Elbert County Colorado Sheriff Heap Interview

Elbert County Colorado Sheriff Shane Heap

 

Meeting with Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap (Aug. 7, 2013)

I had a pleasant meeting today with Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap in his office at the Elbert
County Justice Center.  Sheriff Heap shared 2 ½ hours today with me and we talked about a

number of issues that gave me a much better understanding of Sheriff Heap’s philosophy of

‘law enforcement’ and on being a ‘peace officer’ in Elbert County.

I asked the sheriff a number of questions and he answered them in a straight forward manner.  I got

the impression that Sheriff Heap is an honest, hard working, down to earth kind of guy that is truly

 interested in serving county residents to the best of his ability.  The  sheriff is a very likeable gentleman who prefers interacting with the  community as the most enjoyable part of his job.  He states that he puts  in between 60-80 hours per week but he does insist on Sundays off!   That’s hard working.

I started by pointing out that the sheriff’s web site states “I am a law enforcement officer, first and foremost.”  On the ‘Detentions’ web page it says: “The Deputy Sheriffs (level one peace officers) that operate the facility (jail)…”
I  asked Sheriff Heap what the difference is between a ‘peace officer’ and  a ‘law enforcement officer’ and he said that there really was none.  I  commented that the difference might be in the way one looks at his or  her job.  The personal perception of being a ‘peace keeping’ officer  versus a ‘law enforcing’ officer may be important in the way one   approaches the job or it may just be semantics.  Sheriff Heap considers  them the same.

I complimented the sheriff on his strong support of our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms  via his efficient handling of concealed carry permits in Elbert County  of which I am one. Heap also feels perfectly comfortable with
citizens  open carrying fire arms.   I then asked him if he strongly supported  the 4th Amendment and Shayne said he supports all in the bill of  Rights.  When asked if random DUI checkpoints violated the 4th Amendment  Heap said that “they could … alternative routes so that citizens can  simply avoid the checkpoint … I prefer saturation patrols and reports  from citizens” and that there have been no DUI checkpoints since he has  been sheriff of Elbert County.  That was good to hear as I agree with  him.

Sheriff Heap says that SWAT has been called  out about 5 times since he has been sheriff and used only in absolutely  necessary cases. There are 32 deputy sheriffs under Heap and on the SWAT  team there are 12 on the team, 10 are deputies, 2 are medics with local  fire departments.  They have “an armored HUMVEE- it’s an armored four  wheel drive, it doesn’t have any weapons, just the truck.”  Less than  half of the deputies live inside Elbert.  Most if not all of the  deputies work in Elbert because they enjoy the work environment and  aren’t in it for the pay according to Heap.

As far as the use  of drones, Heap had this to say: “There are some great uses for them in  law enforcement, especially when it comes to missing people and  wildfires, however I can also see the concern due to privacy issues.”
It is a fact that there was no SWAT team in Elbert County prior to 2001.  Now we have a 12 member SWAT team
with  a military armored vehicle for their use along with the team wearing  body armor and carrying automatic assault weapons.  The potential for  misuse of this capability is real and we all need to be vigilant to  ensure that this doesn’t happen here as it has in so many other places  in our country and state.  When asked if he would mind residents in  Elbert County having an armored Humvee he said no, “They could have a  canon or tank in their front yard and I wouldn’t mind at all.”

Heap  admits that recent DHS large ammo, assault weapons, armored assault  vehicles and no hesitation target purchases give him reason to question  federal motivations and potential threats to freedom.  The sheriff  states that when federal agencies come to Elbert with warrants, etc.  that he makes sure that they don’t escape his purview or try to  circumvent his authority possibly allowing the potential for another  Ruby Ridge or Waco type situation to develop.  He is also not concerned  about Secret Service being given ‘police powers’ within the State of  Colorado, nor is he worried that they will abuse their new power.  I  personally am opposed to any new powers being ‘given’ to government at  any level.  Sheriff Heap doesn’t favor entrapment as a technique for  catching criminals.

