Sheriff Wall's Sept. 6 letter to the county

— Sept. 6, 2007

To: Routt County Commissioner Nancy J. Stahoviak, Chairman

Routt County Commissioner Douglas B. Monger

Routt County Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush

From: Gary Wall

Re: Response to July 24, 2007, correspondence regarding county policies

At the risk of suggesting that I am demonstrating a lack of respect to the Board of County Commissioners of Routt County, I decline to respond to your request made by correspondence dated July 24, 2007. You ask that I initial after each policy referenced in the attachment to your letter to designate whether or not these policies are or are not acceptable to the Sheriff's Office. I want to emphasize that my position is taken as a matter of principle and that by taking this position I believe I am following the law, and not in any way breaking the law. I take very seriously the oath of office I took prior to formally beginning my tenure as the Sheriff of Routt County and believe that my actions are absolutely consistent with my obligations to this office, my Undersheriff, my Deputies, the citizens of Routt County and our visitors.

In order to help you understand the legal basis of my decision, I am in this single instance and in the most limited way, partially waiving my attorney/ client privilege to provide for your review a copy of the attached Memorandum. Here, my legal counsel has provided an assessment of the legal issues raised by the Commissioners in their July 24th letter. Although I believe that this correspondence speaks for itself, I rely on my legal counsel in taking the position that the request of the Routt County Commissioners set forth in their letter dated July 24, 2007, would result in my acting in a fashion that is not mandated by law. By responding to the attachment to the letter by initialing each county policy as you requested, I believe that 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. This is something that I cannot allow, not only for all of the employees of the Routt County Sheriff's Office, but also to maintain the integrity of all other Sheriff's Offices throughout Colorado.

I would also be remiss in not commenting that you have never explained why the County Commissioners have not requested other elected officials to engage in similar activities involving County policy. I am not aware of any similar request to the Sheriff's Office in the past. Although I do not anticipate an answer from the Commissioners, I am curious as to why the County Commissioners would direct these types of inquiries upon me as Routt County Sheriff, but not others.

I would also comment that it is my stated concern that the County Commissioners not punish the Routt County Sheriff's Office in the budget process because of the principles upon which I stand in coming to this decision. The argument has been made that an easier approach would be to merely cooperate with the Routt County Commissioners and comply with requests made on July 24, 2007. It is my position that I will not compromise the office by acting in that manner.

It is my full intent to publish written policies of the Routt County Sheriff's Office addressing issues of significance to this office based on a time schedule that adequately takes into account both the substance and the procedure of a given issue. It is also my intent to publish all of these policies on our Internet site so that any individual interested can review them. Certainly the Board of County Commissioners can review these policies and can make decisions as to whether or not they concur or agree with its own policies.

I hope that none of this would result in a punitive attitude by the Routt County Commissioners as we go through the budgetary process. I would expect that any disagreement between the County Commissioners and my office be handled in such a way to not put the Undersheriff, Deputy Sheriff's, 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 Sheriff's Office.

While I understand that you may not agree with the positions taken in this letter, I trust that this will not interfere with our working relationship in the future. Ultimately, I insist upon the ability to act as the Sheriff of Rout County in a manner that is consistent with Colorado law. It is my obligation to see to it that my actions do not allow any interferences or intervention that might infringe upon well established and respected foundations of law underlying the operation of governmental entities in our state.

Sincerely,

Gary Wall

Sheriff

Community comments

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(Scott Wedel) Scott_Wedel says...

What I do not understand is his promise to make the Sheriff's policies available in a "timely manner". If he is going to make them public then there should not be any time period in which a policy is in effect, but not public. The policies should be available immediately and the policies should not take effect until they are public.

I think making the policies available to the public is a good idea and makes more sense than a checklist of whether his policies conform to all of the county's policies. If the Sheriff's dept has any policies any different from any of the County's policies then a legal argument could be made that the Sheriff's dept conforms to none of the County's policies because if there are differences then they are not the same.

