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Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall

— Colorado State Patrol troopers could have arrested Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall on suspicion of driving under the influence Saturday night, even though Wall is the county's top law enforcement officer.

Colorado Attorney General spokesman Nate Strauch said Tuesday that "any certified police officer can make the arrest" of a county sheriff. Had Wall been arrested on U.S. Highway 40 after leaving a Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association party at Sidney Peak Ranch, Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg might have received a phone call.

Colorado state statutes require that "when the sheriff for any cause is committed to the jail of his county, the coroner shall be keeper of such jail during the time the sheriff remains a prisoner." Another state statute requires the coroner to fulfill the duties of the sheriff when the sheriff is disqualified or a party to a case.

Ryg said Tuesday that he was not contacted Saturday night when troopers cited Wall for DUI, prohibitive use of a weapon and failure to dim his headlights.

The prohibitive use of a weapon charge was made because it is illegal to possess a weapon when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That charge and the DUI charge are Class 1 misdemeanors that carry a minimum sentence of six months imprisonment or a $500 fine, or both. The maximum sentences are 18 months imprisonment or a $5,000 fine, or both.

Ryg said he has researched what role he would have played had Wall been arrested and what his role may be going forward.

"We are in the process of trying to figure that out right now," Ryg said. "I never expected to participate in this. It never has happened as far as I know in Routt County."

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, who is president of the County Sheriffs of Colorado, said the state statutes involving the coroner have not been revised since the 1930s and were written "anticipating a situation where the only law enforcement agent in the county is the sheriff."

"I don't think it anticipated state patrol," Pelle said. "I don't think it anticipated home-ruled police stations."

Despite the legal fuzziness regarding the arrest of a sheriff, Pelle said that probably wasn't a factor in the decision to not arrest Wall.

"People are frequently not taken to jail for DUIs across the state," he said.

Pelle said pretrial detention is to ensure someone appears in court through practices such as obtaining their fingerprints, taking their picture and making them post bond. A public figure like Wall is not likely to skip a court appearance, Pelle said.

"That was probably not a concern of the state troopers," he said.

After issuing a court summons Saturday night, Colorado State Patrol troopers Melissa Fowler and Brett Hilling allowed Wall to leave with an unidentified sober driver.

Wall has maintained his innocence and denies being intoxicated. Wall refused any further comment Tuesday on the advice of his lawyer, Steamboat Springs attorney Ron Smith.

The Routt County Sheriff's Office has opened an internal affairs investigation to be conducted separate of the State Patrol's criminal investigation. The internal affairs investigation will seek to determine whether Wall violated Sheriff's Office policies or procedures. Routt County Sheriff's Office investigators Ken Klinger and Mike Curzon and Sgt. Miles De Young will lead the investigation and submit a report to Undersheriff David Bustos.

While such investigations can result in ramifications up to and including termination, Wall could not be removed from office except through a recall election. On Tuesday, Klinger addressed concerns raised about the Sheriff's Office investigating its own boss.

"The reason we're doing it is because it is in our policies that it be done," Klinger said. "We can't choose which procedures we do and do not follow."

A state official said Tuesday that Wall's citations would not hinder the sheriff's pending completion of peace officer certification.

John Kammerzell, director of the state's Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, said only felonies and a few select misdemeanors can jeopardize an officer's certification.

"There are very particular misdemeanors that, upon conviction, can result in suspension or revocation of peace officer certification," Kammerzell said.

Wall, elected to office last year, has until mid-January to complete three tests and earn his peace officer certification, Kammerzell said. State statute requires sheriffs without certification to obtain it within a year of taking office.

Comments

Wendy Villa 7 years ago

djk, so who gave you the right to sign your rant from "All of Northern Colorado". I live here in Northern Colorado and I happen to disagree with you! You see, I feel driving while your ability is impaired and drinking while carrying a weapon are pretty serious charges. You did not address these charges in your complaint, only the charge of failure to dim your headlights. So say what you please, but don't sign it on behalf of everyone. Thank you.

