Entries in Sheriff (8)


Colorado Sheriffs Suing Over Gun Control Laws

iStockphoto(DENVER) -- Colorado’s recently approved gun control laws, passed in response to the Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., massacres, are being challenged by a delegation of sheriffs who say the laws are unconstitutional.

In March, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed off on some of the toughest gun control legislation in the country, including a law mandating universal background checks for the purchase of firearms and another restricting the size of high-capacity magazines.

A lawsuit was filed on Friday in Colorado’s U.S. District Court on behalf of 54 of the state’s sheriffs in an effort to block the laws from taking effect.

“This lawsuit is for your rights and for your safety,” Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said at a news conference on Friday.

“These bills do absolutely nothing to make Colorado a safer place to live, to work, to play or to raise a family. Instead these misguided, unconstitutional bills will have the opposite effect because they greatly restrict the right of decent, law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, their families and their homes,” he said.

All but 10 of the state’s 64 sheriffs, who are elected officials, signed their names to the lawsuit.

Tom Sullivan, who lost his son Alex Sullivan in the Aurora movie theater massacre, told ABC News’ Denver affiliate he didn’t understand the backlash to the laws.

“I do not understand why these politicians are picking guns over people,” he said, “and why they want to make it easier for criminals to get guns and for other families to go through what we did.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Texas Sheriff's Office 'Taking Precautions' to Protect Elected Officials After District Attorney, Wife Slain

Hemera/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- After the second murder of a prosecutor in the past two months in Kaufman County, Texas, the sheriff said his department was "taking precautions" to protect elected officials, but stopped short of saying he believed they were being targeted.

Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found shot to death in their Forney home on Saturday, Sheriff David Byrnes said on Sunday.

Byrnes would not definitively say whether he believed the murders were related to the slaying of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, who was gunned down outside the courthouse on Jan. 31.

"We have nothing indicating that for sure," he said at a news conference on Sunday afternoon.

Byrnes declined to discuss what security measures were already in place and whether any new steps might be taken, but said people should not be afraid to go to the courthouse, where there would be "visible security."

"It's pretty obvious it's unnerving and its unnerving to the law enforcement community and the community at large, which is why we're striving to ensure the community we are providing public safety," he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Oregon Sheriff May Release Undocumented Immigrants to Ease Jail Overcrowding

Kevin Horan/Stone(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Multnomah County, Ore., officials say they will decide this week whether to endorse a proposed detention policy to allow undocumented immigrants jailed for nonviolent misdemeanor crimes to be released.

Sheriff Dan Staton, who has been drafting the proposed policy shift with county chair Jeff Cogen, said the move is necessary to make space for violent criminals in his overcrowded jails.

“I’m releasing people who are committing burglaries. I’m releasing people that are stealing vehicles. I keep releasing people that are low level drug offenders and I’ve got to put a stop to it,” Staton told ABC News’ Portland affiliate KATU-TV.

The proposed policy would mean local officials would decline immigration holds issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials for nonviolent offenders, according to a copy of the proposal found on the Multnomah County Commissioner’s website.

ICE can issue holds to federal, state and local law enforcement to ask that they hold an undocumented immigrant for 48 hours while officials investigate whether the person entered the United States illegally.

Because Multnomah County isn’t compensated for holding the alleged undocumented immigrants, the practice places an “undue burden on the county,” according to the proposal

“Moreover, the unmitigated compliance with ICE detainers requests has the potential of further straining the resources of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and occupying scarce and costly jail beds that should be reserved for those who pose the greatest threat to public safety,” the proposal said.

Staton has said he will continue to honor the immigration holds for undocumented immigrants accused of felonies and misdemeanor violent crimes.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform, a group advocating for “sustainable” immigration, said the policy shift was “rewarding” to undocumented immigrants.

“Either we’re a nation of the rule of law or we’re not, and rewarding people who are here illegally — specifically here illegally — rewarding them with a special condition is a slap in the face to everybody who goes through the immigration process lawfully,” member Jim Ludwick told KATU.

The Multnomah County Board is expected to vote on whether to endorse the proposal on April 4, however their decision does not affect whether it becomes official.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Judge, Sheriff’s Deputy Shot, Stabbed in Wash. Courthouse

Comstock/Thinkstock(MONTESANO, Wash.) -- A judge was stabbed in the neck and a female sheriff’s deputy was shot and stabbed inside the Grays Harbor District Courthouse in the tiny town of Montesano,  about 100 miles southeast of Seattle.

The suspect fled the scene following the attack, temporarily sending local schools and many businesses into lockdown.  Police and a SWAT team quickly surrounded a house on the east side of town, where they believe the suspect is hiding.  Aerial footage supplied by KOMO-TV shows several snipers positioned around the house.

Court was not in session at the time of the attack, and exactly where the shooting and stabbing took place within the 100-year-old courthouse is not known.

Both the judge and the deputy are reported to be in stable condition at a nearby hospital.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former Colorado Sheriff Arrested, Held in Jail Named After Him

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LITTLETON, Colo.) -- Patrick Sullivan was such a popular sheriff that Arapahoe County renamed the jail after him when he retired. In an ironic twist, however, Sullivan was arrested on drug charges this week, and is now an inmate at the the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility.

The former top cop in Arapahoe County, which includes Littleton, Colo., is facing charges that he planned to distribute methamphetamine after police found him allegedly offering to trade the drug for sex with a man.

Sullivan, 68, who served as sheriff from 1984 to 2002, was arrested on Tuesday.

“I was saddened by the allegations and very disappointed,” Grayson Robinson, the current Arapahoe County sheriff, told ABC News.  “First and foremost we have a greater purpose here and that is to be able to serve our community.  No one, including a law enforcement officer, is above the law.”

