Albany County for Proper Policing (ACoPP) is collecting petition signatures in an effort to have Sheriff’s Corporal Derek Colling decertified from Wyoming Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). Decertification would effectively end Colling’s career in law enforcement in Wyoming.
Colling has killed three people in the line of duty, including Laramie resident Robbie Ramirez in 2018. Colling was fired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in 2011 after brutally assaulting a bystander—an act for which the LVMPD lost $100,000 in a civil lawsuit. Colling’s hiring as a Sheriff’s Deputy in Albany County was met with public outcry in 2014. The community has protested his continued employment since Ramirez’s killing.
When Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley caught flak from the public in 2014 for hiring Derek Colling, he insisted that Colling’s having been fired from the Las Vegas Police Department for assaulting a bystander wasn’t so bad.
After all, there are lots of cops who are fired from one department and get jobs in law enforcement somewhere else.
O’Malley added back then that if Colling had been decertified—instead of just fired—then he wouldn’t have hired him at all. In fact, once an officer is decertified, they can’t be cops anymore in that state.
O’Malley won’t do the moral and just thing of firing Derek Colling. So, we—the public—have to go over O’Malley’s head and get the job done ourselves.
POST is a statewide agency under the office of the Wyoming Attorney General. It sets standards by which all Wyoming law enforcement agencies and officers must abide. POST’s mission statement claims that the agency is dedicated to “ensuring public trust and confidence in Wyoming Law Enforcement by maintaining high standards for hiring and retaining certifications.”
ACoPP has organized a petition to collect signatures from people across Wyoming who believe Corporal Colling is no longer fit to serve as a peace officer. The petition calls for the immediate termination of Corporal Colling and his complete decertification as a peace officer so he can no longer serve as law enforcement in the state of Wyoming.
If Colling were to be fired from the Albany County Sheriff’s Office, but not decertified, he could potentially be hired by another agency in Wyoming.
It’s time that state officials get involved in stopping the rampage of Corporal Colling before it is too late. Many people in this community are disappointed by Sheriff O’Malley’s decision to hire and continue employing Corporal Colling. Why does an officer with a violent history deserve more protection than the community O’Malley swore under oath to protect and serve?
POST has a seven-seat commission that consists of at least three law enforcement officers. Sheriff O’Malley is currently one of them.
Part of the reason why an officer like Derek Colling gets to keep working in law enforcement is because the police get to police themselves. There’s very little accountability to the communities they serve. That’s unacceptable.
If Colling were to be decertified by POST, he would join hundreds more who have been decertified in previous decades. A recent dataset released by USA Today revealed that Wyoming decertified 178 officers between Sept. 2007 to May 2017 for actions ranging from unspecified actions to felony convictions.