By Daniel Bendtsen
Via Wyoming News Exchange
LARAMIE — While Albany County Sheriff’s deputy Derek Colling remains on administrative leave, Sheriff David O’Malley said the controversial deputy is likely to return to work eventually.
However, O’Malley told the Laramie Boomerang in a Monday email Colling is likely to be transferred out of patrol work.
“When Corporal Colling returns to work, he will likely be assigned as a second investigator position,” O’Malley said. “I have worked towards having a second investigator for years and recent funding through the Boswell Springs Wind Project Industrial Siting funds will now allow that. Corporal Colling has the background and experience that would fit well in that position.”
Albany County commissioners agreed in the fall to allow O’Malley to hire four new deputies from the $3.4 million the county is set to receive from a wind project northwest of Rock River.
O’Malley said Colling’s anticipated switch to being an investigator would be a “lateral” move and would not mean a pay raise.
Colling fatally shot Laramie man Robbie Ramirez in early November following a traffic stop. Prior to working at the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, Colling had been involved in two other fatal shootings as an officer.
A grand jury declined to bring charges against Colling this month.
The Division of Criminal Investigation conducted an investigation into Ramirez’s death.
O’Malley said he received DCI’s investigation materials Monday and is in a review process. He said he has not received any of the grand jury transcripts.
While the hiring practices of O’Malley’s office are governed by the Wyoming Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, O’Malley is currently working with the Daigle Law Group on a review of his use of force policies and other related issues.
Details of Colling’s future were confirmed after Albany County for Proper Policing issued a press release Sunday regarding a meeting the group’s leaders had with O’Malley on Thursday. O’Malley said he had not expected ACoPP would publicize their discussions.
The Laramie group was created in the wake of Ramirez’s death and suggested in the press release that “Colling’s return to work threatens the element of trust between officers and the community that is necessary for proper law enforcement.”
Karlee Provenza, a founding member of ACoPP, said the group discussed systemic reforms for O’Malley to implement during the Thursday meeting.
Provenza said O’Malley seemed receptive to ACoPP’s suggestions for greater training on de-escalation and crisis intervention.
During that meeting, Provenza said she learned about certain funding constraints that limited the crisis intervention training available to deputies. She said she hopes meetings with ACoPP and the Sheriff’s Office will continue.
“We just really want to be on the face of reforms and prevention,” she said. “We’re looking to have an open discussion with Dave about what the community wants and talk about bridging the gap between the community and his office.”