David Bustos was sworn in as Routt County's new Undersheriff on Tuesday.

Photo by Tyler Arroyo

David Bustos was sworn in as Routt County's new Undersheriff on Tuesday.

County nixes undersheriff pay request

Commissioners set Bustos' salary at Level 1, not Level 9 sheriff requested

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David Bustos was sworn in as Routt County's new Undersheriff on Tuesday.

Routt County Undersheriff David Bustos will be paid a starting salary of $64,022, about $18,000 less than what Sheriff Gary Wall asked county officials to approve.

During a hearing Tuesday, the Routt County Board of Commissioners said starting Bustos at Step 9 on the county's 11-step pay scale set a bad precedent and that Bustos is not qualified to receive an $82,077 salary.

Wall said Bustos deserved the higher salary because his job is "highly administrative" and because of his experience as an assistant police chief. Wall told the commissioners he was not asking for any more money than what already was approved in his 2007 budget.

Wall also said that approving the Step 9 salary request would give him a "tool" to fulfill his campaign promise of addressing poor employee morale and high turnover rates at the Sheriff's Office.

After a brief discussion and a report from county personnel director Chris Hensen about Bustos' education and related job experience, the commissioners voted to pay Bustos at an entry level with the opportunity to move up the pay scale when his POST, or Peace Officer Standards and Training, certification is renewed in February.

Hensen noted Bustos doesn't have a bachelor's degree, but that he does have about 12 years of law enforcement experience, including six years as the assistant police chief in Vail and as Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deputy, six years working as a security guard for American Skiing Co. in Utah, and in private investigations. Bustos has completed several police training classes in Golden, Jefferson County and the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. Additionally, Bustos has management experience from when he worked in the Texas oil and gas industry from 1978 to 1990.

Because Bustos' law enforcement experience was in the 1970s and because his POST certification will not be active until February, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said she didn't think Bustos met the "minimum requirements for the job" and recommended starting Bustos at Step 1 with the opportunity to move to Step 3 once his POST certification renewal is complete. The Step 3 salary is about $68,000 a year.

"This is a consideration if the person's qualifications meet our (pay scale) guidelines," Stahoviak said. "In this case, I do not think (Bustos) meets the minimum requirements for the job."

County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush told Wall the county's pay scale is in place for a reason and that starting one county employee at Step 9 could be viewed as unfair.

"We have to follow the rules," she said. "Rules provide reliability and a basis of trust for both current employees and the public that we won't make special exceptions."

Wall said Bustos' position is statutorily required and that he is not like any other county employee.

"It's not like it's a question of if I can have an undersheriff or not," he said. "If I croak, he's sheriff until another is appointed or elected. It's unfair to equate (Bustos) to any other county employee. It's not the same."

County Commissioner Doug Monger encouraged Wall to continue addressing morale and high turnover rates at the Sheriff's Office, and that the county wants to be a part of that process - but not by approving a Step 9 salary for the undersheriff.

"I care about the turnover rate, too, but I'm not stepping out of our policy," he said.

Comments

goldilocks 7 years, 11 months ago

Way to go!! Thanks to the Commissioners for supporting what is right. Nice try Wall.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

At least someone was interested in doing justice, since the sheriff wasn't. Thank RC Commissioners, even if I didn't vote for Mitsch-Bush.

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dogd 7 years, 11 months ago

Withheld judgement for a bit regarding Wall. Right out of the gate he proves himself a political dunce and incompetent. Grade 9 for a dubious pick in the first place?

Also have noticed the LACK of SO radar traps on Rabbit Ears pass. Those are needed. This guy is off to a bad start.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

Dogd- it's a "kinder, gentler" approach to law. oooohhhh, that's hard to say without bursting out laughing or puking

As for the radars, you can probably see how well they work by watching the new solar powered radars at each end of downtown. People still go 35-40mph right past them.

