ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The new Arapahoe County Sheriff is calling the purchase of $800 commemorative rifles by the previous sheriff “questionable.” He now plans to sell the weapons and reimburse the general fund for the expenditures.
The previous sheriff, Dave Walcher, authorized the purchase of four commemorative rifles for himself and three other top commanders as retirement gifts. Each of the customized weapons cost $796.37 for a total of $3,185.48.
“Yes, I did authorize that,” Walcher told CBS4 in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “They were a token of appreciation to the command staff,” said Walcher. “I’m okay with it.”
Voters in Arapahoe County did not re-elect Walcher, a republican, in November 2018, instead replacing the incumbent with democratic challenger Tyler Brown. But between the election and when Walcher left office, he authorized the purchase of the commemorative rifles for himself, Undersheriff Louie Perea, Capt. Mark Ortler and Bureau Chief Larry Etheridge.
When the incoming administration learned of the rifle purchases, they initiated a review and asked the District Attorney’s office to evaluate “if further investigation was warranted or if any criminal statutes had been violated.”
According to a statement from the sheriffs office, “The rifles seemed to be out of the ordinary for retirement gifts given to outgoing administration officials.”
Each was engraved with the sheriffs badge and inscribed with “Arapahoe County Colorado’s First” along with a map of Colorado.
The matter was referred to the Denver District Attorney’s office. The assistant D.A. told the Arapahoe County sheriffs office that “this matter needed no further investigation and no criminal charges would be filed.” The Henry “Golden Boy” rifles are .22 caliber.
Walcher, who now serves as Director of Administrative Investigations for the Public Integrity Division of Denver’s Manager of Safety’s Office, said he believed the $800 gifts were justified as he and the other three commanders had served Arapahoe County for more than 100 years, total.
He said he was not upset the new sheriff was barring delivery of the rifles. “Do I really care? No. I’m okay with this decision,” said Walcher.