Thank you to everyone who spoke out to the Albany County Commissioners these past weeks by writing emails, Letters to the Editor, and joining us for Tuesday morning’s Commission meeting.
The room was packed on Tuesday! The clear majority of folks were there to speak on behalf of public safety, accountability, and transparency. Testimony regarding Robbie’s death and the employment of Derek Colling was truthful, passionate, and well-articulated. Emotions ran high the whole meeting. Many people were angry, there were tears, and a lot of shaky voices. Each person who bravely got up to speak with us was met with applause when they finished.
And bravery was needed, since there were eight fully armed officers in the room, including Sheriff O’Malley and Derek Colling’s father, Rick. Whether deliberate or not, that leant an extra layer of intimidation to the meeting.
Many people spoke about the ways that Colling’s hiring violated the County’s own policies. Others said they felt personally unsafe or had heard from others who felt unsafe. Still, others commented on the unjust and just flat-out sloppy aspects of the County’s response to Robbie’s murder.
ACoPP members also reminded the commissioners of our report from our January public forum, which describes a whole range of potential reforms. We reminded them to review the full report, and also to evaluate for themselves the types and amount of training officers are given.
We intend to follow up with the county commissioners in coming weeks, and hope they begin earnest discussions related to Robbie’s killing, Colling’s suitability for employment, and policies at the sheriff’s office.
For more information on the meeting, check out this piece from Wyoming Public Media. ACoPP is also hoping to produce a short video about the meeting. Stay tuned for details. We’ll be in touch about that and our next moves.