Sheriff responds to county's letter about policies

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Wall hopes to add more officers, equipment

Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall's 2008 budget requests include two new deputy positions, three truck winches and a six-month lease for two snowmobiles.

Wall on Friday explained the requests will help cover patrol gaps in law enforcement coverage and provide additional tools for officers to assist Routt County residents.

"From 3 to 7 a.m., we don't have a law enforcement presence in the county," he said. "Our goal absolutely is to get 24-hour coverage. It's long overdue."

Between 3 and 7 a.m., deputies only respond to emergency calls. Non-emergency calls are held until more officers come on at 7 a.m.

Wall said he is hoping to change that.

"I think the public has a right to know that we don't have any guys out there during those hours," he said.

In addition to the extra positions, Wall is hoping to lease two snowmobiles that would allow deputies faster response times to some situations in the winter.

"This county is covered in snow six months out of the year," he said. "There are some areas of this county where there is no way in except on a snowmobile."

Wall said he expects leasing two snowmobiles to cost about $8,000. The machines would have Sheriff's Office decals, lights and sirens, he said.

Purchasing three winches also is on Wall's radar. The winches, which cost less than $1,000 each, attach to a truck's hitch and can be removed for use on another vehicle, Wall said.

Outfitting patrol vehicles with winches would allow deputies to assist stranded motorists and with other situations, he said.

"Everything we're doing is to better serve the residents of Routt County," he said.

Wall said he hopes the Board of County Commissioners approves the requests.

"I know it's a budgetary issue," he said.

The county already has approved Wall's request to allow deputies to begin collecting overtime pay after 40 hours, like other county employees, instead of collecting overtime after 44 hours, which historically has been the policy at the Sheriff's Office.

— Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall will not be making any policy changes that interfere with the county's budgetary authority, and will continue to comply with all county, state and federal laws.

"We are in the process of reviewing all the policies and procedures of the Sheriff's Office. We hope to complete this process in the near future : There will not be any changes in the policies that will affect what I have stated above," Wall stated in a letter he sent to county officials Friday.

Wall's response comes two weeks after County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak wrote Wall asking him to clarify which county policies he thinks apply to the Sheriff's Office.

Stahoviak sent the letter in the wake of Wall's June announcement that he would allow deputies to use their patrol vehicles for personal use. Wall's policy runs contrary to county policies that prohibit personal use of vehicles.

Wall reiterated his position that allowing his employees to use their vehicles for personal use is of benefit to Routt County residents because it increases law enforcement presence on county roads for a minimal cost.

"It has always been an accepted procedure for (deputies) to take their cars home," he said. "I have authorized them - if they're armed and dressed appropriately- to use their vehicles for personal use to increase our presence. If one of my officers sees something dangerous or comes across an emergency, then they already have everything the need with them to handle that situation."

Wall said he does not have any intention to change other county policies that would interfere with the county's budgetary process or the Sheriff's Office participation in payroll or compensation programs.

"My office is, of course, happy to conform to policies relating to federal and state law, policies relating to the county's insurance and policies relating to the payroll process. We are also very happy to continue participating in the pay and compensation system," he said.

Stahoviak previously said Wall's positions could affect his 2008 budget.

"We strongly believe that the failure to comply with these policies could result in the board's refusal to pay for purchases and contracts not made in compliance with these policies," the letter states. "We ask you state in writing whether you believe you are not subject to these policies."

Stahoviak said she had not received Wall's letter because she was out of the office Friday, and could not comment until reviewing the letter with the board and other county officials.

"We will need to see if the questions we asked were answered as clearly as we requested so we can evaluate (Wall's) position," she said from her Oak Creek home Friday.

Wall said he thought his letter was clear.

"I'm not challenging anything that has to do with the county's budgetary authority, any state or federal laws or the county's insurance," he said. "As I've always said, I am more than happy to meet with them, or anybody, about what I'm doing."

Wall said his office is working on creating a Web site where "all policies and procedures relating to the office" will be posted "since they are a matter of public record."

Comments

Camo181 6 years, 9 months ago

Seems Wall is speaking out both sides of his mouth again...doesn't make sense...any further word on Bustos' personal use of the county-owned vehicle involved in an out of state accident? As taxpayers, we have the right to know who is paying for the gas, damages, etc. County Commissioners--any input? Steamboat Pilot--any input?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

Scrapiron- This whole thing started because Bustos used his company vehicle to go to Vernal...a road trip to go to the store.

