Critics want Colorado sheriff recalled

(LEADVILLE, Colo.) -- Critics of Lake County Sheriff George Sheers, a veteran lawman, are circulating petitions to have him recalled from office halfway through his four-year term.

No other county sheriff has ever been recalled, county officials said.

The recall petition, filed Nov. 6 with the county clerk, needs to have 574 valid signatures by Jan. 5, then the signatures must be certified. Although one petitioner had predicted that the group would have enough signatures by mid-November, no petitions had been received by Wednesday, according to the clerk's office.

The recall petition lists only these general reasons for recalling Sheers: 'Failure to do the job he was elected to do. Not being a working sheriff as stated in (the) campaign, mishandling of numerous situations related to his job.'

Sheers, 46, who has a quarter-century of law enforcement experience with the Leadville Police Department and the metro area departments of Greenwood Village and Arvada, dismissed the petition as without merit.

Sheers has been criticized by some for being too forceful in law enforcement; others say he is lax.

The sheriff blamed the recall effort on personal factors - differences of style and personality with a few vocal opponents.

He said he's proud of the fact he's cleaned up the county jail, which was under the scrutiny of the American Civil Liberties Union, and improved its safety, security and sanitation while instituting a work-release program.

One of his vocal opponents, property manager Terrence McNicholas, said he wants Steers out because 'the sheriff harasses kids and the population. ... Just because you wear a badge' doesn't mean you can boss people around.

'I'm not saying he doesn't do his job, but he doesn't know what his deputies are doing,' added McNicholas, who remembers Sheers 'as a bully' in his early days as a Leadville policeman.

Lake County Commissioner Charley O'Leary, a lifelong resident, said: 'Everybody has complaints about the sheriff. Before George was elected, they complained the sheriff wasn't writing enough tickets. Now they say the sheriff's department is writing too many tickets.'

Recall effort targets Lake County sheriff
By Kit Miniclier, Denver Post Staff Writer,
November 30, 2000 Thursday 2D EDITION
Copyright 2000 The Denver Post Corporation
The Denver Post
November 30, 2000 Thursday 2D EDITION
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