Routt County Judge James Garrecht leads incoming Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins in the oath of office Tuesday morning at the Routt County Courthouse. Several other Routt County elected officials also were sworn in, including Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush, Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland, Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon, Assessor Gary Peterson and Surveyor Skidge Moon.

Photo by John F. Russell

Routt County Judge James Garrecht leads incoming Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins in the oath of office Tuesday morning at the Routt County Courthouse. Several other Routt County elected officials also were sworn in, including Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush, Clerk and Recorder Kay Weinland, Treasurer Jeanne Whiddon, Assessor Gary Peterson and Surveyor Skidge Moon.

Wiggins takes reins as new Routt County sheriff

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Routt County Judge James Garrecht watches as Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush signs paperwork after being sworn in Tuesday morning at the Routt County Courthouse. Mitsch Bush brought her own 1959 confirmation Bible and a copy of the U.S. Constitution to be sworn in by Garrecht.

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Routt County Judge James Garrecht leads Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush in the oath of office on Tuesday morning at the Routt County Courthouse.

— Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies went to work for a new boss Tuesday after Sheriff Garrett Wiggins was sworn in at the historic downtown courthouse.

Wiggins wasted little time getting to work. After moving some things into his new office, Wiggins planned a department-wide meeting to explain his law enforcement philosophy.

Tuesday’s transition represented the culmination of a goal Wiggins said he’s worked toward for years.

“It’s been a long process I’ve been working on for five years,” said Wiggins, who defeated Gary Wall in November’s election. It was the county’s most fiercely contested race and represented a reversal of the 2006 election, in which Wall defeated Wiggins. “When hard work pays off, it’s a really good feeling,” he said.

The election didn’t seem to end the animosity between the men.

Wiggins said that the transition has not been as smooth as he had hoped for and that he felt like he was “basically coming in with blinders over my eyes.”

“I guess I’ll have to take the bull by the horns and see where it goes from there,” he said.

Wiggins said he tried to contact Wall about arranging meetings with some employees.

“I had a problem with that because I didn’t do that (when I came into office),” Wall said Tuesday. “I had respect for the remainder of (previous Sheriff John Warner’s) term in office.”

Wall said he told Wiggins to contact him with questions.

“In terms of a transition, I said, ‘You come in with your people, and it’s that easy,” Wall said.

There has been only one change in staffing. Wiggins has brought in Kim Gittleson to replace Michelle Kuntz as his administrative assistant.

Ray Birch also took the oath Tuesday as the county’s new undersheriff. A former Sheriff’s Office employee, Birch most recently was Hayden’s police chief.

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” Birch said. “I’m looking forward to being an administrator of a bigger agency.”

Birch said he has a lot to learn and plans to take time to examine the office’s policies and learn about the jail.

“Out of the 32 years of being a cop, I’ve been in corrections six months,” Birch said. “They have some fantastic people working there. I’m looking forward to learning.”

Birch and Wiggins shook hands with each of the deputies after they were sworn in and signed paperwork before Routt County Judge James Garrecht.

“So far it’s pretty exciting,” Sgt. Kurtis Luster said. “I think everyone is excited to start anew and get rolling again.”

A contingent from the Steam­boat Springs Police Department also attended the ceremony, including Chief JD Hays, who was a vocal supporter of Wig­gins during the campaign.

“I think he’ll be a good sheriff,” Hays said.

Other county candidates sworn in to office Tuesday were Clerk and Recorder Kay Wein­land, Treasurer Jeanne Whid­don, Assessor Gary Peterson, Surveyor Skidge Moon, Com­missioner Diane Mitsch Bush and Coroner Rob Ryg.

Comments

rhys jones 3 years, 11 months ago

Or at least replace it with a black-and-white, like every sheriff before him.

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Neil O'Keeffe 3 years, 11 months ago

I guess you didn't learn anything from the events in Arizona this past week. Thinking before you speak/write is an art form, but then again that requires the ability to think.

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ftpheide 3 years, 11 months ago

I was thinking a black and white caricature would work. Their is an art form for ya!

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Troutguy 3 years, 11 months ago

Somebody sure woke up on the wrong side of the world this morning. Last I checked, Wiggins won the election. It's over. Move on.

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rhys jones 3 years, 11 months ago

Lacking a b/w alternative, I suppose you could use the mug shot.

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rhys jones 3 years, 11 months ago

What happened to the original post? Now we're out of context.

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tcb 3 years, 11 months ago

Did someone's feelings get hurt by the first post?

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rhys jones 3 years, 11 months ago

The third one would've cut me to the quick, had I thought it was intended for me. I'm not too good at thinking, at it alleges. Now it's the second post.

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ftpheide 3 years, 11 months ago

It's a case of "you can dish it out but you can't take it".

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Cooke 3 years, 11 months ago

What in the world are you people talking about?

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Brent Boyer 3 years, 11 months ago

All: The first comment in the thread was removed after several readers suggested its removal. A quick review of the comment by site administrators supported the removal. While we absolutely encourage discussion and debate on these forums, please try to do so in a respectful manner, and keep in mind the terms of use that you agreed to when you signed up to be a verified user of Steamboatpilot.com:

http://www.steamboattoday.com/terms_of_use/

Thanks for reading, Brent 970-871-4221 bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

The problem with the first post was probably not the cheap shots at Gary Wall, but the cheap shots at others. First post also took shots at other Sheriff dept employees by name. A good faith employee of the Sheriff dept does not deserve to be criticized by name.

