Sheriff responds to his challenger’s allegations | AspenTimes.com

Sheriff responds to his challenger’s allegations

Joel Stonington

Paul Conrad Photo

Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis responded Tuesday to attacks from candidate Rick Magnuson with statistics from the past five years. Braudis stood up for his commitment to education, upholding drug laws and making DUI arrests. While some of Magnuson’s allegations have turned out to be true, others are factually incorrect. Even so, much of the back-and-forth covers a gray area of different approaches to policing, such as Braudis’ unwillingness to do undercover work and Magnuson’s vow to do so if elected.

On Monday, Magnuson questioned Braudis’ record on education by claiming the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t sponsor any programs in the schools. Braudis said his office boasts the only full-time juvenile officer in the county and that he sponsored Drug Abuse Resistance Education officers in the schools for 16 years, until the school district chose to cut the program. “Whether it did or didn’t [make a difference in drug use rates], it allowed deputies to brush up against kids,” Braudis said of the DARE program. “It was good.”Braudis also said, in response to Magnuson’s mention of the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, that his officers have trained for a response to a violent occurrence in Pitkin County’s schools. Magnuson also questioned if Braudis is being hard enough on drunken drivers by looking at the dropping number of car stops in the past few years.

“Car stops fluctuate year to year,” Braudis said, adding that his office has made 1,004 DUI arrests since 2000. “All our car stops are based on probable cause. None of my deputies have quotas.”Magnuson also questioned Braudis’ dedication to catching drug dealers by saying he couldn’t find a drug dealer who was arrested by Braudis’ office in the records.”We have had 113 drug cases we’ve investigated [since 2000],” Braudis responded. “We have [arrested dealers]; one was a juvenile. We assisted in a DEA arrest last night.”Drugs have been a particular point of contention in a race that burst into the public spotlight when Magnuson tracked Braudis to a drug and alcohol treatment center in Sedona, Ariz. Magnuson left a message asking Braudis to call Rick Carroll of the Aspen Daily News about a legal matter.

In his latest press release, Magnuson claimed dozens of people have overdosed or become addicted during Braudis’ tenure, though he didn’t quote statistics or cite where he got that information.”That’s from my experience in law enforcement,” Magnuson said. “I’ve been to over a dozen detox and overdose situations. It comes from anecdotal evidence. It’s hard to find specific numbers, but if you’re willing to look you’ll find it.”Braudis said he is not being passive on the drug issue and that out of the 47 deaths in Pitkin County in the past five years, only seven were drug-related. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com

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