DA investigating former officer, ACET member

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The 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is investigating a former Craig Police Dep­artment officer and All Crimes Enforcement Team task force member for an incident regarding $500 in lost ACET funds.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said officer Bob Brabo resigned Nov. 5 after an internal investigation revealed he violated internal department policies.

The Police Department first received a report Oct. 27 that Brabo lost $500 in drug buy money and started its investigation immediately, which Vanatta said is normal for any report of lost property.

Since then, Brabo has repaid the lost funds in full, and there is no unaccounted for ACET property, the chief added.

“There was an allegation made that he violated department policies, and we investigated those and found the allegations sustained, and he resigned in lieu of termination,” Vanatta said.

The chief added that he could not disclose the specifics of the investigation because it is a personnel matter, but said the department has a policy similar to a state statute that prevents someone from using public property for personal use.

Whether the property is used knowingly or by accident is immaterial to the state law and the Police Department’s policy, Vanatta said.

The internal investigation did not find conclusive evidence of any criminal actions, he added, but the case was referred to the District Attorney’s Office to proceed with a criminal investigation and charges, if appropriate.

District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham said her office has notified area attorneys that Brabo resigned after a police investigation.

If necessary, she said she will disclose all information about Brabo to past and current defendants, like her office did following its investigation of former Craig Police Detective Ken Johnson.

Johnson, who also was an ACET task force member, was arrested and charged with attempting to influence a public servant, a Class 4 felony; and accessory to crime and embezzlement of public property, both Class 5 felonies.

He is scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. today in Moffat County District Court.

All of Johnson’s charges stem from alleged misconduct during his time as a police officer and ACET member, and a reported sexual relationship he had with Craig resident Tausha Merwin.

Merwin previously was convicted of drug charges and was on probation for additional drug charges during her reported relationship with Johnson.

Brabo was selected in March to replace Johnson on the ACET task force, however the investigations involving the two men are completely separate, Vanatta said.

Brabo’s actions and the ongoing investigation could impact one or two existing cases he was in charge of before his resignation, ACET Commander Garrett Wiggins said.

However, those cases are continuing without Brabo’s involvement, he added.

Despite two of his officers resigning amid recent internal and criminal investigations, Wiggins said he does not believe ACET has been compromised or that the supervision of its officers should be in question.

“We’ve had some problem employees,” he said. “I think anybody who knows all of the specifics about these individuals and their credibility and what happened with these certain individuals knows it’s not really ACET’s fault. ACET gets these employees from certain departments. I don’t really have any say-so in who I get.”

Wiggins added that he is looking forward to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation inquiry of ACET’s policies and procedures scheduled to begin Monday.

Local law enforcement requested the inquiry to help them strengthen the task force.

Everything always can be improved, Wiggins said, and ACET and the community can only benefit from the CBI’s involvement.

Vanatta said the task force is vital to Northwest Colorado and curtailing the local drug trade.

“It provides a resource that individually each individual agency could not provide,” he said. “Does it need some tweaking, and do we need to maybe reevaluate how we’re doing it? Absolutely.”

Comments

sparky 5 years, 1 month ago

Well well welll imagine that...yet another crooked craig police officer!!!

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sledhead004 5 years, 1 month ago

I think theres a few more that should be investigated too. Anyone else see homeless in Craig, um no, wonder where that money is being spent.

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norights 5 years, 1 month ago

I think that the craig pd should be ran out of town is there no end to the corruption?

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gilbertjaramillo 5 years, 1 month ago

Like I said in yesterday's comments, what about Dusty Schulze? I guess these guys think they are the Three Musketeers! There is alot more wrongdoing in the CPD that has been covered up. Time for a good housecleaning. Starting at the top, with the man running the show.

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aPerspective 5 years, 1 month ago

I think a little light from the National Perspective would sure help get things going, theres all kinds of investigative journalism shows that would eat their lunch.... ......Maybe the Daily Press could send out a little "Extra! Extra!" down the AP News Line......