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Montana 7 years ago

stompk - where do you get your absurd information? If the Sheriff had somebody pulled over, then he would have had his emergency lights on (he can't do that anyways without being post certified). How can a trooper pull somebody over for driving with their brights on, if that person is already pulled over? Much less, as you claim, pulled over while making a stop. I can only surmise that you think the trooper pulled over while the Sheriff had somebody else "pulled over", and then made up the claim that the Sheriff was driving with his brights on. I'm sorry stompk, but you make no sense and your "inside source" is terrible. Please start reading the minimal facts that we have (the Sheriff was pulled over by the State Patrol for driving, he was not already pulled over because he had stopped somebody else, with his brights on).

Please stop posting with this "CSI", "this is how it's done on television", information. Only a few people on here really have some knowledge about Colorado law and the rest sound like fools, yet they keep opening their mouth. Why not let more facts surface and if he was sober, why didn't he take the blood or breath test which is required by Colorado law? If the Sheriff would have taken the required blood or breath test, he could have proved that he was sober, and none of us would have to listen to these "Monday morning lawyers" that post on here.

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sassy 7 years ago

CSP has too much power. They can, and have lied in court.

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stompk 7 years ago

I know for a fact, Wall was arrested in town. He had someone, I don't know who, pulled over, when he was arrested.

I believe whomever he had pulled over, called 911. That is why they won't let you talk to dispatch agent.

Fox New last night reported he was in his cruiser. One lie exposed already.

This is very scary, knowing that the top cop in the county will intentionally cover this up, with all his buddies.

This will go national, and the truth will come out.

Stop covering up for him. You know who you are.

The buddy system is going to take all of you down this time.

It's time. Corruption is obviously rampant in town.

Corruption, stems from lack of investigation.

And of course, money is always involved.

That is why they were hobnobbing at Sydney Peak, (the Gatorade Ranch)

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stompk 7 years ago

Also, that is why the Coroner wasn't notified.

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twostroketerror 7 years ago

Fox news is the perfect organization for this unbiased 'investigation'. "Fox news, we make it up, you shut up and take it"

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animalfarm 7 years ago

So, it seems we have Barney Fife and Gomer Pyle. Can somebody please find Andy and get him back to Mayberry as quickly as possible?

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Ms_E_Bronte 7 years ago

Wall's defense -- "I only tasted the wine but didn't swallow it!" Blame it on CSP (through dkj's post above), this time hire Ron Smith as his defense attorney and don't take any responsibility for his own actions. What an icon of respectability. What a role model for us all. At this point, whether this is swept under the carpet or he skips free, I have no confidence in this individual. As far as "serving and protecting the public" is concerned, maybe Wall and his attorneys' interpretation of this is serving the drinks and protecting the public when the public gets pulled over for a DUI.

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stompk 7 years ago

Just think about this.

We now know he was in his cruiser, thanks to the Denver Fox Station. Last night they had a reporter in town, digging into it.

Kudos, to them.

So, if Wall was in his cruiser, do you think State Patrol would pull him over for not dimming his lights. Can't they talk to each other on the radios?

Logic insists that the reason this came out in the first place, is because of witnesses and the dispatch report.

Logic insists, that someone in a police cruiser cited for DUI would not be left to go home to sleep it off.

Contrary to what the County Police President from Boulder insists.

He must know the truth too.

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twostroketerror 7 years ago

Aunt Bea for Sheriff! "Gaaaaree! Now you sit down and have some my nice Burbon pie. Not to much, you've got to work today!"

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CoJustice 7 years ago

In regards to the article statement "Another state statute requires the coroner to fulfill the duties of the sheriff when the sheriff is disqualified or a party to a case".

Does this mean the Coroner is going to take office in January as a result of non-POST certification (disqualified), or take office when Wall's license is gone?

Since Wall was in his service vehicle, claiming to be representing the County at a function are the citizens going to pay his attorney fees for this case also?

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stompk 7 years ago

Montana,

CSI. I like that.

Citizens Seeking Integrity.