So it does make sense to say here are the policies and if you have objections then respond to the policy instead of arguing over whether Sheriff's dept policies "conform" to County policies.

I just wish the Sheriff's dept policies were public before taking effect instead of being made public in a "timely manner" (which could be weeks or even months) after being issued.

Posted 9 September 2007, 1:03 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) vic says...

what a mess...I am so happy to have escaped.

Posted 9 September 2007, 6:32 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) CoJustice says...

Quite the power play in regards to abuse of police powers. It would be one thing is it was necessary for the protection of life, property and preservation of public peace, but Gary Walls intentions of overriding financial and liability responsibilities are not in the best interest of the citizens of Routt County.

Our County Commissioners perform legislative functions of government by developing policy that protect in the matter of legal accountable. They serve as both administrative and policy-making bodies for us. I believe they have the right to exercise financial answerable policies.

Commissioners along with citizens may have to enact legislation powers of the County as a legal entity to administrate the Sheriff's legal responsibility blunder.

Posted 9 September 2007, 7:32 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) s_jroutt says...

The only bad thing is that he is going to do what he wants. He has stated that he does not answer to the County Commissioners. Gusse I see it being very childish that he can't even sit down with the Commissioners to decied on anything, he has to write them letters. He will create his own laws and policies, and he doesn't have to have the county approve them. He just wants the money for the backing. Maybe the County Commissioners should approve the last budget and call it good, with no more travel expensise, no more we need and I wants from the Sheriff. He's still going to step on busniess owners toes, but he's providing a "community service".

Posted 9 September 2007, 8:26 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) CoJustice says...

Math quandaries:

Sheriff's budget (minus)
Extensive legal fees (minus)
Extra liability insurance (minus)
. . . . . . . .= Publics problem, Commissioners deficit problems. . . because Gary has squandered himself as he stated, "because of not being adequately funded to uphold the statutory responsibilities of this Sheriff's Office."

Question: How can Gary claim "client privilage" on matters of public record, budjets and tax dollars?

Posted 9 September 2007, 8:39 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) s_jroutt says...

Because he doesn't have to answer to anyone. He is only hurting his deputies and the community. He will come out smelling like a rose no matter what goes on. Wonder if the pilot would like pic's of him? I don't think they like the ones we can get of him

Posted 9 September 2007, 10:22 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

I think Sheriff Wall is completely within his rights. He has sworn to obey and enforce the law, and apparently intends to honor his oath. I have too often stated here how the previous office holder's organization failed to obey and enforce the written laws, and believe that Sheriff Wall deserves a chance to show that his actions are in fact lawful. This is the only standard required.

Sheriff Wall is not required to answer to the County. His "policies" indicate that the written law of the land will dictate his actions. Should he fail in living up to the written law, the County can file charges at the state or federal level and let the bigger organization handle the problem.

The questions being posed in the other posts can all be answered by a financial audit of the RCSO. I suggest that the County conduct such an audit, if allowed by law, and make the results public. Otherwise, the commissioners can take the 10-week POST course at a junior college and run for sheriff next time if they think they're qualified to run the Sheriff's department.

Posted 9 September 2007, 10:53 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) CoJustice says...

Id: Are you talking to yourself? This is not about his rights, or the law. Its about who is going to pay for the legal financial responsibility of the Sheriffs Office, since Wall now has the foresight to state he is concerned about his budget . . . ."I would expect that any disagreement between the County Commissioners and my office be handled in such a way to not put the Undersheriff, Deputy Sheriff's, 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 Sheriff's Office."

Posted 9 September 2007, 12:19 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) s_jroutt says...

The Sheriff has to be resposible for his actions. When he gets into a pickle who is he going to blame? The citizens or the commissioners for not being behind him in what he has done. He has made a hole for himself, and when its time is he going to lay in it?

Posted 9 September 2007, 12:43 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

The Commissioners have got lots of money to throw around on bull$#!+ projects designed to make people rich. If we took the money they've spent on architechts for projects they were not required to build, the Sheriff's office would be fully funded.

