Dispatch hits a snag

Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor


As the dispatch services saga in Weston County continues, Newcastle Mayor Pam Gualtieri told the Board of Weston County Commissioners on Oct. 5 that the city must file a report with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation regarding an incident in which deputies from the Weston County Sheriff’s Office took photos of dispatch equipment. 

“I was advised that the commissioners had asked the deputies to do an inventory and take pictures at the police department side (of the Weston County Law Enforcement Center). Because of how that was done, after reviewing videos … Tonia Mills (a dispatcher) does have to write a report and send it to DCI,” Gualtieri said. 

According to the mayor, the report is required because of protocol regarding the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) and the fact that some of the pictures taken may have been shared with individuals who do not have access to the program. She noted that the documentation is required in case of an audit.  Attempts to learn further details about the report were unsuccessful, and Gualtieri referred further questions to Newcastle Police Chief Sam Keller. 

“We have nothing to hide,” Gualtieri said. “At least, it (photos) could be done in the daytime so the chief and IT are there.” 

She said that the incident occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. one evening. 

Marty Ertman, chairman of the county commission, said she assumed that Weston County Sheriff Bryan Colvard would know that there was an appropriate way to approach the suggestion. 

“They were not asked by the commissioners. It was a suggestion made to the sheriff by me. … I cannot tell the sheriff what to do,” Ertman said. 

Commissioner Nathan Todd asked why the dispatcher did not tell the deputies that another time would be more appropriate. 

“Does the person working have the authority to say, “No, don’t come in here?” he asked. 

Keller said that the deputies often do business in the dispatch area at all times, so telling them they could not be there would not be appropriate. Gualtieri added that the dispatcher had turned off the specific NCIC computer but that the deputies turned the device back on. 

“We appreciate the heads up. We understand you have procedures you have to follow. It is a stand-up thing to say, “This is what we have to do so we are not blind sided,” Commissioner Tony Barton said. 

Gualtieri assured the board that they would receive a
copy of the report once it was completed. 

Ertman said later in the meeting that she takes
offense to the report on the incident because the photos were a suggestion made by her to the sheriff. 

“As anyone renting anything to anyone.  … If you have a rental that is furnished, you take an inventory of what is going on,” Ertman asserted, noting that with the city planning to move out of the facility, an inventory was necessary. 

County Attorney Michael Stulken added that it sounds like the situation is being overblown. 

“The sheriff wouldn’t release NCIC information,” he claimed. 

Barton once again reiterated that the city has procedures that must be followed, while Ertman insisted that Colvard must be consulted to hear his side of the story.

Attempts by the News Letter Journal to reach the sheriff for comment were not successful by press time. 


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