Former GMF Marshal Speaks Out

 

IMG_0049

By Timothy S. Bradley

Since my departure on the afternoon of Nov. 8 as the Police Chief of Green Mountain Falls, I have been inundated with phone calls, emails and text messages regarding my name being brought up in public meetings, social media and newspapers.

I feel the need to respond to obviously politically motivated editorials recently published in another local newspaper. I have received overwhelming support from surrounding law enforcement personnel, residents of Green Mountain Falls, and people in the community where I reside.  

First of all I would like to address the letter I provided to Mayor Lorrie Worthey. I provided her with the letter because I had promised her that I would stay as long as I could and felt she needed valid reasons for my leaving; she deserved that. Mayor Worthey did not solicit this information from me in any way and the backlash that followed with her posting of this letter, implying that she had written my letter, is absurd!  It does not have my signature on it because I sent it to her electronically after it had been updated, prior to November 8.

 Second, I would like to address my departure on November 8. I was contacted by the GMF town attorney and she requested I meet with her, Mac Pitrone and Howard Price at her office in Colorado Springs. At this meeting I was advised that Pitrone and Price had an offer for me. The offer was for me to take $10,000 and leave any time prior to Jan. 1, 2014, but sooner would be better than later and I would receive a nice reference from the town board because I would not have a job after Jan. 1, 2014.  Their plans were to develop a non-law enforcement code enforcement department instead of a Police Department for 2014. 

 I was asked to keep quiet until they could inform the rest of the board about the offer. I recorded this meeting as I had many previous meetings with Price and other board members, due to the inaccurate statements these board members had made regarding conversations between them and me during closed door meetings in my office.

These situations also put me in the position of feeling the need to store documentation off site because our office had been illegally entered with a key in September 2013 in our absence, while Sgt. Barnes and I were on a call and I did not feel our office was secure in our absence even though I had changed the locks immediately.

I also felt that at some point in the future, I might need supporting documentation regarding my actions during my employment in GMF.  

In the early morning hours of Nov. 2, Sgt Barnes was viciously attacked while working a late shift in GMF in a marked patrol car and in full uniform. I asked the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to assign a case number to the incident within minutes of arriving on scene to ensure an objective investigation.

As I arrived for a board meeting on Nov. 5, Mr. Price approached me in the parking lot and stated that if I didn’t agree to the offer he would rescind the offer and I would leave without any severance money.

The board met and raised my severance to $ 12,000 due to the inevitable change on the horizon that was being pushed by a majority of the board, namely to shut down the GMF police department.

I was again informed by a few board members that they wished me to stay as long as I could. I met with Mr. Price on the morning of November 7 at his residence and he asked me to stay until November 14 so he could secure an agreement with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to provide law enforcement services for GMF. I advised Mr. Price that I would consider staying until then.

Later that day I was made aware of a letter Mr. Pitrone had sent to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday Nov. 6 requesting they take over law enforcement on the evening of November 8 and that the office would be closed on that date. I had no idea this had been done and apparently Mr. Price did not either?  With this information I made arrangements to leave onNov. 8.

Sgt. Barnes and I were sick due to the mold and sewage in our office that we had been exposed to for many months and we both had active workman’s comp claims at that time. It took 6 weeks after my departure to realize how sick I had been and to start feeling normal again. To the best of my knowledge, Sgt. Barnes’s claim is still active. I did not want to leave the community without the law enforcement coverage they were used to but I felt due to the circumstances outlined above, I had to leave at that time.

In a recent article, Mr. Pitrone made several disturbing statements. A few that stuck out to me, were the insinuation that I was staging calls to avoid staying at board meetings. I will say that I lost the desire to attend the meetings in the last year based on the behavior of Mr. Pitrone and a few other trustees. These meetings were often out of control and had a very hostile atmosphere. However, I have never staged a crisis, a call or any other dramatization to make a quick exit. I had at times put off important personnel needs to attend board meetings and left after my report was completed.

