Wall won't compromise 'integrity' at county's request

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Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall has a discussion with the Routt County Board of Commissioners during a meeting in Steamboat Springs on Tuesday afternoon.

— Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall announced Friday that he would not respond to the Routt County Board of Commissioners' request to clarify his policies, saying that to betray his personal philosophies would "sacrifice the integrity of the Sheriff's Office."

"By responding to the attachment to the letter by initialing each county policy as you requested, I believe I would be allowing the County Commissioners to usurp my authority as Sheriff and involve themselves in the affairs of the Sheriff's Office in an impermissible manner," Wall wrote in a Sept. 6 letter to the commissioners. "This is something I cannot allow, not only for all of the employees of the (Sheriff's Office), but also to maintain the integrity of all other Sheriff's Offices throughout Colorado."

County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said Saturday from her home in Oak Creek that she could not comment on Wall's letter because she had not seen it.

County commissioners Doug Monger and Diane Mitsch Bush as well as County Manager Tom Sullivan were not in the office Friday when Wall sent them a copy of his letter.

"At this point, we really need to read what he's saying and look at the reasons he presents in his response," Stahoviak said. "I don't have a clue how we'll proceed. I don't think anyone has had a chance to read it."

Wall's most recent letter comes on the heels of a two-month policy discussion amongst Wall and the commissioners. In late July, the commissioners and county attorney John Merrill sent Wall a letter asking him to initial 18 county policies regarding the Sheriff's Office, stating whether he accepts the policy or whether he has his own. The letter also asks Wall to provide policies he is changing or implementing at the Sheriff's Office that differ from current county policies.

After receiving Merrill's "legal memo," Wall said he was forced to acquire his own legal counsel to represent him in the matter.

Wall hired attorneys with Ralph A. Cantafio, P.C., to represent him.

On Wall's behalf, Cantafio and attorney Mark Fischer prepared an eight-page document discussing the "separation of powers issue" between the county and the sheriff. The memo states that the "real issue here is the relative powers" of the county and the sheriff. The memo indicates that the county's role is solely to fund the Sheriff's Office's annual budget, and provides several other Colorado cases backing the assertion.

"One issue is clear, the responsibility of the Board of County Commissioners as to the Sheriff's Office begins and ends with the budgeting of money," the memo states.

Future uncertain

Wall expressed concern that he would be penalized through the budget process for refusing to compromise his situation.

"I hope that none of this would result in a punitive attitude by the Routt County Commissioners as we go through the budgetary process," Wall's letter states. "I would expect that any disagreement between the County Commissioners and my office be handled in such a way not to put the undersheriff, deputy sheriffs, citizens of Routt County and visitors to our county in any peril because of not being adequately funded to uphold the statutory responsibilities of this" office.

Another issue the board has brought to Wall's attention during the policy discussions is liability. The board contends that the county is liable for the Sheriff's Office employees. However, Wall disagrees.

Wall asserts that the county's concerns about liability are not the county's, but his own.

He also asserts that by conforming to the county's requests, he would be giving the county jurisdiction, which he won't do.

"If they are expecting me to respond to and initial those policies, I clearly am not going to do that," he said Friday. "I believe I was elected to protect the integrity of the Sheriff's Office. It would be inappropriate to assign any jurisdiction to the County Commissioners or any other body. I will not do that."

Wall's letter also expresses concern that the board has never asked other "elected officials to engage in similar activities involving county policy."

Wall said it is his "full intent to publish written policies" of the Sheriff's Office and make them available on the Sheriff's Office Web site, www.co.routt.co.us/sheriff.

Wall said he did not know what to expect from the county in response to his letter.

"I want to move on and get on with the business of public safety in Routt County," he said.

Read Wall's letter

Comments

fanofsteamboatsprings 7 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Wall's short history as Sheriff has shown him to be nothing short of arrogant, confrontational and dismissive of anyone who would question him. I do not recall him saying this would be part of his policy when he was campaigning. At a time when it is important that EVERYONE try to work with a spirit of cooperation, Mr. Wall has chosen to try and carve out his own little empire, make up his own rules to live by and give the finger to anyone who questions him.

How long until the next election?

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dave reynolds 7 years, 3 months ago

careful what you wish for..you just might get it..i voted for Wiggins

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CoJustice 7 years, 3 months ago

Ask yourself this simple question: Sheriffs Office liability fault + legal responsibility for burden of damages and debt = Not Gary's budget.

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dundalk 7 years, 3 months ago

"If they are expecting me to respond to and initial those policies, I clearly am not going to do that," he said Friday. "I believe I was elected to protect the integrity of the Sheriff's Office..."

Funny, I thought he was elected to provide protection to the county of Routt.

Wall needn't worry about the integrity of the Sheriff's Office; He's slowly dismantling it, piece by piece.

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bcpow 7 years, 3 months ago

Sheriff Wall is our own little version of the kook in the White House.

