Wall just says 'no'

Routt County sheriff won't continue GRAMNET funding

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— The Routt County Sheriff's Office no longer will contribute funding or staffing to the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, Sheriff Gary Wall said Thursday.

And as a result, GRAMNET will refrain from conducting any narcotics investigations in rural Routt County, the leader of the drug task force said.

Wall said he made the decision because the results of GRAMNET's work doesn't justify an annual contribution of $115,000 from the county. GRAMNET, a regional federal drug task force, has an annual budget of $400,000.

"The expenditure of that money was not worth its results," Wall said. "With what I know, I couldn't support GRAMNET."

GRAMNET commander Garrett Wiggins said Wall's decision will affect the task force's work in much of the county.

"There will be absolutely no narcotics investigation in rural Routt County as a result of Sheriff Wall's decision," he said.

However, Wiggins assured residents and community groups that the agency would continue to provide free educational seminars locally.

About $88,000 of the $115,000 Routt County contributes to the task force is for the salary of a Sheriff's Office deputy who works for GRAMNET. Wall said that deputy now will work exclusively for the Sheriff's Office, meaning the county will save about $27,000 a year by not funding GRAMNET.

The Sheriff's Office is projected to have an operating budget of just more than $2 million this year.

GRAMNET now will have to rely on its three other contributing law enforcement agencies - the Moffat County Sheriff's Office and the Craig and Steamboat Springs police departments - for staffing and operational funding. GRAMNET also receives nominal contributions from the Hayden Police Department and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office as well as a small amount of federal grant money.

Grand County, which used to represent the "G" in GRAMNET, pulled its funding from the task force in December 2005.

At the time, Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson said he didn't think "the bang was worth the buck" because officers had difficulty investigating cases so far from Routt and Moffat counties.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration also used to provide support for GRAMNET, but it withdrew funding in 2005. Since then, GRAMNET has shifted its priorities to focus on street-level drug dealers rather than large-scale traffickers.

Wall said he made his decision after evaluating GRAMNET's drug seizures and meeting with Wiggins and other law enforcement officers.

Wall also accused GRAMNET officers of violating the civil liberties and constitutional rights of citizens.

"During my campaign for sheriff, I said I would do what I could to protect these individual rights," Wall said. "To continue with that agency would be disingenuous of me."

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta disputed that Wall met with other officers before making his decision. Vanatta said he was "aggravated" by Wall's claims.

"He makes all these assertions and allegations that he met with all these agencies trying to research GRAMNET, so you think he'd meet with those directly involved," he said. "But he didn't do that."

Vanatta said he tried to call Wall and Routt County Undersheriff David Bustos to talk about GRAMNET, but his phone calls were never returned.

Wiggins said he "totally expected" Wall to cut the county's support of GRAMNET. Wiggins had asked Wall for a decision by Thursday so the task force could move forward with a federal grant deadline.

Wall insisted his decision to pull out of GRAMNET is not an indication he will be "soft on drugs" or not enforce drug laws.

"We have well-trained officers in drug-related issues and interdiction at the Sheriff's Office," Wall said.

Comments

id04sp 7 years, 6 months ago

Boodog,

Interesting results from that study. Did that apply to resort towns, though? I can see that in a place like Craig or Brush, but Routt County is pretty wealthy by comparison. We'd have plenty of money for cops if the commission would stop spending it on unnecessary projects.

I doubt that Routt County would EVER voluntarily fund a local drug task force unless drug-related violence starts to impact the tourist trade. Otherwise, a drug task force might actually arrest some people and that could get embarassing.

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localthinker 7 years, 6 months ago

Oh, the hysterics! I can hear them coming... Seriously, if this such a good program, why'd Grand County and the Feds drop out? Oh wait --- was this a product of Clinton's short term Federally funded mandate of XX,XXX new police officers on the street? On the bright side, this means that our jail won't be overcrowded with smelly String Cheese fans next time they come to town. The downside is that a few more dim-witted locals can kill their brain cells on the gondola without fear of a Gramnet bust at the top........

