Deputy's actions defended in suspicious vehicle case
Pueblo County Sheriff's Office comments on January incident involving commissioner
Pueblo County Commissioner Buffie McFadyen kept a low profile Wednesday, the day after releasing video of an incident in which she was involved, but the Sheriff's Office defended the deputy who responded to the scene.
McFadyen released the video and deputy's report Tuesday, after KRDO NewsChannel 13 and the Pueblo Chieftain had investigated the incident for several months. Authorities had said the incident wasn't public record because no official action was taken.
The incident raised concern that McFadyen and the man with her at the time, Pueblo County Democratic Chairman Ron Greenwell, received special treatment. The report stated that the deputy didn't cite them for DUI because the cars weren't running and the keys weren't in the ignition.
In the report, the deputy determined they were drunk and was concerned they might try to drive. When he asked them to get a ride home, McFadyen's husband arrived. The two were parked beside each other in a lot near the intersection of U.S. 50 and Swallows Road, but were sitting together in McFadyen's car when the deputy responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle.
The Sheriff's Office released the following statement:
"In response to inquiries made concerning the actions of one of our deputies we offer the following. Law enforcement is not an assembly line of responses. It is most often an inquiry or response when life or property is in danger. Responding to a suspicious vehicle is a preliminary investigation and deputies are trained to make a corresponding judgment call based on the totality of the circumstances presented. A deputy may choose to take no action when the facts presented indicate there are no laws violated, there are no victims, no complainant and no eye witness account. It is a decision that falls within the deputy’s discretion and in this case was not second guessed. In this 9 month old contact, it was actually three deputies who concluded the circumstances justified the response. The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office supports their decision."
In a statement released with the video and report on Tuesday, McFadyen said her desire to dispel "Certain untrue allegations... in the best interests of my children, the county and the citizens of this county" led her to publicly acknowledge the incident.
McFadyen and Greenwell declined further comment Wednesday. Commissioner Sal Pace was out of town and said he didn't want to discuss the matter. Commissioner Terry Hart was unavailable for comment.
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