Gauntlet thrown down

Wall challenges Wiggins during candidate forum

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— Despite being asked to focus on agricultural issues at a political forum Saturday night, one candidate thought there was a more pressing issue that needed to be addressed.

Democratic Routt County sheriff's candidate Gary Wall immediately challenged his opponent during a five-minute opening statement at the Northwest Colorado Political Agricultural Forum hosted by the Community Agriculture Alliance, Routt County CattleWomen and the Routt County Cattlemen.

"I didn't want to go down this road but I felt because of the negativity that my opponent and his supporters have spread about me, I just felt that I need to respond to that," Wall told the crowd of about 50 people.

Wall accused Republican sheriff's candidate Garrett Wiggins of not being honest or open about his work history as a manager at a tobacco company.

"I challenge you to sign a release that will allow this company to release your personnel records so that we can find out really what you did at that company and the real reason why you left," said Wall, who has not been a police officer since leaving the Vail Police Department's chief position in 1979.

Wall also questioned Wiggins' performance as a law enforcement officer, and in Wall's words, Wiggins has been "farmed out to GRAMNET," or the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team. Wiggins is currently a police officer and narcotics investigator for the Steamboat Springs Police Department and before that, he worked as a patrol deputy for the sheriff's office.

"Please stand up Mr. Wiggins and release those documents," Wall said. "Let the people know the real you instead of what you say you are. Don't hide behind some excuse that administrator told you not to release the documents. They're your documents and you are free to release them."

Wiggins then started his opening statement, saying it was a hard act to follow and he would have to borrow some words used by House District 57 incumbent Al White during a forum last Tuesday.

"There are things called white lies, there are things called bald face lies and there are things called damn lies and that is just what he has conveyed to all of you guys," Wiggins said. "I'm going to stay to the high road on this whole thing. I'm going to run on my own merits. I'm not going to run on damming Gary Wall."

Wiggins said he was advised by supervisors not to release his personnel records. Information in personnel files could compromise his duties as a narcotics investigator and could endanger his family, Wiggins said.

Wiggins did offer a compromise to Wall's demands.

"Anybody that wants to look at my personnel record, I will personally escort you to see it," Wiggins said.

Wiggins also said he is the only candidate that has been a police officer in the past 21 years. He said if Wall were elected, he would likely have to spend the first several months as sheriff getting POST (Peace Officer Standards in Training) certified, and there were no guarantees he would get the certification. Wall was not concerned and offered a snide response.

"Is passing the test for POST certification anything like passing the test for sergeant, which you can't pass?" Wall asked.

The sheriff's candidates did address some questions from audience members pertaining to issues affecting the rural community, which included a question about the amount of time deputies patrol rural roads.

"We should spend a lot more times on the roads where people haven't seen a car in months or maybe years," Wiggins said.

Wall said deputy priorities needed to be changed and shifted to the rural areas.

"There is going to be more time for that because they're not going to be on (U.S. Highway) 40, they're not going to be on Rabbit Ear's Pass, and they're not going to be in Steamboat Springs," Wall said.

Audience member Bill Gay made it a point to express his gratitude to the commissioner candidates who spoke after the sheriff's candidates.

"Thank you for focusing on the issues and being kind to each other," he said.

Comments

Hmmm 7 years, 6 months ago

Are you kidding me? Where does Gary Wall get off attacking the other candidate (Wiggins) during an "Ag" forum? Wall didn't even address the issues that the "Ag" forum wanted to discuss and immediately attacked Wiggins....what a terrible display of professionalism!! And to make a joke about becoming a state certified officer (i.e. POST)....what a slap in the face to every police officer who risks his/her life everyday in cities and towns across Colorado. Keep opening your mouth Mr. Wall, because you're making yourself look like an idiot. I AM EMBARRASSED TO BE A DEMOCRAT, WHEN I HEAR THE THINGS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MR. WALL'S MOUTH....WHAT AN UTTER DISAPPOINTMENT TO US ALL!!

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Hmmm 7 years, 6 months ago

steamboat_pilot- Let's not get too hung-up on the "test passing thing"? That rumor needs to be proven first, which it may or may not. Besides, that doesn't excuse Wall from making a mockery of the POST certification exam....police officers work hard to get that certification and Wall tosses it away like a joke. Another thing, both candidates made mention of getting deputies into the rural areas....that is not just a Wall statement....no offense to you, but read it again and you will see. And as far as deputies in rural areas, I think the county needs to hire more....Routt County is huge and requires enough deputies be on patrol to cover the entire area. North Routt is not the only place where people drive like idiots. The facts still remain the same based on backgrounds and qualifications, Wiggins is clearly the more qualified candidate to be Sheriff....Wall just does not have the appropriate certifications or history.

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routtcountycitizen 7 years, 6 months ago

Did anybody else find Gary Wall's statements at the Northwest Colorado Political Agricultural Forum a little hypocritical? The headline on the October 16, 2006 Steamboat Today-"Gauntlet thrown down: Wall challenges Wiggins during candidate forum". Well Gary Wall, I have a challenge for you-release your personnel records from the last 21-years of employment as a private investigator. Do any other voters think it's odd that we know very little about Gary Wall's activities during the last two decades? Apart from anecdotal information from fellow community members who have been tracked down, video-taped, tape-recorded, bribed, lied to, and exploited by his quote, "legal", yet unethical investigative tactics, we, the voters, know very little about this candidate. Here's my question for Gary Wall: as Routt County Sheriff will you employ these same privacy-invading tactics?

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Hmmm 7 years, 6 months ago

As with other political debates and election processes that I've watched, the candidate who starts "slinging mud" is the one who realizes he/she is going to lose and the one trying to hide behind "dirty" tactics....the only way they can address, or not address, the issues is by "bad mouthing" their opponent. Wall doesn't want to talk about his P.I. career, because he's afraid that everybody will really know how anti-law enforcement he is....look at the facts....does this county want a Sheriff who will continue his "less than professional" ways? I want a Sheriff who is qualified....and I appreciate the fact that Wiggins is standing tall and not lowering himself to Wall's basement level.

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seabirth 7 years, 6 months ago

gary wall is a joke. i laugh at every sign of his i see, i laugh at how stupid people can be.

the only reasons to vote for wall are- -you hate law enforcement and do not want them to do their job -you want to get away with doing drugs or drunk driving -you blindly vote democrat -you had a lobotomy -you have patchouli poisoning -you believe barking dogs are more important than drunk drivers -you think the major ag issue in the county is wiggins employment history -you want the sheriff's office to become routt county tow company

we do not need all of routt county to be like oak creek when it comes to law enforcement.

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 6 months ago

cheif koile for sherriff!!!!!!!!!! ya no i dont want to have to sleep with a loaded gun because her and wall are in the office and the deputy can not protect the citizens of routt county because they are dealing with someones stupid dog because the owners are really the one with the problems becuase they cannot control the dog and keep it quite or on a chian or fenced in.

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