When asked about a recent 60  Minutes program which reported on Massachusetts State Police using  military tested ‘counter-insurgency’ techniques to combat gang and drug  violence in that state he found that simply “interesting” stating “I  didn’t see it and really have no way to comment on something I haven’t  seen.”

When asked about the likelihood of school shootings or terrorist attacks the sheriff stands behind his statements on his “Protect Our Kids” video  reiterating that he wants to expand the departments presence into the  unincorporated schools in Elbert “no matter what the financial cost, our  kids are worth it, we should not rest until we know our kids are  safe.”  I asked if he thought his position on this was possibly an  attempt to capitalize on the Sandy Hook School shootings and he said it  was not. Despite the fact that there is only a 1 in 15 million  chance of children being killed by shooting in public schools the  sheriff wants to expand police protection in our unincorporated schools,  which he has been doing since he was appointed the undersheriff in  2007..  You have a 1 in 20 million chance of dying from terrorism as an American anywhere in the world.  You are 8 times more likely of being killed by a cop than a terrorist!  Another comprehensive report portrays this whole concern as really a form of propaganda driving an agenda aimed at disarming Americans.

The  sheriff’s department collects $200,000 annually from traffic fines  according to Heap.  This number is down 70% from the average amount  collected by Heap’s predecessor Frangis.  Heap states “it is not law  enforcements purpose to be a revenue producing entity.”

Sheriff  Heap pointed out his budget saving tactics has reduced the sheriff’s  office costs dramatically while still maintaining adequate service  levels.  Heap has implemented things like new cost-effective- casual  uniforms, gardening for inmates and streamlining of jail costs that have  reduced inmate meal costs down to $1.50 per meal!

The sheriff  doesn’t feel that his department has been excessively militarized by  our federal government over the years nor does he see evidence of a  police state developing in Elbert County. “I don’t feel that my office  (I don’t work for commissioners, I work for the citizens) has been  militarized at all.” Heap foresees that if there are additional  budgetary constraints, his deputies will only be making rapid responses  to three things:  a crime in progress; threat to life; threat to  property “due to the reduction of manpower.”

Sheriff  Heap feels that the assault on our God-given rights and Constitution at  the Federal and State levels has accelerated recently and that the  danger to liberty is increasing.  Heap is a Christian and says “it is  very important to me.”

The following questions were answered via email by Sheriff Heap:

Do you support the presence of TSA or military troops at public events or private businesses like Wal-Mart such as have been documented in other parts of the US?  “We did talk about that, I haven’t heard or read about it – I will look  into it when I have time and therefore be able to intelligently respond  to the question.”

What was the outcome when SWAT  was used?  Were there injuries or deaths?  I know you mentioned the  unfortunate death of one deputy in a trailer and the suspect then killed  himself. “That would require an open records request, we could pull all  the files and after action reports, but yes you are correct we did have  a brother killed at the hands of a sex offender.”

How  many concealed carry permits are there in Elbert?  How many households  do you estimate are gun owners?  Has there been any change in crime  rates attributable to increased carry permitting? “Following is CCW  numbers, I don’t have a tally on this year yet – I would guess most  households have a gun. Yes, nationwide there are stats that show a  reduction in crime where the citizens are able to protect themselves and  their property, just as in places like Chicago the opposite is true.”

2012 392

2011 approx 268

2010 approx 276

2009 approx 330

2008 approx 322, all will be expiring throughout this year.

“Total of 1,588 issued CHP's"

Has  SWAT ever went to the wrong house or the assumed perpetrator of a crime  which resulted in a SWAT invasion involving one later found was  innocent? “In Elbert County, NO”

What if the resident  of a home invasion by SWAT thought the SWAT team was a criminal home  invasion and decided to defend himself or herself? “That would be a  terrible incident – I can’t imagine it happening, there are too many  checks and balances in place here in Elbert County.”

There  seems to be a high reliance on federal depts. such as VIPS (federal),  CERT (FEMA), DHS, etc. on the sheriff’s web site.  Does that indicate a  strong reliance on the feds? “Not at all – the VIPS is a program the  Posse, citizens, wanted to implement and they run the program with no  federal oversight or funding. FEMA provides very beneficial classes in  incident management.”

