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Colorado Sheriff’s Workers Quit

June 7, 2001

LEADVILLE, Colo. (AP) _ Six sheriff’s department employees, including the jail cook, quit after the county sheriff was ousted in a recall election.

The workers walked out Wednesday, a day after Lake County Sheriff George Sheers lost his job in a countywide vote by a 2-to-1 margin.

Sheers said he appreciated the show of support. ``I told them to think hard about it, but they didn’t like what happened,″ he said.

Both supporters and opponents of Sheers attributed the controversy to a case involving a former deputy who wasn’t properly certified as a law enforcement officer.

The deputy, Paul Esparza, is facing felony charges for allegedly cutting courthouse phone service in a contract dispute with the county over a moonlighting job. Sheers fired Esparza.

Newly elected Sheriff Ed Holte said he was disappointed by the walkout.

``It’s just going to be extremely limited coverage until we can get replacements. We’re running one officer per 12-hour shift. That includes me,″ he said.

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