The Craig PD and Sheriffs Office have both had their fair share of blunders over the last 30years....

Some Personal Favorites.....

The HUGE Sexual Harrassment Scandal under Sheriff Corriveau

Deputy Cortland Folkes and his illegal search and seizure of some 30 or so POUNDS of Marijuana....

The "missing marijuana incident" from the evidence room.....hum where'd that go....

And now this.....!!!!

They must use the "Pin-The-Tail on the Donkey Method" for hiring law enforcement in Northwestern Colorado.....

I think what we need is good Ole' Barney and Andy at the reigns....couldn't be much more of a joke than it is now.

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daybyday 5 years, 1 month ago

The truth is that the world is becoming more corrupt, and even though it would be nice, law enforcement is not immune. I can attest to honest men and women at our PD. It takes the best at the top to put integrity above everything, including the brotherhood that is reasonalbly and understandably formed by those in law enforcement.

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eieiolrighty 5 years, 1 month ago

Obviously you aren't around youth much are you sledhead004. Have you ever been in the park in the summer and looked under the bridges, have you ever been to Woodbury or Loudy Simpson and looked in the culverts, have you ever drove by a church here in the summer and seen a man laying on the grass or table? Do you know where the money is going or are you just commenting on something you know nothing about?

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sledhead004 5 years, 1 month ago

eieiolrighty, I'm just saying I would like to see public record and what the money is being used, not only in this situation but others as well.

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5thgencraig 5 years, 1 month ago

daybyday - you are correct that the world is becoming more corrupt - and there are decent law abiding citizens AND law enforcement officers out there that really are trying to do their part to get a handle on the situation. I sure wish more people have these same views as you and I!!! aPerspective - I'd like to know from you why dredging up the past continually makes any difference in PRESENT DAY problems. All of the above people you mentioned have paid for their wrong doings - in many more ways than you will ever imagine! You should take a step back and realize and remember that people are human. Rather than letting the past stay the past - you and many others bring these things up but forget to realize that the hurt of the families involved with these people comes right back up to center stage. These families live with the shame, the hurt, the pain of these past events every day - its something that they can't get ahead of in our small town. Please take this into account the next time you or anybody else would like to brinig it up again - and yes, I'm one of those family members that gets hurt all over again every single time the past comes back to the present.

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oldsage 5 years, 1 month ago

These things form the past should be brought up often and at every opportunity because that is what keeps those in command and control now, (Leos and elected officials) from committing similar crimes and infractions. Horse thieves were hung not so much for the horse they stole but so other horses would not be stolen! They knew they were doing wrong when they did the dirty deed and did not care one bit about their reputation or how their actions would impact friends and family members! Stop the "it's so sad they paid in so many ways, stop mentioning it because it hurts them crap" because they knew exactly what they were doing and what the consequences of their actions would be if the truth came to light!

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sledhead004 5 years, 1 month ago

Very well said oldsage. There is alot of things that happen in our community that get covered up. Law enforcement and all those involved with the sheriffs department, city officials, county officials etc. are human and know exactly what they are doing and should have to pay the price just as anyone else would if they commit a crime. There also is some very good people in these positions though too. This may be part of the reason for some of these cover ups that happen or could have possibly already happened.

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daybyday 5 years, 1 month ago

5thgen, yes, we could post a long list of all the good things that LE has done for this community, but it would be impossibly lengthy. The truth is that none of us are righteous, not one. There's knowledge to be gained in each misstep or mistake, and some are huge and lifechanging, while others seem barely notable. It's possible that, by being hurt, you have learned the value of forgiveness in a way you could not have known before. Think of it as a gift. The value in the gift of your new depth of understanding is that it can live on and be useful to others. It can't be taken away from you by anyone posting here or anyone else in this town or any other.

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eieiolrighty 5 years, 1 month ago

I believe that organizations should publish how they spend their money too. I guess we would have to go their board meetings to find out. Unfortunately money seems to be getting stolen more and more around here. They should never leave one person in control of soo much money....

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