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Benny 7 years ago

Cool. Thanks Pilot for the informative article. Looks like they answered all my questions I've posted thus far. I have to say that they've done a good job with this follow up article. I hope they continue to anticipate the needs of the readers.

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rk68 7 years ago

Response to djk----guess you are one of "those" types. You know, the ones who watch law & order and CSI and think that's how the real world works and ofcourse they're all jailhouse lawyers. First of all learn to spell, --jealous-- or maybe you meant zealous? Either way you can't spell--where did you go to school? Maybe the same one where a man who calls himself a sheriff refuses to be POST certified, (maybe he's afraid of the spelling that will be used on the POST tests). Why a county elected someone as sheriff who didn't even have state certification is beyond me. State certification involves learning and testing on an enormous amount of knowledge of the state of Colorado criminal and traffic laws. Maybe if Wall had his POST, he would have known not to do what he allegedly did, is that going to be his next excuse? And even if one of the troopers did make an improper u-turn in the past (not saying they did) it would be a traffic offense not a crime bozo! I am also guessing by your attitude you have done things to be stopped by CSP, unfortunately rather than admit blame you cast it elsewhere by defending a man who has the rep as a town drunkard. Yeah, that's the company you should want to be in. Were you there when Wall was stopped? I doubt it. Chances are he had an odor of alcohol on his breath, they don't just do roadsides on anyone! BTW IT'S CALLED REASONABLE SUSPICION- which is less than PROBABLE CAUSE, that has to be present, PC only needs to be present for an arrest, not to do roadsides, search a car etc... so if you are going to be a know it all, try to get some of it right! How would you feel if you were hit by a drunk? Guess you haven't thought of that huh? CSP is out there trying to prevent just that, so show some respect and stop watching so many TV shows!

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stompk 7 years ago

Barney Fife says read the Record.

The Record told us when the State Patrol wrecked her car, and the Record tells us when someone calls in about a lost cellphone,

But nothing about the instance with Mr. Wall.

At least Andy would be honest.

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herman 7 years ago

Does anyone know where Wall is in his certification? Has he done any of the steps. He seems to play by his own rules and has his lawyer figure it out. Arn't the county commissioners Walls boss? If I told a boss that I won't sign an accountability statement I would be fired. Why do we let this clown just keep making up his own rules. I think he has painted himself into the corner on this one. Good luck GAAARRRYYY

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justathought 7 years ago

This is scary [The internal affairs investigation will seek to determine whether Wall violated Sheriff's Office policies], is this the original policies that the commissioners know about or the new improved Wall version that seem to be a secret? And [will lead the investigation and submit a report to Undersheriff David Bustos], lets see, Wall hired Bustos and fought for him to get top salary then covered Bostos butt over his out of state accident in patrol car NOW it's ethical to allow him to be in charge of the officers investigating Wall? THEN [only felonies and a few select misdemeanors can jeopardize an officer's certification], if carrying a weapon and driving a county vehicle while drinking isn't a reason to deny POST, we are all in a dangerous position. Commissioners, don't let this get whitewashed, call in the attorney general.

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herman 7 years ago

If the county Commissioners cannot get cooperation concerning county proceedures before an incident then certainly don't expect it now. The problem is they let this go on without taking action against Wall in the first place. I agree, lets get the Attorney General involved and get this taken care of.

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cantstanya 7 years ago

Oh, we forgot, Wall has his own policies and procedures, which by the way, the county does not know about, and according to his own policy he can not be taken into custody, especially for DUI.

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djk 7 years ago

Response to RK68 -- You must be a grammar school teacher sleeping with the CSP. Do some more homework, you are wrong. (Your spellcheck was right, but that was all)

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ColoradoNative 7 years ago

Why are comments being removed by staff all the time these days?

Seems like every thread is being edited around here now. Who are you guys protecting?

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

CoNative- Unless policy has changed when Brent took the lead, posts are deleted when someone hits "Suggest Removal" after deciding if the content is deemed worthy of removing. If not, it stays.

I read sassy's post and it had to do with sassy's personal, older case involving the CSP, and sassy named a specific officer's name as a liar, evidently after the case being closed.