Do you consider Code Red to be a government program? “No.”

Do deputies eat free at Jail cafeteria? “If it’s 2am in the morning and they have no other options, absolutely.”

How  would you keep violations of the 4th Amendment from happening here like  what happened recently in the Boston Marathon aftermath when police  along with federal assets entered numerous homes and evicted the  residents?

“Training, good leadership and good selection of  deputies willing to put their lives on the line for people they have   never met for a wage that borders on the edge of insulting.”  My comment  on this is that is probably what the police/feds in Boston said while  they were invading people’s homes and violating their rights!  Heap does  not state that his office wouldn’t do the same thing.  I agree that the  deputies are underpaid.

If the government outlawed private  ownership of guns tomorrow, how would you respond? “It’s a violation of  the very document and belief our country was founded on.”

How  do you feel about the NSA, PRISM and DEA spying on us? “I spend enough  time fighting local and national government in a public forum, they  don’t have to look very hard for me.”  Heap’s comment seems to sidestep  the point!  He doesn’t answer the question of a violation of privacy  under the 4th Amendment which is clearly happening.  I understand that  he is putting in a great deal of time already and doesn’t have time.

Do you feel that the DHS ‘Sexy Spy Ad’ is an encouragement for a STASI (East German) style system? “Have not seen it, don’t have an answer to that one.”

Do  you know that the DEA can forward information to local ‘authorities’  which can then be used to ‘build’ a case against someone so as to  reverse engineer a crime and that info could be false and untraceable?   “Not sure I follow.”

How do you feel about being  filmed while on duty?  Do you think that citizens have a right to film  ‘law enforcement’ on the job?  When would you demand that citizens not  film deputies if ever? “In Colorado it’s legal and just fine – I do know  that there are other states that have laws against filming, audio and  video at the same time, without their consent. I have no problem with  citizens filming deputies as long as they are not impeding the deputy in  their duties.”  My comment is I urge citizens to film all contacts with  ‘law enforcement’ to protect your rights.

Do you  feel that we are living in a police state generally speaking in the US?   Why or why not? “I feel like evil triumphs when good men do nothing –  so every day I try to be a better father and a better husband, because I  know that if I can do that it will have a positive impact on my  neighborhood and my neighborhood will have a positive impact on our town  and the town will have a positive impact on our county and on our state  and on our country. I refuse to simply accept something like that.  I  have shed too much blood, sweat and tears for this community to roll  over and play dead.”

Do you think the NDAA and  Patriot Act threaten the freedoms and rights of Americans? “Not as long  as there are free men.”  I strongly disagree with Sheriff Heap on this  one.  These acts were major foundational advances for the police state  which is rapidly expanding in our country and I am sorry he doesn’t see  them as such!

After being involved in ‘law enforcement’ in Elbert County for 12 years he intends to run again for sheriff next election cycle.

My  conclusion is that I like our sheriff and admire his enthusiasm and  dedication.  The office of Sheriff is the most important one in the  county and the sheriff is the most powerful man as his office is pretty  much autonomous. Therefore, it is very important to know and understand  where your local sheriff stands on a wide range of issues.  I like his  strong support of concealed carry permitting.  I don’t agree with him on  some issues as noted.  I think we are already living in a police state  and that it is getting more and more oppressive.  I feel our rights are  being infringed especially in the area of the 4th Amendment.  I would  hope that the sheriff and his deputies would view themselves as ‘peace  officers’ and not ‘law enforcement’ officers.  All in all, our sheriff  has a lot of good qualities.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlwgZzeq8oI


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Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.

Display real testimonials

Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.

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Running a holiday sale or weekly special? Definitely promote it here to get customers excited about getting a sweet deal.

Share the big news

Have you opened a new location, redesigned your shop, or added a new product or service? Don't keep it to yourself, let folks know.

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Customers have questions, you have answers. Display the most frequently asked questions, so everybody benefits.