by WorldTribune Staff, September 22, 2017
A finalist for police chief of Colorado’s fourth largest city was eliminated from consideration after city officials learned of two news stories where the candidate was quoted as supporting Arizona’s immigration control law, a government watchdog group said.
Steve Henry, a former chief deputy for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office in central Arizona, was one of six finalists chosen from a list of 65 people who applied for the Fort Collins police chief position.
Judicial Watch, in its Sept. 21 Corruption Chronicles feature, noted that Henry “is a U.S. Army veteran who obtained his undergraduate degree at Arizona State University and graduate degree at Northern Arizona University. He also holds a degree from the Harvard JFK School of Government and attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. He has 23 years of continuous and stellar law enforcement service.”
Henry was informed by Ralph Anderson and Associates (a California-based company that provides cities, counties and state agencies with executive search and consulting services), that he was eliminated as a candidate because the news articles made Darin Atteberry, the Fort Collins city manager, “leery” about hiring him and because, among other things, “the city is a university town,” Judicial Watch noted. Colorado State University is in Fort Collins.
“With the city refusing to explain what happened, the chain of events indicates that a highly qualified candidate got eliminated from the final six police chief applicants due to his support for the rule of law,” Judicial Watch said. “There was no crime, misconduct or character flaw on his part, just support in his capacity at Pinal County for Arizona’s commitment to assist federal law enforcement in an effort to secure borders and implement federal trespassing statutes. As for the Fort Collins public officials, it never looks good when they dodge the hard questions involving questionable decisions.”
Judicial Watch has filed a public records request “to obtain details about the troublesome case in which the support for the rule of law served as a disqualifier for a candidate hired to enforce the rule of law.”
Arizona’s immigration law (SB1070) makes it a state crime to be in the U.S. without proper documentation and bans “sanctuary city” policies. The measure also allows local law enforcement officers throughout the state to inquire about suspects’ immigration status.
Fort Collins hired the firm Ralph Anderson and Associates to lead the search for a new chief after its previous police chief resigned in May following a series of scandals, including the use of excessive force in several instances and a $425,000 settlement to two officers who claimed the department discriminated against them based on their race, Judicial Watch noted.
Fort Collins local government “supports offering illegal immigrants sanctuary,” Judicial Watch said. “Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell said in a local newspaper report that the city is an open, inclusive and friendly community and that ‘all people matter.’ Members of the city council have consistently said they support diversity and want the city to be a welcoming place for all people.”