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s_jroutt 7 years, 3 months ago

I have questioned Mr. Wall, when he can return a phone call. He is very confrontational and arrogant. I would almost rather have Mickey Mouse as Sheriff right now. It's pretty bad when you have a State Reps ask you about when Mr. Wall is going to get recalled. If he decideds that he is going to create his own policies and do as he pleases, the Comm. will not be able to touch him, someone from higher up will have to do it.

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CoJustice 7 years, 3 months ago

"We the people" will have to support the County Commissioners in enacting legislation to prevent this from happening, and placing the citizens in dire straits.

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dundalk 7 years, 3 months ago

there apparently are no snake or rat photos available at press time.

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s_jroutt 7 years, 3 months ago

Mr Wall has cut, Elder Watch, Dare, Ranch Watch, and a couple of other ones that I can't think of off of the top of my head. Where has the money savings gone from him cutting these programs? Raise for the undersheriff? Or in printing cost for letters to the commissioners? The Dare vehicle is sitting at the county shop the last I saw, sitting on axles on the ground. He's using it for parts. We as tax payers paid for this vehicle. The kids all know the vehicle, and know what its about. Ranch Watch was started under the last admin. not the current one, how much was spent for one of the deputies to stand out there and stop one vehicle? And why all the sudden are they doing check points on livestock? If you look at the record it looks like the PD has more of a "community service" than the current SO.

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boatjustice 7 years, 3 months ago

Well here we go again. Great example of the "justice" system in the boat. DA's office + Sheriffs Office + Special interest = CORRUPT!!!!!

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id04sp 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe Sheriff Wall doesn't need the DARE vehicle because he's doing something real, such as going after traffickers.

The former RCSO had a number of visible programs that were like Clinton's "Brady Bill" gun law. They did nothing but generate a "feeling of safety" while doing nothing at all to actually protect the public.

The best drug and alcohol enforcement measure is conducted by saturation traffic patrols. Everyone who has studied the data knows that.

The local traffickers we need to worry about are sitting in high places. They were protected in the past by policies which concentrated on small-time dealers at the expense of any real push to get the people who fund the flow of drugs into this county. There had to be good reasons why people got away with some of the stuff they did in the past, and a cut of the drug trade pops out as a likely reason.

I think we're going to see some big news coming out of the RCSO one of these days. It will shake the whole state and make the national media. Maricopa County, AZ, is the model we should be following, and I'm willing to let Sheriff Wall play it out.

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s_jroutt 7 years, 3 months ago

is04sp Can you name any trafficker that Mr Wall has arrested since he has been in office?....NOPE

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CoJustice 7 years, 3 months ago

Id: In regards to your comment: "The best drug and alcohol enforcement measure is conducted by saturation traffic patrols. Everyone who has studied the data knows that.". . . . . Well I called your bluff, The results from the "saturation traffic patrols" on line for Routt County are as follows: http://www.dot.state.co.us/trafficsafety/HEAT/index.cfm.

Agency/Troop Fri5/25/07 Sat5/26/07 Sun5/27/07 Mon5/28/07 Tue5/29/07 Total Routt County Sheriff's Office 1 1 2 Colorado State Patrol - All Troops 77 90 79 52 15 313 Total 78 90 80 52 15 315

I am weary of you creating panic with the community as to your statements as to how Gary Wall is going to unleash some kind of vindictive warfare on the public.

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1234 7 years, 3 months ago

man o man ,between the sheriff of routt and the cheif of hayden, how well do we feel protected? i would feel more protected if i ran in front of a large train! oops i hope that does not hindder the rail project for the power plant. because if it did we might not have electricity to run our computers to have these wild a** comments. dont get me wrong i do love this comment section.

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id04sp 7 years, 3 months ago

CoJo,

Back at ya, Bud.

http://www.dot.state.co.us/TrafficSafety/HEAT/index.cfm?fuseaction=ReportDetails

Routt County and Grand County have the same record. Hayden didn't get anybody.

You need to look at county sheriffs and local LE against each other instead of versus the CSP. Similar trends (where CSP gets a lot more arrests) show up in other jurisdictions too.

And, thanks for the info on me creating panic by raising the issue that Sheriff Wall might start enforcing the law. I am very happy to know that some people are worried. Maybe they should just correct their "mistakes" and hope that I'll let it go.

S_Jroutt,

Please name any trafficker arrested during Sheriff Warner's administration.

Could it be, grasshopper, that traffickers know there's a new sheriff in town and have shut down or moved elsewhere? I'd be happy with that.

Again, I don't see any posts by people who are complaining that Wall is not enforcing the law and that, as a result, there's a big crime wave going on. Seems to me that keeping RCSO vehicles visible is a great idea, and having one up in North Routt now is WONDERFUL! I know that's a fruity word, but it fits.

Thanks again, RCSO, for all you do for us. I like the new crew and hope you all bust a bunch of bad guys who've gotten away with way too much for way too long.

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