Friday, August 23, 2019

Gallowich hires former deputy to be undersheriff

Jackson appointed; Mykol displaced

by Mark Reaman

In what might be considered a somewhat controversial appointment, new Gunnison County sheriff John Gallowich has appointed former Gunnison County deputy patrol lieutenant Scott Jackson as his undersheriff. The appointment was made official on Monday, January 14 and left previous undersheriff and Gallowich’s opponent in the 2018 sheriff’s race, Mark Mykol, out of the number two job. He is currently in a bit of limbo with the department.

Jackson, a 35-year veteran of the county sheriff’s department, ran against his boss Rick Besecker in 2014 for the top law enforcement position. He narrowly lost the race and four months later he was fired from his job as a lieutenant. He sued the sheriff’s office and Gunnison County and eventually settled the suit after being given $415,000. The payment was split between the county and the county’s insurance provider.

When asked if he considered that history in deciding to hire Jackson, Gallowich said he had not. “What came into play was picking the best person to accomplish the goals I had laid out during the campaign,” he replied. “I didn’t weigh what many would consider the substantial payout he received from the county and the circumstances around it. I didn’t really know all the details of the situation. My choice was based on his abilities.”

Gallowich said Jackson had most recently been a reserve officer with the Saguache County sheriff’s department so he had kept his law enforcement certifications up to date. Gallowich said Jackson had a current state standard “POST” (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certification. “He has kept up on the classes and training,” Gallowich explained. “He was good to go with the training. He can hit the ground running.”

Gallowich said the circumstance with Mykol is different from the situation between Besecker and Jackson. “The state statute says the sheriff can appoint his undersheriff and there is only one undersheriff,” explained Gallowich. “I appointed Scott to be in that position, and not Mark. Mark is not with us right now but there is still some uncertainty about where we are with the future. The bottom line is that my goal is to surround myself with people who can achieve the goals of changing the direction of the sheriff’s office that I spoke about during the campaign.”

Mykol was contacted but had no comment on the situation.

County manager Matthew Birnie and county commissioner board chairman Jonathan Houck also had no comment on the change.

Jackson said he was excited to start the new position. “I’m looking forward to working with John,” he said. “He is a great guy and I think he will do wonders for the department.”

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