This is all just sour grapes.

No seniors have died in their homes since elder watch was cut.

DARE wasn't doing any good anyway.

Ranch watch only benefitted a favored few.

Somebody get the numbers on the amount of drugs that have been siezed as a result of saturation patrols, and compare it to GRAMNET, and let's see how things are going.

The more time that passes, the more it become apparent that the old RCSO was ineffective in every area except public relations. What's the proof? Cutting out the needless programs has not resulted in any harm to anyone yet.

Posted 9 September 2007, 1:10 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) dundalk says...

Hey Id:

Without saying too much, we DID have a senior today who passed away and may have slipped through the cracks.

You are the sourest of grapeheadas and frankly there are not enough colonic treatments in this world to appease the blockage you have.

Posted 9 September 2007, 3:25 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) whoyagonnacall says...

Wall states he is not doing this to uphold the sanctity of the sheriff's office and to make sure he is able to accomplish his statutory duties as sheriff? Okay, easy answer for the commissioners, cut the budget for patrol and road deputies. Colorado statute only requires the sheriff to operate a jail, serve civil process, and fight fires in unincorporated areas not covered by a fire district. He does have the authority to round up a posse to track criminals, but there is no statutory requirement to provide full time law enforcement.

You folks up there really got what ya asked for with this yahoo. Makes the former sheriff to the west look like a good guy...and he's the biggest reason I left the area.

Posted 9 September 2007, 4:55 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) Watcher says...

There is a definite power play here and it is not Sheriff Wall who is causing it but Nancy Stahoviak. She certainly does not like having someone who thinks for himself as Sheriff.

The Sheriff's duties and responsibilities are not set by county commissioners but by the state legislature so if you have a problem with what he is doing I suggest you take it up at the State level. My hat's off to him for not just bowing to the whims of the commissioners.

Posted 9 September 2007, 4:58 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

Dundalk,

Please take an honest look at the situation you describe in light of the elder watch "patrol" schedule and make an assessment of whether the patrol would have made any difference at all.

My grandmother passed away at age 92 in her sleep. The day before, she did everything she normally did, including helping with cooking and washing the dishes. She was found dead in her bed around 10 AM after she failed to get up around her usual time of 9:30 AM. Other people living in the house with her were unaware that anything was wrong, and no amount of patrolling by the sheriff would have changed a thing.

Again, why aren't the local EMTs calling these folks on the telephone to make sure they're okay? How about firefighters waiting for a call? If someone doesn't answer, then sending a deputy out to check on them would make sense.

You are really grasping to make everything Gary Wall's fault. If you think he did something unlawful that has affected YOU, then file a complaint. Maybe you need to feel what it's like to have a valid complaint against the government and be unable to do anything about it, huh?

Posted 10 September 2007, 8:21 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) dundalk says...

No...I just think you speak of things in the medical porfession to which you have no clue!

Posted 10 September 2007, 9:26 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

Dundalk,

I think you are full of hot air and are looking for any excuse to blame the RCSO for things they are not, and should not be, responsible for.

Why would you put a deputy in the position of having to make a call on a medical issue? That's what you're asking them to do. You want them to assess an elder for some threatening condition and then report on their welfare.

Guess what? The VNA (visiting nurse's association) is around for that purpose. You'd be surpirsed how much I know about it.

Posted 10 September 2007, 9:52 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) dundalk says...

OKay Surgeon General.

Posted 10 September 2007, 9:55 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

You're new around here, aren't you?

Posted 12 September 2007, 7:05 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

I know the difference between a D.O., an M.D., a D.D. and a D.D.S., and a P.A. and an RN and an LPN and a CNA.

POST certification doesn't include a qualification to perform any of the tasks done by people with these certifications and qualifications.

You wanna talk about liability? What if a deputy goes by to check on Maude and Homer, they seem fine, and the next day they're found dead in their home. Does that make the RCSO liable for failing to render care to them? I guarantee you, some survivor would try to sue over it.