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Scrapiron 6 years, 9 months ago

You're ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! As taxpayer, we are entitled to FULL accountability of where our dollar goes. However, Sheriff Wall DOES have a valid point inasmuch as deputies taking their vehicles home. It DOES provide presence, and he/she is ready to act should something need to be handled; and they are on the spot, thus sving perhaps crucial time which could be spent on a dipatch. I don't hink any of them use the county vehicles for road trips or running to the store, etc. Let the man do his job and quit carping about every little thing!

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animalfarm 6 years, 9 months ago

Outfitting patrol vehicles with winches would allow deputies to assist stranded motorists and with other situations, he said.

That sounds like a good idea! If you slide your car into the ditch this winter, call 911 instead of the towing company. The officer will come out and pull you out with his winch, saving you a $100.00 tow bill!

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Camo181 6 years, 9 months ago

Scrapiron...I would ask these questions regardless of who the sheriff is...didn't mean to sound like I was "carping" ...something just isn't right with a road trip out of state involving a county-owned vehicle and an accident... the taxpayers didn't learn about this until 3 weeks after it occurred. Not saying they were trying to cover it up, but...where's the accountability? I do agree with the theory behind patrol officers taking their vehicles home, more visibility, etc.

And, animalfarm, great idea about the winches...911 is much easier to remember than a tow company's phone number!

Again, County Commissioners...Steamboat Pilot...where's the accountability? Mr. Wall, Mr. Bustos...accountability?

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innovated 6 years, 9 months ago

No, Sheriff Wall isn't going into the towing business. The purpose of putting a 'winch' on the vehicles is for those occasional sliders that need just a little help on an icy road. Isn't that what serving the public is all about? The more serious accidents: obviously, the tow truck will be called. I think it's sensible.

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dundalk 6 years, 9 months ago

How will it play out if a sheriff's vehicle is "serving" a car which has slipped on the ice, and then a call comes in for officer assistance at the other end of the valley? We have tow trucks for getting vehicles out of ditches. What happened to the service provided our seniors? Is Wall only interested in "serving" people in a certain age bracket?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 9 months ago

So...I should call the SO when I slide into a ditch, based on nothing more than a slick road and no injuries and not caused by another vehicle...and this will be free?? Yeah!!! Save me from spending $400+ dollars on snow tires instead of all-seasons!!!!

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 9 months ago

By all means, turn a blind eye on drugs, DUI's and the elderly, but get that guy out of the ditch. It would make a little more sense for the commissioners to hire tow trucks to patrol and cut king wall's budget.

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kingsride 6 years, 9 months ago

lol matt, try that and let me know how it works out for you. Maybe he should get winches for those new snowmobiles so he and flip can pull each other out when they get stuck.

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id04sp 6 years, 9 months ago

Sometimes a car, or even a good-sized truck will get stuck just off the pavement and be unable to get out of the ditch. In the meantime, it can leave a lane blocked. Doesn't it make a lot more sense to allow the RCSO to hook up and provide just a bit of pull to help get traffic moving again?

This is not about helping the guy in the ditch. It's about removing obstacles to the flow of traffic. What's the alternative? Let the RCSO vehicle sit there with its lights flashing and traffic backed up while they wait for a wrecker?

I've hooked up a tow strap to some pretty big vehicles and given them a tug in my 4WD F-150 to get them out of mud or ice and clear the road. It won't work if they're sunk in and bogged down, but many times it's just a matter of keeping them from sliding the wrong way while their wheels spin. It's safe, easy, and people really appreciate it. (Hey, Kielbasa, I do this anonymously too ). Why not allow the RCSO to provide the same five minutes of assistance instead of costing everybody else on the road 1/2 hour waiting for help?

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Scrapiron 6 years, 9 months ago

Reta, Shut UP!!!!!! You'd complain if they hung you with a new rope! Enuf alreddy!

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innovated 6 years, 9 months ago

Gee Scrapiron, did ya note that Sheriff Wall went from Jester to King according to Reta?? If she only put as much energy in improvements and solutions to Oak Creek's problems instead of the forum with her hate bowl. You know what they say...Jesus loves her but everybody else thinks she's an a h*.