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cantstanya 7 years ago

OK, everyone, be ready and prepared to accept this. Wall will be found not guilty. Take a look at the FOX clip. I am sure he will parade all of his chums into court to say he was sober when he left the ranch. Also, Wall will taint the process by giving the impression that the local law enforcement was out to get him. Wall should have been shut down a long time ago and now he is out of control. At this point the right thing to do would be to tell the truth and get on with business however, what will happen is he will do as he pleases at the expense of us, the tax payers. Gary-Do the RIGHT thing!

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herman 7 years ago

I might be wrong on this be he cannot get out of having a concealed weapon and under the influence of alcohol. Under the influence occures when you have a drink. He has admitted to that publically. Every person who has a drinking problem will tell you they had a drink but they were not intoxicated. It is called d-e-n-i-a-l.

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sassy 7 years ago

Thanks, ColoradoNative, for noticing. Apparently it's only permissible to share your opinion of individuals named Gary Wall, Ron Smith, or David Bustos - just don't accuse a CSP of lying, you'll lose.

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Brent Boyer 7 years ago

All: The State Patrol has confirmed some additional information about Saturday night's traffic stop:

Brent Boyer Editor, Steamboat Pilot & Today

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

Sassy- See my reasoning above as to why that post was deleted. You'll notice that the "CSP has too much power" post wasn't deleted. You didn't mention a Patrol name involved with your past case (that it sounds like you lost) and call him a liar in that one. Contact Brent Boyer to get the absolute reason.

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sassy 7 years ago

I understand that my (first-ever) post was deleted because I tried to share a personal experience with a named CSP involved in this case. Why aren't other's opinions deleted that name Gary Wall, Ron Smith, or David Bustos? The site seems lop-sided.

My point is that when it comes to your word against at least one local CSP, beware. If you don't think he would lie, you haven't had my experience with him.

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djk 7 years ago

rk68 Read the update -- "Our part of it is pretty much done," Williams said. "We just make the stops and provide the probable cause." I checked my spelling and I think it is courrectt.

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Matthew Stoddard 7 years ago

Sassy- See Brent's post on the Supplemental Budget OK'd thread, at the bottom, for reasons given for deletion of posts and banning people.

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Benny 7 years ago

Although I believe that Wall should have been arrested like any other citizen would have been, it was a sticky situation to say the least. In defense of the troopers that handled the stop, I can understand why they made the choice they did. I have to commend Troopers Fowler and Hilling for upholding the law and charging an elected official when they saw fit. I wonder how many cops have pulled over other cops, or friends, or family, and was put in a position to make a lawful decision and instead, turned a blind eye. Troopers Hilling and Fowler are easy targets now for critisizism. I critisized them myself, because I don't think it's fair that Wall got a ride home. I do have to say, though, that it is not always black and white. Tropper Hilling is recognized as an expert in the field of drug and alcohol consumption recognition. I have faith that he assisted Trooper Fowler in performing a thorough evaluation of the situation and together they made some very tough decisions that night. Only the people who were there know exactly what took place and hopefully someday the public will have access to that information.

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sassy 7 years ago

Kielbasa & Brent Boyer - why wasn't herman's 9:37 post "He (Wall) is a clown, making up his own rules" deleted?

Benny - how do you question the fairness of Troopers Fowler and Hilling's decision to let Wall get a ride home, yet have faith in Hilling's expertise???

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mud 7 years ago

"...when we catch you for driving impaired this holloween or anytime, we will arrest you. No exceptions, no excuses." -State Patrol Chief Col. Mark Trostel.

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djk 7 years ago

This paper only removes your opinion if they (bb) disagree with it. My "opinion", that was deleted earlier, contained no erroneous claims, and any decent paper would not have deleted it. I am glad you did, for it shows, along with your other removals, which way this newspaper leans. READ THIS FAST, BECAUSE IT WILL SELF DESTRUCT IN 5 MINUTES DUE TO THIS PAPER NOT AGREEING WITH IT.

Good Night DJK.

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