I'm getting tired of you folks talking out of both sides of your mouths about Wall's policies and claiming he's going to get the County sued, when in fact, the elder watch program was probably a perfect program to get the RCSO sued.

You complain over a simple POST refresher qualification and then expect deputies to take on the duties of someone who has a medical license. Double standard? I think so.

Posted 10 September 2007, 10:38 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) dundalk says...

Id says: "I know the difference between a D.O., an M.D., a D.D. and a D.D.S., and a P.A. and an RN and an LPN and a CNA."

Wow, I've got a lollipop for you. Too bad you don't know B.S. when you see and smell it.

Posted 10 September 2007, 10:44 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

Dundalk,

Which chapter of MENSA do you belong to? Maybe we can get together at one of the meetings and swap ideas.

Posted 10 September 2007, 12:12 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) dundalk says...

You're killing me.

Posted 10 September 2007, 12:27 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) s_jroutt says...

So id04dp
You feel that it's ok that the elderly people of Routt County get scamed out of $1000s every month? The elder watch wasn't put into place for the RCSO to take over medical problems and be doctors for them.

http://steamboatpilot.com/news/2003/s...

This was to help the elderly with things they didn't know they could do because know one had told them.
Hate to tell ya id04sp I'm not talking out of both sides of my mouth, I don't like Mr. Wall, if he wants to redo some of the policies for the RCSO then get them done, so there are no more issuse with them. He's not wanting to explain himself and yes he does have to. If your that blind to the drugs around Steamboat that is your problem. They haven't left just because we got a new big bad sheriff.

Posted 11 September 2007, 8:23 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) ColoradoNative says...

Small town bickering. Got to love it! Let him do his job and we citizens should be vigilant in helping his dept. End of story.

Posted 11 September 2007, 10:55 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

s_jroutt

Okay, thanks. Somebody finally came up with something solid instead of just waving their hands.

I'm not blind to the drugs. I'm also not blind to the fact that the old administration wasn't doing anything effective against them. When GRAMENT only got drugs of less street value than their operating budget out of circulation, you've got to admit that simply taking the GRAMNET money and buying the drugs would have done more good.

I only wish that as many people had been vocal about the shortcomings under Warner and Taylor. Why weren't they? Was it only because Warner and Taylor had programs that were visible, but also ineffective?

See the CBI 2006 report on Routt County.

http://cbi.state.co.us/dr/cic2k6/agen...

It shows 17 adult and 3 juvenile arrests for drug related offenses in 2006. A quick search on the Pilot, without even digging down into the hits, shows at least 8 drug related arrests by RCSO in 2007. How about one of you taking the time to do a search on the Pilot using the terms "RSCO drug" and compile the RCSO drug arrests so far in 2007. How about somebody getting the real number of drug arrests by RCSO in 2007? This will either show that Wall's management of the department is better, worse, or the same as Warner's when it comes to drug arrests in consecutive years.

If you want to criticize him, take the time to get the numbers and lay it out for us.

Posted 11 September 2007, 11:18 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) CoJustice says...

Amusing thing, Wall is not the one that wrote this response. He probably can not even fathom the possibility of the liability and how it will effect his budget. The attorney that actually wrote this response for him is likely anticipating a long profitable legal partnership to be retained as counsel for Walls on going litigation.

Walls attorney should surrender documents for his billable hours for review. There is no "client privilege" protection in the matter of public finance and affairs. If Wall wants "client privilege privacy" he is going to need to pay for it out of his own pocket, not County funds.

Posted 11 September 2007, 11:55 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) CoJustice says...

The Colorado Statute
By The Colorado Press Association

"It is declared to be the public policy of this state that all public records shall be open for inspection by any person at reasonable times." -- Colorado Revised Statutes 24-72-201.

What are public records?

All writings made, maintained, or kept by the state or any agency, institution or political subdivision for use in the exercise of functions required or authorized by law or administrative rule or involving the receipt or expenditure of public funds. Police and court records are found in the Criminal Justice Records Act. "Writings" includes photographs, tapes, recordings, digitally-stored data, including electronic mail and other documentary materials, in addition to books, papers and maps, but does not include computer software.