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ElBorracho 7 years, 11 months ago

Thank goodness there's a system of checks and balances and the commissioners will be able to rein in some of Wall's bizarre behavior. Watching this megalomaniac is like watching a slow-speed train wreck. Does he not realize that in a place as small as Routt County, he and his undersheriff WILL have to help their staff out and function as law enforcement officers as well as administrators? Clearly not, since getting their POST cerfication isn't important. Each decision he makes seems to reinforce the truly poor choice voters just made.

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vic 7 years, 11 months ago

Wolf in sheep's clothing and the "majority" of you fell for it.

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

ya they can not even go on calls and i have been on calls where john werner and or dan were there as back up not just to see what was going on. i hope that the people of the city of steamboat are happy about there vote for sheriff, oh wait wall has no jurisdiction on the city. that is crap

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

It never fails to blow me away that the "community" jumps in to defend a do-nothing former office holder and his assistant in waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting for them to DO something.

Give Wall and what's-his-name credit for getting up in front of the public and doing nothing for a REASON! They can't because they lack certification. At least they know that much. Sounds like an improvment because, at least, they know SOMETHING and are willing to act on what they know, even if the act means doing NOTHING!

Do we dare for a day when filing a report with the RCSO may result in some action? Ever stop to think that, after a few tries, people give up and have nowhere else to turn?

I think the open door policy, if it holds true, will be the greatest thing Gary Wall could ever do. At least you won't have to stalk the guy to try to catch him out where you can talk to him, or write a letter, neither of which ever worked anyway.

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ElBorracho 7 years, 11 months ago

Ihatestupidpeople, that's exactly what I mean. Any time there's a major law enforcement issue going on in the county, the sheriff's office administrators need to serve as extra manpower AND provide leadership IN ACTION as lawmen. Remember the fugitive hunt up on Rabbit Ears Pass? Or the time Dan Taylor talked down the suicidal OC animal control officer out at Stagecoach? ANY plane crash ... Yes, we do need some SO staff sophisticated enough to handle white-collar crime. But the leaders need to be able to do it ALL, and these guys can't. Good thing Wall will be in the downtown courthouse, which apparently the most convenient place from which to serve his own personal agenda, because it certainly ISN'T the place from which to deploy his staff, handle staff meetings, deal w/ the 911 center, handle problems in the jail... It all sounds a little crazy to me.

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Court_Jester 7 years, 11 months ago

And you thought the system was busted? See, it's just like I told you. If you voted for Gary and have a problem with his policies just bringing to the party and they'll take care of it. What's good for the party is good for Routt County and the United States. You have to trust the people you voted for to keep us on course. Stop worrying, Diana will keep a short leash on Gary so we can get on with making Steamboat Springs and Routt County a better place to live. A place where no one is allowed to endanger your health with secondhand tobacco smoke and a safe haven for children whose parents think they have to beat their kids to make model citizens out of them. Change is just getting started. Just hold your judgment for six months. You'll be amazed at what can be done to change things when one party is in total control.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 11 months ago

Otto- on this thread, only one person defended Warner...for whatever that's worth. You just said it perfectly yourself:

"Give Wall and what's-his-name credit for getting up in front of the public and doing nothing for a REASON! They can't because they lack certification."

A good excuse...but then we refer back to the old cliche about excuses. I think we all know that one.

Does it make sense to elect someone without current certification or training & doesn't have the current inclination to even be certified?

I'm talking about Wall since Bustos wasn't elected. We didn't find out about him until after the election. Since Wall's excuse for seeking the outrageous salary for Bustos was because: ""It's a hugely administrative job. It's managing people, motivating people and improving morale in the department. It's a person's experience in life, in dealing with employees and people, and it's sharing my philosophical views about improving morale : that will reduce dramatically the turnover, which costs the county thousands of dollars. My position is that (Bustos) is exactly that man."

Since it seems to be mostly "administrative," shouldn't Wall be more concerned about his own certification so he can be out on calls and Bustos can be "administrating?"

Wall hasn't confirmed when or even if he will be certified. Now that Wall's already in office, I'll put up a $50 bet (to the first person not remaining anonymous or contacts me at home; I'm in the book as Matt Stoddard- I'll keep your identity private) that says Wall doesn't bother with certification during his 1st (most likely only) term.

