfilled... as opposed to celebrating and savoring as everyone does today. i wonder if we all wouldn't be a little better of if we as americans could get back to that. i'm all for celebrating, but after the journey is complete.

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fish 7 years, 10 months ago

Hey last week george stated that Rumsfeld would remain at his post till the end of george's term, does that mean it is over?

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freshair 7 years, 10 months ago

If you're going to take this country into a War then make sure you fight it like a War and not as an instrument of Foreign Policy. That means not thinking all was won just because Saddam was gone(anyone knowledgeable on Arabs, Islam and the history of the region, knew otherwise), placing mosques in no-fire zones even when it was obvious they were being used to fire on our troops and as ammunition supply areas(Political Correctness at its most absurd) and allowing local militia leaders like Al-sadr to operate freely in defiance and outright hostility towards American troops(PC idiocy #2, musn't offend the shi'ites). Any student of history knows why all our conflicts since WW2 have ended unsatisfactorily. There is only one way to wage war, unconditionally until the enemy's will and capacity to resist has been eliminated. Tying one hand behind our backs in deference to Geo-Political concerns is, and always will be, a recipe for failure.

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dave reynolds 7 years, 10 months ago

O.K...DEms you got control so please enlighten us ..witch way is the new direction...and even though you have control of the house and senate you continue to bash people for speaking thier minds..you ain't changed..still talking election fraud in florida..bottom line now you talk the talk now walk the walk cause if you don't the american public will know you are just flimflam artists

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Scott Wedel 7 years, 9 months ago

I doubt any of us know enough to come up with the right solution for Iraq. I know enough that partition will not be trouble free because an independent Kurdish state will be in conflict with neighboring Turkey over the Kurds in Turkey.

What the new Congress will do is hold hearings and for the first time have some serious debate regarding the various options and their risks. The Fullbright hearings durings the Vietnam War helped to do that back then.

As for the local cop married to a "vocal citizen" - he and everyone else has reasons to be concerned when you make comments about there being a bounty on Gary Wall's head. Either you are simply making it up or your husband is telling you information from an investigation regarding death threats to a political candidate and now an elected law enforcement officer. It is one thing to be vocal when stating your personal opinions. It is completely different to be claiming inside knowledge from your husband's job as a police officer. If your husband is sharing this knowledge with you knowing that you are then freely sharing it with everyone else then his fellow officers have very good reasons to question him on what you are posting.

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dfreideman 7 years, 9 months ago

Rumor has it, Mr. Wall is going to name Cargo Rodeman, Ex-Mayor of Oak Creek, as his Undersheriff and that she is going to "drop the bomb shell" at the Oak Creek Town Council meeting tomorrow- Is there any truth to that? What's the big secret?

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Montana 7 years, 9 months ago

boodog says--- I have witnessed several discussions in town in recent weeks where concern has been expressed that local LE has been using this site via #s to smear Wall.

Smoking some reefer there, pooh bear?

You WITNESSED several discussions shortly after your hallucinogen kicked in, huh? Recently? I think you are wrong there, dogpoop. The Rainbow Family Gathering was way back in late June, early July. Much has gone on since then.

You all certainly will jump at any chance to bash #'s for having an educated opinion. It must suck to be so defensive all the time. What it comes down to is simply----

You people are so stupid that you think the SSPD (two S's, not one) is USING THIS SITE VIA #'s. This is how democrats get into office, you idiots vote too.

Actually, I am going to copy that so I can print it and hang it on my wall and for some REAL entertainment I am going to stick it in one of those chain emails with a jacka** on it so the out-of-towners can enjoy a good, hearty laugh too. My mom will love it.

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goldilocks 7 years, 9 months ago

As a concerned parent and long-time Routt County resident, I think it is time for us to take a stand. Our new Sheriff-elect Gary Wall is already trying to skirt around the laws that he will have swear to uphols. Colorado requires that a county Sheriff be P.O.S.T. certified within 6 months of taking office. For those who do not know, POST certification is attained after attending a 4-6 month academy for Peace Officers. All Routt County Sheriff Deputies that serve and protect our county on the roads are required to be P.O.S.T certified. The certification exprise after 3 years of not being a law enforcement official. Gary Wall has not been a law enforcment official since 1979. (no that is not a typo- 1979). Maybe he thinks that he is above the law, or that not much has changed in the past 27 years becuase Mr. Wall is appealing the decision to make him get re-certified. He is asking for this requirement to be waived for him so he will not have to attend an academy. This is NOT right.

What about the new regulations and procedures that have come to be following the tragedy of Columbine? This is of utmost importance for the safety and well-being of our chilrden, especially following the recent bomb threat on our own Steamboat Springs High School. And what about the regulations and procedures that have been developed following the 9-11 attacks? These are just 2 events in the past 10 years that have changed Law Enforcement. I guess Mr. Wall does not feel that he needs the same education that he will require of his own officers.

We as proud and pro-active citizens of the great Valley need to be concerned and take a stand NOW. Whether you voted for Wall or not, his actions are not beneficial to this community. We need to DEMAND that Mr. Wall be required to regain his P.O.S.T. certification. Take a stand and do what is right for the members of Routt County. We need to get the word out that we want a certified Sheriff.

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another_local 7 years, 9 months ago

When I heard Gary Wall speak during the week before the election he stated that he would be getting the certification and that he did not anticipate any problem getting it. He said that he thought he could pass the test without taking the course, but that he would take the course if needed. He also explained the timeline of a year and the possibility of an extension and said he did not think he would need the extension.

Nothing was said about any appeal to have it waived. I think this is most probably a false rumor. This whole P.O.S.T. certification was one of the subjects passed around by his opponents during the campaign. I think he deserves a fair shot without additional rumor spreading now that he is elected.

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