Gary Wall chats online with steamboatpilot.com

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Chat with Wiggins

Republican Routt County Sheriff candidate Garrett Wiggins will be our guest for a chast at 2 p.m. Firday on steamboatpilot.com. You can submit questions for Wiggins anytime prior to the chat by visiting steamboatpilot.com

Gary Wall, 65, is the Democratic candidate for Routt County Sheriff. He sat down Friday for an online chat with steamboatpilot.com. Below is a portion of the questions and answers from the chat:

Q: We have a serious problem in North Routt (Willow Creek Pass and Hahn's Peak areas) with dogs off leash, and with barking dogs. If elected, what will you do as sheriff to enforce the existing laws? So far, nothing has been done about this problem.

Wall: I realize there has been a shortage of deputy sheriffs in North Routt and that's one of the issues I will be addressing : with the Routt County commissioners. There was a time when there was a deputy sheriff that lived in Hahn's Peak, and I would look into hiring someone who lives in Hahn's Peak. I lived in Hahn's Peak for about two years and am aware of those problems as well as problems in the winter with the snowmobile issue. I'm not confused about those problems and will implement some program to improve those issues in North Routt.

Q: What would you say is the biggest difference between you and Republican candidate Garrett Wiggins?

Wall: I get asked that question frequently. The biggest differences are that I have been promoted to a detective sergeant position and hired as a police chief. I have experience in supervising law enforcement officers and managing a police department. My opponent has never been promoted to a supervisory position during his 18 years as a patrolman. I understand he has managed individuals in the private sector, as have I, but there's no comparison in supervising people in the private sector versus law enforcement officers. Law enforcement officers carry deadly weapons with them and have the awesome powers of arrest. Supervising people with these powers is substantially different than supervising people in the private sector.

Q: A lot of people in Routt County are most familiar with you because of the critical stance you took against law enforcement a few years back. A lot of people took from that process that you thought local law enforcement was too tough on suspected offenders, particularly juveniles, and that you, for lack of a better phrase, will be "soft on crime." Is that a fair perception? Why or why not?

Wall: It is not a fair perception that I am soft on crime. Three years ago I was hired in my capacity as a private investigator by many people in Steamboat Springs to look into what many people felt was an abuse of power and discretion by the three law enforcement agencies. We put ads in the newspaper asking people if they had been targeted, harassed or intimidated by the Steamboat Springs Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and Routt County Sheriff's Office. Many, many people responded with their complaints.

After analyzing and investigating these complaints, it was decided to go public with these complaints and we did so at a Steamboat Springs City Council meeting. The first meeting we attended, approximately 20 people, in addition to myself, gave their names and related how they had been targeted, harassed or intimidated. Never once did any of them suggest the laws not be enforced, the complaint was how the laws were being enforced and how people's civil liberties and constitutional rights were being violated. At a subsequent meeting of the City Council, an additional 15 to 10 people got up and made the same complaints. A year later, I again went in front of the City Council and explained to them that my clients felt a big improvement in the SSPD. That was not the same feeling with the (sheriff's office or state patrol).

Q: Turnover in the sheriff's office has been identified as a problem. How would you address this issue as sheriff?

Wall: I was hired as police chief in Vail to solve the same problems that I know exist in the sheriff's department: excessive turnover and poor morale. Through my management skills I was able to solve those problems in Vail by recruiting and retaining qualified people. I will have close contact with all the employees and listen to their complaints and suggestions and solve those problems, which maybe at the root of the turnover. I am not confused about how to deal with the employees at the RCSO as I was successful in doing that in Vail.

Q: You said before that you are a strong believer in civil liberties. Do you think the present sheriff's office isn't respectful enough of civil liberties? If so, how will you address this issue as sheriff?