Any takers?

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

Kielbasa i would but that is what i am thinking so it would not work

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whyquestion 7 years, 11 months ago

during the campaign "why" didn't wall come clean about the shooting incident during his watch as vail police chief 12/7/1974? is this incident why bustos and wall have been out of certified police work since? have they now entered through the polical back door to become certified? will they repeat the vail incident in routt county?how many more people from his past in vail will be hired in routt county?who are his enablers????? was the firing of dh a political payoff to cargo "deficit" rodeman??????

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hardtobelieve 7 years, 11 months ago

Did Wall have a shooting incident during his watch when he was in Vail? How can I find out more about this shooting incident? Interesting . . . . out of CERTIFIED work since then? Bustos, included? Very strange.
What else does this old man keep hidden from the citizens of Routt County ? ? ? ?

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hardtobelieve 7 years, 11 months ago

Time for a recall ? A terrible mistake has been made.

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CoJustice 7 years, 11 months ago

"If someone has info on a "shooting" incident, They may have info on the AZ-arrest rumor also. I would like to see if there is any truth behind it or put that rumor to rest. Just curious

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Again, this is all truly funny. Not a g#######d thing has happened to be worried about, and everybody is stuck on max quack!

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

What are the basic requirements for a Peace Officer in Colorado?

An individual must have a high school diploma or its equivalent (GED), complete a basic training academy approved by P.O.S.T., pass a criminal history check, possess current First Aid and CPR certifications, and pass the P.O.S.T. Certification Exam.

Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy. (Colorado Mountain College) We are a Colorado POST accredited Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy providing the highest quality training for those who want to be of service to their communities as police officers. We emphasize a community oriented policing approach in our training programs, stressing teamwork, responsibility, and an openness to learning new and challenging approaches to providing police services.

We have been training police officers for over twenty years and are very proud of the contribution we have made through our graduates to the quality of life here in Colorado. Our Academy is located seven miles south of Glenwood Springs, Colorado at Roaring Fork Campus- Spring Valley. We provide two sessions each year, one in the Summer and another in the Fall. Each full-time course consists of 484 hours of intensive training that exceeds the requirements set forth by POST. The Academy curriculum is divided into eleven different academic and skills classes for which students will receive an individual college grade:

  1. Administration of Justice

  2. Basic Law

  3. Community Interaction

  4. Patrol Procedures

  5. Traffic Control

  6. Preliminary Investigative Techniques

  7. Firearms (Skills)

  8. Law Enforcement Driving (Skills)

  9. Arrest Control (Skills)

  10. Communications

  11. First Aid/CPR

These eleven classes are broken down into approximately sixty four separate classroom blocks; written tests contain questions from parts of different classes from week to week. Grades in each class depend on average test performance on the questions asked in the weekly tests combined with pop quiz scores.

484 hours is 12 weeks of 8 hour days. Each day is a "block."

Anybody else spend one quarter in college? Hands? Anybody?

Oh, yeah, I feel lots safer that we have people with all this extensive training out there to protect us. Come on, isn't it so obvious that any average H.S. grad in reasonably good health should be able to do this?

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

hay otto why dont you try to become post cert. do you have the same things to say about fire fighters and troopers. what are you some person that sits behind a desk all day long and your a++ gets big.

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goldilocks 7 years, 11 months ago

Otto- I cannot believe how you belittle people that you know nothig about. The POST certificatio may oly be a 6 month course, but it is NOT like college. Yes, it does entail course work, like acquiring a degree, but it also entails training in weapons, driving, hand to hand combat manuevers, and much more. And you may think it doesn't take much, but you are gravely mistaken. many of our officers do have 4 year degrees from Universities. But let me tell you that being in law enforcement requires a lot more than just a certificate. You have to be person that can deal with crackpots and lunatics and people that despise everything about you every day. And they have to maintain their composure when they are spit at and hit at and thrown up on and have profanities and threats shouted at them constantly. This takes a very dedicated and devoted person. these men and women put themselves out there on the line every day to protect you, and you belittle them by saying that it is a joke. Think about the time and effort they put in everyday, and also the time and effort and sacrafice thier families put in so that you may sleep safely in your bed at night.