Mr. Pitrone also stated I would not give details and insinuated I was making up statistics. Regarding the information he referred to, I would not divulge details of crimes, victim information or addresses for two reasons. First to protect the integrity of any case that was under a current investigation and second to not release any information that failed to protect the privacy of the victims and their families in a small community, where everybody knows everybody.  

During my two and a half years in GMF, we investigated and arrested two separate sexual predators for crimes against children. The first opened several counts of crimes against children and multiple victims as well as other adult involvement in criminal activity. We worked with the Sheriff’s Office and together were able to obtain convictions on all suspects.

I am sure the parents of these children would not want these incidents or their addresses made public. Mr. Price, Mr. Pitrone and two other board members constantly dwelled on these reporting issues at board meetings.

I have submitted reports like these to other boards in years past without issue. I repeated my position several times at board meetings and it seemed to make sense when I explained my reasons but the issue kept coming up, and at times it seemed to fall on deaf ears just like my quarterly and annual summary of criminal activity statistics.

Criminal activity statistics were kept so I could gauge how effective or ineffective our efforts were. Our daily log sheets were used to compile the statistics and the numbers were falling significantly.

On Oct. 5, 2013 these statistics showed that the amount of adult case numbers fell by 75% compared to the 6 years prior to my arrival and had steadily declined since my arrival in 2011. Juvenile case numbers fell to 0 since the closing of the Children’s Ark’s in 2012.  The need to issue citations as well as calls for our service also declined in 2013.

I still do not understand why this was viewed as bad news and ignored by the majority of the board members. The numbers simply do not lie and there is no magic involved here. It is simple, old fashioned law enforcement tactics like treating citizens with respect, initiating and maintaining high visibility and utilizing a community policing effort based on working to build the trust of the town’s residents.

 Mr. McArthur was also quoted as of this writing that the department was losing money and was not a good investment from a business perspective. I have never been informed that a law enforcement department was designed to make money. If I am not mistaken, a law enforcement agency is funded to provide public safety, not a profit.

I feel good about the service we provided for only having 25% of the budget to fund the department during my employment. I put everything I had to make it work. This included the use of my personal vehicle at times, my personally owned ammunition at times so we had enough for qualifications, gas money out of my own pocket, office supplies out of my own pocket. I waived my retirement fund contribution in 2013 so we could use it in our budget. We operated on donations from generous residents to afford basic operating items like fuel. I am unsure how we were reckless or frivolous with our budget if that is the allegation.

Lastly, I would like to address some other references that imply that I am dishonest. Mr. Price, Mr.Pitrone and Mr. Newberry (Jane Newberry’s husband, whom I don’t think I have ever met) have stated that I am a liar, a disgruntled former employee and have had issues with honesty in court. This is news to me. I do not remember ever being written up or fired for lying. I’ve never had a prosecutor fail to move forward on charges I have filed due to integrity issues or for an integrity issue in any judicial district that I have worked in. Nor do I remember any lost cases because they were weak or incomplete. In fact I have spent very little time in court because I have always prided myself on being thorough and bringing provable facts into a case. This practice has yielded plea deals and the majority of my cases have not had to go to trial. If you gentlemen have any information to the contrary, please let me know. I would like to know about it also.   

I left the employment of Green Mountain Falls 105 days ago, I would prefer to live my life and be left alone. I enjoy coming into GMF to eat breakfast and meet with friends I have made during my time there. I left GMF with many friends in the community and strong ties with neighboring law enforcement. I also left proud of the service we provided to the community and with my best wishes for the town. My wish is to stay in the area and move into another local law enforcement job. This character assassination that is repeatedly occurring makes that difficult.

Please stay with the facts when you talk about me and my employment record. You gentlemen have repeatedly strayed far from the truth and I would greatly appreciate you not attempting to discredit me with false accusations. This is also an attempt to discredit future GMF candidates due to their past association and solid working relationships with me during my employment in GMF.

I will always side with those who display honesty, integrity and as elected officials, consistently work in the best interests of the people they were elected to serve without pursuing hidden agendas or seeking personal gain, even if it costs me my job.

 Timothy S. Bradley

Woodland Park