Sheriff Terry Maketa, El Paso County, CO: “Democrats are threatening sheriffs’ salaries over opposition to gun control bills” [Darleen Click]
Jeff Crank: You and I talked briefly last night about it. I was sort of amazed by what you told me that the sheriffs took some heat for testifying, for coming up and supporting the Second Amendment – and you know I’ve always, uh, and sometimes police chiefs aren’t always the most friendly to the Second Amendment but our current one here in Colorado Springs is – but sheriffs tend to be. Part of that tends to be is that they’re elected by the citizens. You’ve been a strong proponent of the Second Amendment. Many sheriffs around Colorado are. They know it helps them do a good job at law enforcement to have law-abiding citizens armed.
They were basically threatened in a way, you tell me, if they came up and testified or because they came up and testified – tell us a little about that.
Terry Maketa: Well you know there is probably 30 sheriffs who made the trip and there would have been a lot more of course but they have to come all corners of the state and we still have our responsibilities; but those of us that came were there as a group and speaking on behalf of those who couldn’t be there. And I’ll tell you it’s a vast majority that oppose all of these bills because factually and statistically they are not going to accomplish what they claim to – they are emotionally driven and they have no backing. And I think you are right, Jeff, sheriffs are elected so they have a much more direct contact and sense of how their citizens feel. They really do and I have been doing this a long time now.
One of the concerning things was I’ve always been able to testify on a bill and the rules were changed to only one sheriff could speak per bill. They would allow us to stand in support of the sheriff speaking and I had an extra privilege extended by our Senate Minority Leader, Bill Cadman, who got me on the stand to be able to testify and I felt honored but it was the citizens I felt for who made the trip that they never had their voice heard.
Having said that, I had to leave the capitol and fly out of town for a commitment I had in Columbus, Ohio, and when I returned on Wednesday – I was actually driving back Wednesday morning from DIA – and I received an email from a member of CSOC and basically the email said that the Senate Dem leadership is very upset with the sheriffs and their opposition to the gun control bills. There is an another bill that has been put off and put off and that is the salary commission that makes recommendations to the legislature for the pay of sheriffs and other county elected officials. As you know, Jeff, my pay is actually set by the legislature. Well, Gov Ritter under his tenure created a commission that would study these salaries and come forward with fact-backed recommendations. Now this salary bill has no effect on me, but the Dems have been dangling it out there, and refusing to follow their own created commission’s recommendations. They’ve put it off now for two years and basically in that email it said you sheriffs, the Senate majority leadership, the Dems, are very upset with your testimony and opposition on the gun bills and they are stating that basically we should reconsider our positions to gain a more favorable light for salary support from the Dems.
The email went on to say “I do not believe that this would be sacrificing our principles or positions on other gun bills if we choose to support 197.”
Well, I was absolutely outraged by that. Number one, the salary bill for elected officials is a mandate for the legislature – creating gun control is not a mandate. And in this case there is no factual basis for it. I made it very clear that I felt that it was almost bordering extortion, attempted influence of public official; but more so that we would be sacrificing our morals and principles and what we know is the right thing to do. I think that’s the type antics that we are seeing out of the leadership up there and it starts right at the top with the president of the Senate and the chairmen of those committees and the same tactics they used that prevented sheriffs from having the opportunity to testify on factual-bases toward these bills as well as blockading the hundreds and hundreds of citizens who made the trek who have never testified and have prevented them from testifyingcorruption, democrats, gun control, jeff crank, kvor, terry maketa