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countrygirl 7 years, 11 months ago

I've had a chance to meet them both briefly. I immediatley liked Bustos. He has been making the rounds trying to meet people. Nice firm handshake and looks you in the eyes. Felt, he was a good man. As far as first impressions go.

But bottom line, the commissioners made a wise decision rejecting the pay increase. He accepted the job on the salary given. I would not be opposed to a proposal of additonal step increases in one year if he gets certified and shows competence on the job.

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river_tam 7 years, 11 months ago

Hey, Gary why don't you ask the City of Steamboat Springs to make up the $18,000 difference for Bustos. It was their citizens who voted you in to be their sheriff.

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

otto my wife went to college for 4 yrs so that she can do what she does. and then went to a 21 wk aca. and in that aca. she did everything from class room training to a 6 wk driving school to shooting 3 times a wk and then running your self to the ground and getting your but kicked by a guy in a padded suit and then having to go and shoot and drive, get sprayed in the face with mace and then fend off one of there instructors. police officers are one of a kind breed right up there with the training of a fire fighter. I BET WALL COULD NOT DO THAT HE PROLY WOULD BREAK A HIP

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trump_suit 7 years, 11 months ago

As a new citizen here in Routt county, I have watched these forums about our new sheriff with much bemusement. It seems to me that Gary Wall promised change during his campaign, and is delivering on that promise.

Whether you agree with those changes or not, I would propose that he deserves at least a chance to succeed or fail before we remove him from office. It seems to me that he should at least be given a chance to setup and run his administration before he is given failing grades.

How many of you that are so critical of his efforts actually voted for him? Are you really that upset with these first few weeks, or is it just sour grapes that your choice was not elected?

While I do not carte blanche support his actions thus far, I am expressing my opinion that it will take more time to come to an accurate judgement of his efforts.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Goldi,

There are good and bad. I only object to the bad ones.

Your "hero syndrome" is showing through. You think people are supposed to be grateful to you for risking your life. I discovered how far that will get you many years ago, and it's not very far.

Aside from all else, why would you put yourself in a position to be spit upon, hated, and all the rest of the things you complain about? NOBODY IS FORCING YOU TO BE A COP! It's not like you've been drafted, sent to boot camp and shipped off to some foreign country against your will.

There are many people with four year degrees from universities who cannot do their own taxes. Lots of them have degrees in things like education, philosophy, psychology, etc. They go learn a bunch of facts, read a few books, pi$$ around for four or five years and emerge without any job skills that would provide a decent living. Okay, so then they go through a police academy and get a job that's more fun than delivering packages for UPS.

So, there you are, painted into a corner and dissatisfied with the color.

You have your reasons for choosing to do what you do. The bottom line is that a high school grad with normal intelligence, good health and a clean background can become a cop. Those qualifications, plus good SAT scores, are where every professional person in our society started out.

You compare yourselves to the dirt-balls you've chosen to deal with in your daily duties, and justifiably consider yourselves to be quite a cut above. However, to those of us who did the hard work required to achieve quite a bit more in our professional lives, you took an easy route to a blue collar job that doesn't involve a whole lot of thinking or effort to do well.

You want Gary Wall's job? Run for sheriff next time around, and then show us what you can do.

Don't want to work for an elected sheriff? Go to another agency. Business professionals who get ahead in life are willing to move around and work to obtain better opportunities and success. We do it all the time, and most of us have done it for 20 to 30 years before we end up in the final position before we retire. Why should you be different?

Hey, here's an idea! You know when there's an accident, and all you guys stand around gawking, and all that traffic is backed up? Why not apply some "skills" and direct traffic. That's something us voters would REALLY appreciate.

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freshair 7 years, 11 months ago

What I find most outstanding in this entire issue was the revelation that Mr. Bustos' resume failed to include any dates for his prior positions. Can Steamboat possibly be in the vanguard of a new trend in resume composition? LOL

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onethought 7 years, 11 months ago

Maybe Mr. Bustos will be forced to quit as he can not work for the correct salary and Mr. Wall will appoint an undersheriff that is not only qualified but a working officer as well. What a concept.

