Guest commentary: DiSalvo counters claims by opponent in race for Pitkin County sheriff | AspenTimes.com

Guest commentary: DiSalvo counters claims by opponent in race for Pitkin County sheriff

Joe DiSalvo
Guest commentary

The recent Aspen Times Q&A "DiSalvo, Chi outline platforms for Pitkin County sheriff" contained inaccuracies. I'd like to address a few things that are simply untrue and give the public correct and factual information so that you can make an educated decision at the polls.

In response to the statement regarding the new County Administration and Sheriff's Office my opponent asserts: "I think my desire to be sheriff started when Sheriff DiSalso decided to separate the law enforcement office of the police and sheriffs." This decision was not mine. The decision was made by the Board of County Commissioners and Aspen City Council based on input from all participating and impacted departments. The BOCC decided that it was beneficial to have all county departments, along with the Office of the Sheriff under one roof in order to better serve the people of Pitkin County. The buildings were intentionally designed to have direct, interior access between both offices. Officers from the Aspen Police Department are encouraged to spend time in my offices, and my staff is encouraged to spend time in theirs. I have a close working relationship with Chief Richard Pryor and we meet regularly. The relationship between our two agencies has never been better, and I know Chief Pryor would agree.

It was written that my office employs only two females, a fact which is simply untrue. The allegation made took into account only one department within my office, when my office actually has six departments. My opponent's statements only further demonstrate his lack of knowledge of my office and inexperience. The duties of the Sheriff's Office extend beyond the uniformed personnel you see on the roads of Pitkin County to include many public safety functions, some of which are statutorily mandated. Of my 53 current employees, 19 are female comprising 35 percent of my total staff, which exceeds the national average of 26 percent reported by the FBI uniform crime report. Out of 17 leadership roles (corporal and higher), nine of those are filled by women, totaling 52 percent.

My opponent, who purports himself to be a champion on the war on drugs, has only one drug arrest since 2012. On the other hand, my approach has addressed the problem holistically, focusing on the medical and mental-health components of addiction. It has been my mission to support Mind Springs Health and the Aspen Hope Center in their endeavor to provide services to our community. Additionally, I have implemented progressive programs in my jail dedicated to mental health and substance abuse in a focused effort to reduce recidivism and support community wellness. These programs are uniquely offered to the inmates of Pitkin County and are not available in other jails.

Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the most concerning of the inaccuracies. I work for you; I take that responsibility seriously. My door is always open to meet in person, or feel free to call me at 970-920-5300.

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