During his time as sheriff, Sullivan won the distinction of being the 2001 National Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year and took on a role in a methamphetamine policy-making task force that provided recommendations to the state legislature.

Former Arapahoe County District Attorney Jim Peters, who worked with Sullivan, told the Denver Post the allegations against Sullivan are “totally out of character.”

“He was completely ethical, upright and honest,” Peters told the newspaper.  “He just oozed honesty and integrity.  He was an outstanding sheriff.”

After retiring from law enforcement in 2002, the jail was renamed after him and Sullivan went on to become the director of safety and security for Cherry Creek Schools.  He retired from the school district in 2008.

Sullivan is being held on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 5.

There is no word yet from the City Commissioner whether there are plans to rename the jail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Carson City IHOP Shooting 'Not Unlike 9/11,' Sheriff Says

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CARSON CITY, Nev.) -- The sheriff of the Nevada town where a gunman shot up an IHOP restaurant with an assault rifle said Wednesday that the murderous carnage "was not unlike 9/11."

Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong spoke after a third member of the Nevada National Guard died of her injuries from Tuesday's attack, bringing the death toll to five. The dead include gunman Eduardo Sencion, who shot himself.

Furlong said Wenesday that his city would always remember the senseless shooting that took five lives, but that the community would heal and move on.

"Yesterday in Carson City was not unlike 9/11. Families, communities, and the entire nation have been affected by what happened here," Furlong said. "We're a resilient society. We rebuild, but we don't forget."

Furlong said the investigation had determined that Sencion had not singled out the guardsmen, who were sitting together at a table at the rear of the restaurant, because civilians were also shot in equal numbers. Sencion walked to the middle of the restaurant where he began shooting toward the back of the room, where the Guard members were sitting, Furlong said.

Nevertheless, the base commander said that after the shooting he had issued an order for soldiers to not wear their uniforms off base, and extra security was added to the base.

Furlong said Sencion, 32, had a history of mental illness. He said Sencion was carrying an AK-47 style assault rifle, but also had a pistol and an additional rifle in his van. Furlong said the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is looking into how Sencion got the weapons.

Sencion, who was born in Mexico, was a U.S. citizen who had been here for a long period of time and had no criminal history, Furlong said. The only record police have of him is of three pawn transactions over the past year. Investigators don't believe he engaged with anyone else prior to the shooting, and have found no apparent ties between Sencion and the IHOP or neighboring businesses.

Witnesses reported that Sencion may have been shouting things while shooting, but Furlong noted that many of them were severely traumatized and those accounts have not been confirmed yet.

He said there were no security cameras that had footage of the rampage, which began just before 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Investigators are talking to Sencion's family members about potential mental illness. Furlong said the family is cooperating and is grieving.

Furlong released the names of and information about some of those killed, including National Guard members Major Heath Kelly, 35, Sgt. First Class Christian Riege, 39, Sgt. First Class Miranda McElheney, 38, and civilian Florence Donovan Gunderson, 67. The Guard members were at an offsite staff meeting, while Gunderson was eating at the restaurant with her husband, a former Marine Corps member, who was also injured.

Kelly, a decorated artillery officer, served in Iraq during 2004 and 2005 and lived in Reno with his wife and children.

McElheny, whom Furlong called a "fast riser," was a medical, dental, and human resources specialist who had served for 14 years.

Riege, of Carson City, served in Afghanistan from 2009-2010 and served in the Navy for two years. He was a father of three and an avid fitness buff.

Some of the survivors' injuries were "extremely life threatening," Furlong said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Arizona Sheriff Blasts Rush Limbaugh for Spewing 'Irresponsible' Vitriol

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- The Arizona sheriff investigating the Tucson shooting that left U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded had harsh words Monday for those engaging in political rhetoric, calling conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh "irresponsible" for continuing the vitriol.

"The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Monday. "[Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences."

Limbaugh on Monday railed against the media and Dupnik for trying to draw a link between the heated political climate and the shooting rampage, calling the sheriff a "fool." But Dupnik stood by his assertions.

"The vitriol affects the [unstable] personality that we are talking about," he said. "You can say, 'Oh no, it doesn't,' but my opinion is that it does."

Investigators have yet to determine what motivated 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, described by some as appearing to be mentally unstable, to allegedly open fire on the crowd outside the Tucson Safeway. However, so far there is no evidence that he has any ties to any political group

Dupnik took ABC News' Diane Sawyer on a tour Monday of the Safeway where six people were killed and 14 others, including Giffords, were injured.

Dupnik said eyewitnesses reported that the gun was about a foot away from Giffords' head when she was shot. The gunman then fired wildly and seemingly indiscriminately at the crowd of people.

"It's a matter of seconds," he said. "I'm told he was firing as fast he was capable of firing."

"He's trying to reload when one of the individuals hits him over the head with a chair," he said, "and then people grab him and a lady grabs the magazine and at that point he is subdued."

Dupnik maintains that it was Loughner's own demons, not his state's relatively lenient gun control laws, that caused the tragedy on Saturday.

"He could have purchased this gun in any state. It's not just Arizona," said Dupnik, who owns a gun. "There are too many people who have temper problems who have troubled personalities. This isn't an unusual individual. There are hundreds just like him in our community -- and in every other community."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Colorado County Employee Posts Thousands of Sensitive Documents

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.) -- Officials in Mesa County, Colorado are scrambling to figure out how much damage may have been done from an accidental leak of thousands of secret documents containing phone numbers and personal information of informants, witnesses and sheriff's deputies.

Google has now stepped in to help the sheriff's department find and delete any other of the leaked documents that were stored on an unsecured website, shown to have been accessed by outsiders.

The sheriff's department is scouring the files, looking for the names of witnesses or confidential informants who might need to be warned that their names could soon go public.

The county employee who inadvertently put the files online last April has been fired.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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