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goldilocks 7 years, 11 months ago

Otto- to set the record srait, I am not a police officer. I do however have the uttmost respect for them. And I would like you to go to the schools in this town and say to them that their degrees in Education are so easy to get. I personally have a degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Mathematics, and I am working towards finishing my Masters in Human Nutrition. I have taken some of the most difficult courses available at the undergraduate level in science and math. SO don't even try to to tell me that I just read some books to get my degree. And I do my own taxes- thanks.

You have just insulted every blue-collar worker around. That poor "janitor" just can't get a break. Blue-collar jobs are not easy, and you couldn' t do what ever you do without their support.

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 11 months ago

otto... about passing POST... you said "isn't it so obvious that any average H.S. grad in reasonably good health should be able to do this?", well... there once was an ex-mayor in oak creek and her first duty after she was elected was to dismantle a working PD, her second duty was to appoint her new chief of police and oops, he couldn't pass POST.... 3 times!! This ex-mayor was behind Wall all the way, lets hope history doesn't repeat itself, that is if Wall thinks being up to date with police policy and procedure isn't beneath him and actually tries to get certified. How do you expect a sheriff to be effective when he is 30 years out of touch with what his officers are being taught? It's a shame that the good citizens of routt county would actually elect someone that isn't qualified for the job and I believe they will begin to regret it very soon.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

And, Goldi, I wouldn't be complaining so loudly if the ones who have sworn to enforce the law would do so.

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freshair 7 years, 11 months ago

The people who teach in our public schools are drawn overwhelmingly from the bottom half of college students. A book -- "The Conspiracy of Ignorance" by Martin Gross -- says the bottom third but, in any case, we are talking about having our children taught by the dregs of the college-educated population.

For decades, innumerable empirical studies of test score results and academic standings have shown people who go into teaching to be at or near the bottom among people in a wide range of fields.

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

ok what do teachers have to so with this now we are talking about the sheriff and the undersheriff am i right if not someone please let me know and put me in my spot

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freshair 7 years, 11 months ago

ihatestupidpeople....if you were following the thread you would know that my 'education' reference was in response to 'goldilocks' 10:15 AM.

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goldilocks 7 years, 11 months ago

freshair- that wasn't my point. I was trying to make the point that people who get degrees in Education, Philosophy, and Pyschology, ect. work hard for their degrees as do others. My point was to Otto in that he shouldn't diminish others' accomplishments.

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whyquestion 7 years, 11 months ago

to ihatestupidpeople and hard to believe- info is in archives of vail newspaper for 1974, "pages from the past" december 16 2004 . a trip to vail and eagle county might be in order to look up legal stuff????? who are his enablers??????

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soccercstate 7 years, 11 months ago

I was not fooled by Wall!!! Thanks County Commissioners!!!

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guy32 7 years, 11 months ago

I had to see this when some former co-workers told me about these threads pertaining to the new Sheriff (yes, I used to work at the SO, and am POST certified..and hold a bunch of other LE certifications too). Luckily I work for another agency on the front range now.

Otto: That is not Criminal Extortion. There simple, now go talk to a lawyer. I'm assuming one of the plainclothes guys told you it was civil...and it is. Now be good and go speak to a litigation attorney if you feel you've been unfarily duped.

The RCSO has MANY faults, some of which are going to get them sued sooner or later. SSPD, although they don't think so, has their faults too. But I can assure you that we took action when somebody reported criminal activity.

As far as the new administration. I would be glad that the old ones are gone first (you Cops reading the board know exactly what I'm talking about). Trust me, be glad they're gone.

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kingsride 7 years, 11 months ago

Now that this fiasco appears to be over, I would like to see the county adopt a new pay scale. I would suggest they go to a 12 step program!

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Guy 32,

See what I mean? RCSO party line. It's not "criminal" unless they actually witness somebody whipping you with a weapon.