Posted 11 September 2007, 3:13 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

Okay. I want to see the DA's paperwork and the written disposition of the case of the girlfriend of the former judge after she was arrested for conspiracy to traffick in cocaine.

Why couldn't GRAMNET make that case stick? Can we see GRAMNET's notes on it? Why wasn't there a trial? What were the conditions of the plea bargain, etc?

I want to see the statements by the officers involved and by the subject of the investigation. I want to know who else she implicated and who she and the judge socialized with in the property law and real estate business areas.

I also want to see GRAMNET's notes on all of the investigations of cocaine trafficking by city, county and state officials, realtors, bankers, businessmen, etc.

Where do I send my request for that? Where are those records kept?

This ought to be good.

Posted 11 September 2007, 8:03 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) CoJustice says...

id: You know something, you do have a right to see those documents. Go to the Colorado Opens Records Act site: http://www.ago.state.co.us/FAQ/CORA1. Hopefully the records are "not sealed" Be specific in your request regarding events, dates and parties involved. If denied, they must give you the legal basis as to why.

Gramnet has a right to refuse information on current and pending investigations that public knowledge may jeopardize the case and safety of officers. You may have access to reports, but don't be surprised if some information is "blacked out" for the protection of the organization. You only have access to cases that have a police report document, and cases that are considered closed.

If you feel your rights have been denied you can file a civil action in District Court.

Posted 11 September 2007, 9:17 p.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

CoJo,

I followed your link. Looks what it says:

Not Found
The requested document was not found on this server.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Web Server at state.co.us

Posted 12 September 2007, 7:08 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) CoJustice says...

No, I am not new, I have been around for a while. In fact I think we have had this conversation before. The law is the law, no one probably pushed the issue, and followed through. Sorry about the link, try this one:

http://www.ago.state.co.us/FAQ/OpenRe...

Posted 12 September 2007, 7:30 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) s_jroutt says...

Sheriff Gary Wall said hiring Denis Luark, a 2005 Soroco High School graduate, will expand law enforcement coverage in South Routt County.

"I'm pleased to have him because it will automatically increase our law enforcement presence in South Routt since he'll be driving through those areas every day," he said.

Wall said Luark's position was the last open patrol position at the Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff's Office also is looking to hire two detention deputies, which would bring that side of the Sheriff's Office to full staff, Wall said.

Does anyone know how many SO's live in South Routt now? Just a question because I'm unsure. I know we have 4 or 5 in Hayden couple in Clark. The presense of the SO being around is everywhere. That is not going to stop people from pushing the drugs and doing things illeagly around Routt County. Everytime you look at the arrest record. The sheriffs office has maybe one or two.....The P.D. has 10 or 12. Can someone tell me why?

Posted 12 September 2007, 8:06 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) id04sp says...

10,000 people live in Steamboat.

20,000 people (including those in Steamboat) live in Routt County.

It's a simple matter of density; citizens per sworn officer, and the probability of a citizen-officer contact. Also, where do you find the most people at any one time -- in Steamboat. Steamboat is the only place in the county where a person can obtain any level of anonymity, and anonymity is required for illicit behavior.

If you look at the CBI website and compare RCSO arrest statistics to Grand, Moffat and Rio Blanco county sheriff's offices, it would be hard to come up with a statistical difference (one that cannot be explained just as a chance happening).

Posted 12 September 2007, 8:18 a.m. Suggest removal

(Anonymous) CoJustice says...

Condensed businesses, crimes related to businesses and tourism (DUI, Assault, Theft, etc.) and demand for service based on population and tourist. If you actually consider the number of tourist attractions (concerts, rodeos, etc), the number of police and fire personnel is small. If a catastrophic event were to occur, we would need our neighboring law enforcement and State troopers to assist.

Posted 12 September 2007, 9:34 a.m. Suggest removal

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