Sheriff tells his side of dispatch story

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

According to Weston County Sheriff Bryan Colvard, details regarding the city of Newcastle’s report to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation about an incident in which deputies from the sheriff’s department took photos of dispatch equipment were different from those detailed at the Board of Weston County Commissioners meeting on Oct. 5. 

As previously reported, Newcastle Mayor Pam Gualtieri approached the commissioners during their meeting, stating that the city was required to send a report to DCI because of protocols related to the National Crime Information Center. She said that the dispatcher on duty was told that the photos being taken were at the direction of the commissioners. 

Commission Chairman Marty Ertman insisted that the photographs were only a suggestion by her to Colvard during a private discussion at a Wyoming Association of County Officers meeting, which isn’t necessarily the whole story, according to Colvard. 

Colvard told the News Letter Journal that the situation began on Sept. 21, the
day before he spoke with Ertman. He said that he received a text from Weston County Clerk Becky Hadlock at 2:50 p.m., asking if he or Deputy Dan Fields could come speak with her. 

“I replied that I am in Gillette and that he (Fields) is either in Casper or on his way back,” Colvard said, noting that he later asked if he could help her over the phone. 

At 3:11 p.m. according to the text messages, Hadlock said, “We need an inventory of photos of the dispatch of equipment ASAP (as soon as possible). Chairman Ertman would like today’s time stamp if at all possible.” 

Colvard informed Hadlock that Fields could possibly complete the task when he returned to town.  

“Okay, Marty wanted this done as soon as possible,” Hadlock replied. 


Due to being out of town, Colvard said, he had little information on what led to the request. All he knew, he said, was that there was a commission meeting that morning and that it hadn’t gone very well. 

As previously reported, this was the meeting at which Gualtieri had informed the commission that the city would be relocating dispatch services to the city office, vacating the Weston County Law Enforcement Center. 

Following the texts, Colvard asked Fields to take the photos once he and Deputy Travis Garhart were available. He noted that one of the issues presented by the city was the time the photos were taken. He said that they were taken at night because of the available deputies at the time. 

Both Fields and Garhart worked together to photograph the radios and dispatch equipment. According to the report from his deputies, the dispatcher agreed to let them take the photos and made sure to protect any information that could not be photographed. 

“And they took pictures of the serial numbers; the dispatcher and an officer helped,” Colvard said, noting that the deputies did not photograph a locked server room that also contained dispatch equipment. 

The next day, during the Wyoming Association of County Officers’ meeting in Gillette, Colvard had the conversation with Ertman that she had referenced during the commissioner’s meeting on Oct. 5. 

During his Sept. 22 brief conversation with Ertman, Colvard said, it became apparent that the request for photos was “not for the right reasons.” Because of this feeling, the sheriff said he went no further with the request. 

“I didn’t take pictures of the server room. I was going to destroy the pictures and call it done until I found out about the article,” Colvard said. “I maintained those (the photos) to defend myself that they did not contain any sensitive information to begin with.” 

He noted that the photos had not been provided to anyone and were being held on a memory card for the time being. 

Colvard also expressed concerns with details outlined in the letter sent to DCI from the city (he had been provided with a copy). He noted that the letter stated that Fields was the one taking photos, when it was really Garhart, and that neither had turned on a monitor that had been turned off. 

“There is not one picture that has teletypes or the NCIC system on,” Colvard said. “The only monitors that were on were dispatch radios that had to be left on in case of a call.” 

Colvard did admit that he is not obligated to listen to the commissioners as an elected official but that he believed that their working relationship could be trusted and that the situation was something that needed to be dealt with immediately, per the text messages from Hadlock. 

“The part I will own is that I should have never listened to the commissioners. I don’t have to. And it’s not the commissioners. It was Marty (Ertman) alone,” Colvard said. “I thought we had that working relationship. I trusted that it was something that needed to be dealt with.” 

In spite of  this issue regarding dispatch and the photos, Colvard added that he sees progress being made regarding dispatch services. 

 

Category:

News Letter Journal

News Letter Journal
14 W. Main St.
P.O. Box 40
Newcastle, WY 82701
Ph: (307) 746-2777
Fax: (307) 746-2660

Email Us

Facebook

Please Login for Premium Content