DA situation is worse than reported | AspenTimes.com

DA situation is worse than reported

Dear Editor:While employed in law enforcement for 10 years in Aspen, I gained more than a passing familiarity with the inner workings of the district attorney’s office. I also learned to be extremely skeptical of anything I read in the local papers. Though I’ve been out of police work for a couple of years, I still have a number of friends working in law enforcement, up and down the valley. When I ask them if things at the DA’s office are really as bad as the press indicates, the consistent answer is no, things are actually worse than what the newspapers report.Supporters of the current DA dismiss negative reports as the ranting of “upvalley soft-on-crime liberals.” Are they referring to Jeff Cheney, a registered Republican, who served our country with distinction in Iraq? Or Tony Hershey, who has clearly expressed strong leanings to the political right? Or Gail Nichols, also a Republican, who was a very hardworking, honest, and conscientious prosecuting attorney? Clearly, the concerns with this office cross political boundaries. Police officers who were barely on speaking terms with the former district attorney’s office tell me they now sincerely wish Lawson Wills had been elected. A recent letter to the editor suggested the press interview police departments regarding the performance of the DA. It is important to note that police officers would likely be reluctant to speak to the press regarding this matter, to avoid further damaging the already difficult working relationship between agencies and the district attorney’s office. Yes, there are police officers and police administrators who support the current DA, but it seems to me that they are in the minority.The last district attorney’s office was not perfect. However, not once did I see dishonesty practiced or tolerated, in court or even in simple situations, such as answering a question as to whether or not someone was an employee, or if someone was escorted out the door. To my knowledge, there were no six-figure budget shortfalls several months from the end of the year. Employee turnover, while present, was never at the levels seen today. The current office is woefully deficient in experienced prosecutors. Why does any of this matter to you, the citizens of the 9th Judicial District? At some point in your life you will likely have contact with the DA’s office, perhaps as the victim of an offense, or being charged with an offense. The DA’s office handles everything from traffic tickets to murder cases. You deserve a district attorney who will handle your case in an honest, trustworthy, efficient manner. The citizens of this district do not currently have this type of service. The people are not being adequately represented. The district attorney’s job is to seek justice, not generate numbers. Please sign the recall petition. Brian HeeneyRedstone

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