Wall: I do not think they are respectful of people's civil liberties and Constitutional rights. All officers take an oath to uphold the Constitution. Those laws are the most important laws of our country. Individuals who exercise one of their constitutional rights should be respected, and law enforcement officers should not intimidate people into relinquishing those rights. I will in detail explain my philosophical view about respecting individual rights and hire individuals that agree with that philosophy.

Q: How would the sheriff's office be different under Gary Wall than it has been under John Warner?

Wall: I intend on solving excessive turnover and poor morale and I intend on insisting that officers respect people's civil liberties. I am going to put the 'serve' back in the 'serve and protect' and insist that in addition to enforcing laws, the officers look for ways to help and assist people. I am going to dramatically improve the investigations into serious crimes so that the District Attorney will not have excuses to plea bargain or dismiss cases because of an improper investigation. In addition, the officers are going to look into the cases to make sure that we have not arrested and charged an innocent person as has happened in the past.

Comments

Hmmm 7 years, 10 months ago

First off, the dogs at large and dogs off leash problem is countywide...not just in North Routt as the person asking the question would lead one to believe. Second, Gary Wall states that he will look into hiring someone who lives in Hahn's Peak...is he going to drive up there, ask who would be interested, wave his magic wand, and make that person an instant deputy? Anybody who knows anything, would surely know that you can't hire somebody simply based on where they live. I'm sure that becoming a cop is not as easy as just living in a certain area...although, maybe Wall uses a different hiring process (I live in Steamboat, think the SSPD will hire me?). If somebody gets hired and wants to live up there, great! Third, Gary Wall was in law enforcement 27 years ago...I'm no expert, but I think law enforcement has changed since then. Common sense would tell me that although there may be some things that he can fall back on, he surely can't run a Sheriff's Office like he's back in 1979...hello, it's not the same. Wiggins is currently in law enforcement and is a state certified officer...oh yeah I forgot, Gary Wall could easily teach those classes if he wanted. I think somebody should ask Wall, in a debate, how he would handle a dangerous situation out on the job. I bet his answer would be a joke...I would be willing to bet money that Wiggins knows how to handle such an event (plus, he probably knows how to do the paperwork after).

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flipside 7 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, Wiggins is so smart he's never been promoted in all his years of law enforcement. Enough said.

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weallnutz 7 years, 10 months ago

Seriously, who does the background checks on sherriff's candidates? If you were going to be hired by SSPD I'm sure they would do it, Same at the sherrif's office, who does it on candidates??? This Wall dude seems kinda slick I'd like to know if there are any skeletons in the closet from the last 29 years

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Hmmm 7 years, 10 months ago

Flipside- I did some checking and in many police agencies it can take years to be promoted to a supervisory position (i.e. seargeant, etc.). I also checked into the FTO Training position that Wiggins has been a part of and that is considered a supervisory role...he trains new recruits and is responsible for their actions (maybe you need a refresher on what a supervisor does). In my opinion, you need some other ground to stand on besides your take on promotions (have you ever been involved in a police agency and do you know what the promotion process is like?...my guess is no.). One more thing, Gary Wall was a cop 27 years ago and hasn't been in uniform since...hello Flipside, this is 2006. His promotional status doesn't mean anything to this voter (Democrat by the way), because it was 27 years ago and law enforcment (and police agencies) are not the same. At least Wiggins is currently in law enforcement and carries a state certification (FYI...that would be something required by Colorado to be a cop). Current knowledge of law enforcement functions (on and off the street) is key...being a cop 27 years ago and/or being a private investigator...that just doesn't cut it for the Democratic candidate.

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Montana 7 years, 10 months ago

All this talk about Mr. Wall and all his promotions, wasn't he also forced to turn in a resignation???? Yeah, it turns out Mr. Special Investigator has been investigated himself. Why isn't he whining about his civil liberties too? Ashamed, maybe? Garrett doesn't deserve to be compared to this man at all. Plain and simple. Wiggins does a good job, is an honest person and shows pride in his work, his community and his family.