And really, the hatred runs so deep that a former Sheriff should not allowed to have his chosen picture on the wall with all the other former Sheriffs? What the former official picks as the picture is normally always accepted without comment. In the real world where people actually interact with each other, there is a concept called good manners which is based upon the principle of reciprocity. Because someday Garret Wiggins will be the former Sheriff and he should also be allowed to have the portrait photo of his choice on that wall as well. If there is something inappropriate about the photo then that will just serve as a historical reminder of that person's flaws.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

And that first post criticisms of other Sheriff dept employees not named Gary Wall were not specific facts regarding a specific incident, but general character assassination.

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ftpheide 3 years, 11 months ago

Their is alot of "removals" going on these days. Let's try not to upset Scott.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Pilot's rules appear to be simple enough. No personal attacks on private citizens or their families.

I've criticized Brent for removing posts that were critical of public officials for their public acts as a public official because those removals did not appear to violate any rules.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

So Rhys Jones, if someone that dislikes you goes around talking to people that know you and so on in order to find something to post on the Pilot's forums about you personally then that is okay, just having fun?

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rhys jones 3 years, 11 months ago

I'm not suggesting that this is a forum for vendettas or personal attacks. I merely observed that I thought it somewhat pretentious, to post a color photo where tradition has observed black-and-white. I have nothing against the man, personally. I thought I controlled myself quite well, in not responding to the post following mine.

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rhys jones 3 years, 11 months ago

Because I'm still waiting to hear any pearls of wisdom sprouted by the Arizona incident, let alone how they may possibly relate to this inanity.

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ftpheide 3 years, 11 months ago

Scottie is the "comment police". He probably has Brent's cell phone number.

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rhys jones 3 years, 11 months ago

I shall consider myself properly chastised. And wasn't this a bit of fun?

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tcb 3 years, 11 months ago

Sorry I missed the removed comment. Oh well. Here's to another 4 years of interesting banter and utter nonsense.

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Neil O'Keeffe 3 years, 11 months ago

highwater my comment was not directed to you it was the original post. And as far as their connection to the Arizona incident, draw your own conclusions.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Rhys, But if having a color photo of himself is Gary Wall wants then so be it. If he thinks it is appropriate to have a color photo and others think it is pretentious then at least it is a statement of his time in office that he chose to make.

The alternative of not allowing him to have the picture of his choice would serve as a symbol of vindictiveness. And then what, if a partisan Democrat is elected Sheriff then he puts up the color picture of Gary Wall that was rejected by the Republican Sheriff and decides whether the pictures of former Republican Sheriffs should be changed? Maybe the issue is "solved" by colorizing all of the old photos.

Unless Gary Wall's portrait is suspected of being able to exert mind control over Sheriff's deputies then it doesn't matter unless controlling the symbols of your defeated political opponents matter.

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Neil O'Keeffe 3 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone see the links and willing to admit it. The personal attacks filled with venomous hatred are coming from both sides of the political aisle and frankly they have no place in politics and certainly not in our local paper blogs where no one has to take responsibility for thier comments.
Nuf said! http://www.truth-out.org/poor-poor-sarah66781

.

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ftpheide 3 years, 11 months ago

Rhys, Don't you just love being corrected by insane people?

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Matt Helm 3 years, 11 months ago

Enough of the rambling.... I'm just happy to see two guys in this office that will actually take it seriously. The last four years were agony... and thats me being nice about it! Now, we might actually get to see some real Law ENFORCEMENT being done in the valley. Those that think nothing goes on here are pretty naive. No more sitting in the office just waiting on calls. Its time to find the real criminals and get them off the streets here. Just to clarify... random pot smokers should have nothing to worry about, so don't get all paranoid and defensive!!!

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Neil O'Keeffe 3 years, 11 months ago

Ready to kick some ass and take names are we? Be Afraid, Very Afraid!

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Matt Helm 3 years, 11 months ago

Just a few Neil... My comment might be a bit strong, but I'm just sick of reading all this useless banter. Lets talk about some of the real issues that are dragging our community down, and maybe the SO could focus on them more. The photo in the office is not important. The drugs getting into the schools... a little more so! Young adults dying of drug overdoses and suicides could also be addressed. I'm not suggesting any kind of police state or abuse of power, just upholding the law and educating the community!

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rhys jones 3 years, 11 months ago

Wow... all I did was affirm the only part of the previous post which I necessarily agreed with, and with its prompt removal, now my comment takes center stage. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much. Bad press is better than no press, I guess. And I always like to keep 'em talking!!

I personally have no opinion in this debacle one way or the other. Considering the "close working relationship" of the locals courts and law enforcement agencies, I'm sure the laws will continue to be vigorously enforced here, at least some of them, whoever's picture adorns the wall and whatever color it is.

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sledneck 3 years, 11 months ago

Good luck Mr. Wiggins. With clowns like us all over the county you're gonna need it.

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