It's a choice to avoid performing the sworn duties of a peace officer. Leaves more time for chest puffing, AMWAY, the bowling league and all that stuff.

This, friends, comes from an apparently POST certified former RCSO officer. As long as they know how to knock a guy down and pass the driving course, they can wear a uniform -- but forget about their duty. It's not important.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Just a little postscript here over the morning coffee . . . .

I have witnessed some starkly professional actions on the part of a few RCSO officers over the years, and I am profoundly grateful to them for their service.

On the other hand, I have also witnessed laziness, incompetence, stupidity and corruption. Know what? You all deserve each other for letting it go on.

Maybe other people voted for Gary Wall because they've seen and felt the same things I've complained about, and now there's a new sheriff in town. Maybe the voters felt like electing Birch would just be a continuation of the status quo.

The POST certified crowd seems upset over Gary Wall's election. Maybe they're not used to the idea of a fair election where the people choose their public servants. Maybe they are out of touch with the real concerns in the community. Maybe this war of words shows that the RCSO has not been serving the public interest for the past 12 years.

The real pity is that Guy 32 and his cronies are so sure they are right that they've made it possible for working people -- including cops -- to be priced out of the real estate market by unprosecuted predatory criminals operating in the econonmic sector.

Huh?

Yeah, Guy 32, people with your attitude have granted immunity to criminals who have been able to grab up land and develop it into high-priced building lots with other people's money, confiscated from them under threat of State action. That's criminal extortion. Go read the statute.

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river_tam 7 years, 11 months ago

Otto, there is a new sheriff in town, in STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, unfortunately the citizens of Routt County have to put up your Sheriff.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

There is no effective law enforcement in Routt County at this time. There are only a few crimes which appear to be vigorously investigated, such as meth trafficking. Other than that, it's just patrol stuff that pops up.

Hmmmm. Could this be because meth trafficking competes with what the local cops and public officials are dealing?

It's really sad that a statement so outrageous could actually be the answer.

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ihatestupidpeople 7 years, 11 months ago

davinci he just reads the blotter that is were he is getting his info and they dont put the real stuff in there becasue they cant otto shut up you make your self sound stupid

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Nummy,

Petty stuff, easy to investigate, hard to ignore. Credit card theft is generally covered by the card or by homeowner's insurance.

Fraud? You're kidding me. Who complained? A cop?

Answer me this, grasshopper. I BELIEVE the cops take crime reports. What happens then? Where are the prosecutions? Where are the convictions?

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JQPUBLIC 7 years, 11 months ago

Otto... You are so bitter because the police did not shoot the HOA officials that "done you wrong" you're blaming them for everything bad in your life. Your statement "Where are the prosecutions? Where are the convictions?" needs to be asked of the prosecuters office and the judges that make those decisions, not the cops. If you have all this evidence that all these people are breaking state statutes, try the attorney general, CBI, state patrol, hell... try the governor... or are you afraid that the truth is....it is just a civil matter.

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

JQ,

The truth is that my property has more than tripled in value since 1995. I'm a beneficiary of the HOA actions. It would not be worth nearly as much if the people responsible for cheating everybody else hadn't been forced to fix the road in front of my house so that their property up in the back could be reached year round.

Sure, they got me for about $700 that I didn't owe. On the other hand, $700 is .25% (that's 1/4 of 1%) of the increase in value of my property. I could sell out, move up to Wyoming, pay cash for a nicer house, and be able to afford an airplane to fly around and ski on more than one hill just on the PROFIT, and put my initial cash investment in the property back in the bank.

Of course, that kind of profiteering doesn't hurt working people in Routt County. All cops can spend $500 k for a house, right?

Yeah, it's a civl matter. No reason for cops to care who gets ripped off, because it's sure not hurting any of them.

DOH!

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Otto_Stader 7 years, 11 months ago

Poor boohooo

You're all too dumb to realize you're being robbed.

Some day one of you is going to put up his life's savings to pay me a lot of money for a house that wouldn't be worth 1/2 as much if the laws had been enforced.

For me, it will just be more money that I'll probably never spend anyway.

Okay, I tried. Have a nice life.

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