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 9 months ago

scrap & inno.... you must be part of the OC drunk and drug crowd, seeing things through a haze and jumping to conclusions as usual. You accuse me of being Reta but that just proves how ignorant the two of you are, you are stating your belief as fact and it just isn't true. Since we are anonymous I'm sure you will go on believing you are right (as most drunks do) but Reta draws enough fire upon herself with her outspoken views, she doesn't need to take the heat around town for mine. The drug queens of OC helped put KING wall in office and will continue to back him, I consider them the jesters. If the shoe fits.....

Reta... continue your tirade against drugs and DUI's, you must be rattling some cages because they are trying to shut you up. Many times I haven't agreed with the way you deliver your message, but the message is usually right on target.

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innovated 6 years, 9 months ago

Great ploy JQ, but I happen to know different. If only you gave solutions to problems; kind and sincere comments to those who have lost someone, with compassion, instead of speculating out loud your asinine and rude hits to one who is besides their selves in grief, the continual kicks to our former mayor who loves this town and was only one of seven votes for all decisions, the crappy remarks of our former police chief who stuck to her job, very dedicated...the constant slams against our current Sheriff...all said to anyone you could get in front of their face with your rude, tyrannical and absurd rantings . You know, mom taught me if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all. You've hurt lots of folks and no one wants to hear your continual berating of everyone. You would be more credible getting active in Oak Creek and making positive changes instead of embarrassing yourself continually. Why not change your ways while you still have time on this earth and be remembered with love instead of being remembered as one that was one fry short of a happy meal.

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dundalk 6 years, 9 months ago

Innovated:

In your crass remarks to JQPublic, when might we expect to see you reveal yourself?

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innovated 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't have to dundalk...what for? I speak the truth, so, go back to the vending machines at the E.R. and eat your Twinkies.

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dundalk 6 years, 9 months ago

Innovated sez:

"know, mom taught me if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all." Guess we can read how much respect you have for your Mom's advice.

Have a nice day.

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 9 months ago

Thanks dundalk but you can't win an argument with any of the drunk/druggies that "knows" everything. If OC ever gets a real PD again and starts cleaning up the mess made by a previous administration, maybe my outlook and attitude will change. Innovat keeps praising wall and the ex-OC administration so I know what crowd she/he runs with so her/his opinion means absolutely nothing to me, after this post I will just ignore their ignorance completely. They verbally attack anyone that expresses an opinion different than theirs, what happened to their "group hug, live and let live attitude"... must only work for the "high" crowd. As for my opinion of kids getting drunk and dying in the woods and me having no compassion, why would anyone spend their bereavement on a public forum? My sympathy is with the dead children, not the people that may possibly have prevented the tragedy, sorry if you don't like hearing the truth... Other people besides Reta are tired of the drugs, DUI's, underage drinking and the look the other way policies of past and some present officials.... I'm one of them.

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candylane 6 years, 9 months ago

Any one that knows me, knows that I am not a drunk or a druggie, but I did support the preivious adminstation and police force. This is only my opinion and I know that, like before I will now open myself up to be under the gun, again. But what was in place before was not such a high standard that is always elevated to appear. I do not know how the finances of the town could have been in such great shape because the committee that the former, former mayor of Oak Creek left were horrible after she embezzeled most of the money! The committee was left to struggle with out any equipment and very little money, eventhought there was a large reported inventory. In my experience, if you take from one place , you will take from any place.

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ex_oakcreek 6 years, 9 months ago