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Hmmm 7 years, 10 months ago

Wall: It is not a fair perception that I am soft on crime. Three years ago I was hired in my capacity as a private investigator by many people in Steamboat Springs to look into what many people felt was an abuse of power and discretion by the three law enforcement agencies. We put ads in the newspaper asking people if they had been targeted, harassed or intimidated by the Steamboat Springs Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and Routt County Sheriff's Office. Many, many people responded with their complaints.

Duh, of course people are going to come forward and complain about being "violated" when you print ads in the paper. If anyone is annoyed or upset because they just got a speeding ticket or arrested for DUI, then they are going to cry harassment all the way home. You do the crime, you do the time or pay the fine...common sense and it's why we have laws (those who complain are usually those who have something to hide). Just from reading what Gary Wall said, it seems to me that he is definitely anti-law enforcement. If these people's constitutional rights were violated, then where are the big headlines and termination papers for these officers?...Wall didn't investigate squat, he just took some complaints and went public with them...boo hoo! If you don't want to be contacted by the police then don't violate traffic laws, don't drink and drive, don't use illegal drugs, don't beat your spouse, and the list goes on. An officer friend of mine told me that people always cry harassment when he contacts them for a traffic violation, DUI, illegal drugs, etc. I would bet that 99.9% of these people that Gary Wall "represented", were just pissed off because they got caught for breaking a law and didn't want to take responsibility...what a bunch of Steamboat cry babies!

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Montana 7 years, 10 months ago

A lot of people in Routt County are most familiar with you because of the critical stance you took against law enforcement a few years back. ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; I intend on solving excessive turnover and poor morale and I intend on insisting that officers respect people's civil liberties ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; Gary, Do you think that your constant badgering of our officers just may have had the slightest effect on employee morale over there? But you are the man to solve the problem, huh? I tell you what, when Sheriff Warner is done with his term, the current orders will be omit and those officers for will be able to excercize THEIR OWN civil liberties. Just ASK him Gary, Has John Warner INSISTED that his staff treat you like a little baby, give you everything you want despite all of your poor behavior, belittling remarks and arrogant attitude? THAT is what needs to be changed over there, THAT is what will help employee morale!!!

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Montana 7 years, 10 months ago

Oh, to weallnuts, When a criminal has his records sealed by a court of law, whichever agency who seals the records must tell any member of the general public upon a records request that "No record exists" (different from a common "This person is not in our system") So if you feel like checking out records, listen carefully. You may not find out what's inside a sealed record but you may find out that "No record exists", which means there is something someone is trying to hide.

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seabirth 7 years, 10 months ago

i just do not understand why people would support gary wall at all.

he offers ideas... take these quotes -"I will in detail explain my philosophical view about respecting individual rights and hire individuals that agree with that philosophy." -"I'm not confused about those problems and will implement some program to improve those issues in North Routt." -"I will have close contact with all the employees and listen to their complaints and suggestions and solve those problems, which maybe at the root of the turnover. I am not confused about how to deal with the employees at the RCSO as I was successful in doing that in Vail."

do any of these speak of anything concrete? does gary have any ideas to actually fix things, or is it learn on the job (like his POST certification)?

the only concrete.... sorry stupid idea i've heard from wall is putting tow hitches on deputies vehicles to pull people out of ditches. can you say lawsuit waiting to happen. that's where i want my tax dollars going... paying claims for damaged vehicles.

while gary wants more patrol in the rural areas, how is he going to do this when he has no staff due to massive quitting if he is elected. let's spend time on barking dog and cow calls in hahn's peak and let all of gary's drunk driving buddies get home safely (he supported drunk drivers in his publc meetings about civil liberties with the city of steamboat). barking dogs and snowmobiles vs. killers on the highway.

gary, you are a joke. tone down the ego and realize you are not qualified and are going to lose.... and the citizens of routt county will benefit from you never setting foot in the sheriff's department

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