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cantstandit 7 years, 6 months ago

FOR THOSE IN FAVOR OF GRAM-NET................ BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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bigdog 7 years, 6 months ago

everyone is missing the big picture here.....

If Barney can save money by not spending it on GRAMnet, he can justify the the county commish that he is a great fiscal manager and should be given a big fat raise. Oh, let's not forget his "under paid" under sheriff, he deserves a raise also.

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Gladys 7 years, 6 months ago

"Colorado State Patrol troopers seized 569 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Monday on Interstate 70 about 20 miles west of Grand Junction, the patrol reported today.

CSP spokesman Master Trooper Ron Watkins said a trooper pulled over Arnoldo Escalante-Guiterrez, 36, who had no valid driver's license and spoke very little English"


Gee...imagine that - an illegal smuggling dope.

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id04sp 7 years, 6 months ago

Stand by for a shock Boobie.

I agree with you.

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peeved 7 years, 6 months ago

It is my guess that those of you who agree with Wall are the same ones that have previous drug charges, or are now wiping their brow in relief. Just a guess, but I'd bet that I am not far off of the mark. Those of you that are mad because the cops are doing their job, are the same ones that have been busted for breaking the law. If you want to get along with local law enforcement, "STOP BREAKING THE LAW A@@hole!!" (Jim Carrey, in the movie "LIAR, LIAR). It is that simple people.

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Tigger 7 years, 6 months ago

You are off the mark. Wall isnt the only one that wanted to 86 Gramnet. Lets remember what they did to Don Nord, lol. Raiding an old dudes house who has cancer and a prescription because in thier mind its "illegal". Perhaps you missed the part about State Rights in government class? Whats the matter not enough meth heads that day? Also, no I am not trying to be buddy-buddy with the coppers. They are on thier own power trip and quite frankly I dont like "control-freaks". I think its funny that Wiggins just got promoted to a job there and Wall 86s' it. lol, talk about ruthless. "Theres a new Sheriff in Town"

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techdubb12 7 years, 6 months ago

boodog:

I've come to use the term FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt ) to describe the notion you were explaining towards the end of your post. Though officially coined through computer sales and marketing, it is now applicable to politics.

More on FUD:

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blueheeler 7 years, 6 months ago

Looks like it's "High Times" in Steamboat!! Twist it Up!!!

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kingsride 7 years, 6 months ago

Atta boy Gary, now pull the radars out of the patrol cars, eliminate traffic and dui enforcement, forget mandatory arrests on probable cause for domestic violence, call it a good day and lets go have a drink!

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kingsride 7 years, 6 months ago

...and tomorrow how about we tackle those uniforms. They are a bit "coppish" dont you think? Lets put them in yellow shirts and leather vests, dress em up like clowns like we did in Vail. Yep Atta boy keep up the good work.

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id04sp 7 years, 6 months ago

Tigger,

The federal supremacy clause makes the Colorado medical marijuana law unconstitutional in light of the Controlled Substances Act. That's why Nord lost his pot and why the officers held in contempt by Judge Garrecht were cleared by a federal court order.

Peeved,

I ain't one o' them drug abusing law breakers. I think it's pretty silly to have local cops running around busting users who are not causing some other problem right at the moment while turning a blind eye to cocaine use and trafficking among wealthy and influential people in the community. Let's put the investigative resources to work on the major players and just seine in the users when some complicating infraction (like a traffic violation, domestic violence, etc.) shows they don't handle it in private where nobody else is in immediate danger.

YES! Pick up users when it's observed. Bust them when you can. Just don't spend a bunch of man hours to find some guy with one ounce of pot in his jacket pocket while coke and heroin are being traded like fine wine.

How does coke get here past the police?

Duh . . . .

Let's see if Gary Wall makes some "big" arrests of prominent locals before we decide he's pro drug. I think he is well aware of who is using and who is trafficking, and of the reasons why they were not arrested in the past.

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