Candy:It's time to set the record straight. As the "former, former" mayor of OC, I will tell you to walk into town hall and request financials for my term in office, if you can read you can make up your own mind instead of listening to the garbage you have been fed. When I left office there was a full PD, a town manager, and money to pay for both. There were projects completed and projects (water plant) in the works, our board tried to do things right by getting the funding in order first and none of us had to create jobs for ourselves. Now for the labor day committee:. Your ex police woman was telling people "they finally got me", one of these people called me and that's how I found out I was being investigated. I called CBI and explained to them that the old ocldc had decided to start a new committee just to keep the comedy show going and I sent them proof, SIGNED BY EVERY MEMBER of the old committee, this was all explained to the new ocldc president. We started the new committee with enough cash to cover up front costs of the comedy show and left the new ocldc with more than enough cash for labor day (if they had worked at it like we did). CBI found this to be in order and legal but said I was to return the tables and computer that I still had because that was not in writing. My attorney contacted the committee president (registered mail) giving her two days to pick up the "equipment" (tables & computer) I had, after that they would be charged storage, after 60 days it would be abandoned by them and belong to me, I kept CBI and the DA's office informed of these events. NO ONE bothered to show up, call, write or anything. The ocldc president was told that the equipment for the park games was in the park building, sound equipment in the ambulance barn, and the rest of the tables were at the Colorado, now, I don't know what kind of "equipment' you are forced to do without but I suggest you look elsewhere. They made a big deal of having me investigated but evidently it wasn't in their best interest to announce that I WAS CLEARED BY CBI. I don't know (but I can guess) where you got your information but: IF YOU ACCUSE ME OF EMBEZZLEMENT AGAIN, HAVE YOUR ATTORNEY ON THE READY. Your cronies know I was cleared and now so do you. By the way, the money you want everyone to think I absconded with was donated back to the community through the Oak Creek Fire Department.

Debbie VanGundy

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ex_oakcreek 6 years, 9 months ago

Candy... one last thought. It took two signatures on a committee check and three people to make a financial decision... why was I the only one being investigated? If you are who I think you are, then you know our committee busted our buns for many years to put on a great labor day and I'm saddened to think you believed this crap, all you had to do was pick up the phone and ask. This was definitely a personal vendetta from someone that thought they had to make me look bad in order to look good themselves. Who was in a position to start an investigation without the sheriff's dept. knowing it was happening?

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Camo181 6 years, 9 months ago

No comments Ms. Candylane? We personally know about this investigation against Ms. Vangundy and we were only some of the people the former mayor (Rodeman) and her COP were mouthing off to...check with the DA's office/CBI/former Sheriff's office and see the truth for yourself..WE DARE YOU TO. We also know first hand the devastation it caused Ms. Vangundy--for over a year. You want to mouth off about what you don't know? Bring it on Candylane...we're ready. We've been waiting for this opportunity...AT LAST.

No one worked harder on Labor Day activities and Town matters than Ms. Vangundy--before and after she served as Mayor of OC...and she did it HONESTLY (new word for you?).
Not one penny was missing from the Town's or Labor Day's coffers when she was in charge. If we were in Ms. Vangundy's place, we would just march your uneducated, false, hateful, damaging remarks to court and let the judge set you and your misled cronies straight. YOU AND YOUR "BUDDIES" OWE MS. VANGUNDY, AT THE VERY LEAST, A HUGE APOLOGY.

And, Ms. Vangundy, thanks for your very educated, factual comments...if you need help on this one, just email us. Like we said, we're ready. We'll just add Candy's name to the list...let the courts make her reveal the names of those involved in this debauchery (we already know)!

Steamboat Pilot..this would make an awesome article if you really want to report the truth!!!

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aufait 6 years, 9 months ago

Allegations of sexual harassment at the Lake Helen Town Hall followed Leibensperger to Oak Creek, further cementing the opinions of those who believed the size of the town did not merit a town manager.

hmmmm.......town manager of Oak Creek that was in place

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aufait 6 years, 9 months ago

If the budget is passed by the board, and additional spending is avoided, the town won't have to dip into reserve funds to keep operating. "This had to happen sooner or later," Oak Creek Mayor Deb Van Gundy said. "We can't keep dipping into our reserves." That has a ripple effect in the rest of the funds in the town. Usually the electric fund is used to offset spending in other areas of the town budget.

hmmmmm.........money to pay for both

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aufait 6 years, 9 months ago

Van Gundy said the financial impact of paying the $12,000 for the surface will have to be worried about after the project is finished.

"Money straightened out or nothing, it's got to get done," she said.

hmmmmm....funding in place first

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aufait 6 years, 9 months ago

"We had plenty of people back out (of the interviewing) when they found out about the price of living here," Norris said. The final decision on who will be offered the job to replace former chief Dan Kelliher, who resigned earlier this year.

hmmmm........who was replaced by Ling, who was friends with Leibensperger

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