Mike Violette, circa 1989
BY MIKE VIOLETTE
On Thursday afternoon the Sheriff finished the travesty that began in early May. He fired Sgt Tommie McLallen from his job with the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department. This was an outrageous act of retaliation for Sgt McLallen’s active involvement as your Lodge President carrying forth the will of your organization with regards to obtaining the right to bargain collectively.
Although Sgt McLallen was fired from his position, the FOP Constitution under circumstances such as this allows he remain the Lodge 7 President for the remainder of the term of his elected office. He will be working on your behalf as attentively as he always has. That will not change. Many of you are wondering how Tommie is handling this. He is doing just fine. He knew they were moving to do this to him and both he and his family have been taking the necessary steps to prepare for it. He knows he will be vindicated in the long run, and what they did to him exposed for all to see.
In the meantime there are numerous things in the mill for him with regards to other law enforcement employment and various support efforts being organized both inside and outside of
As many of you are aware the investigation of this incident and the manner in which it was prosecuted was shameful at best. Our ongoing investigation reveals it to be a contrived overzealous effort designed to achieve a pre-determined end. In his statement to the local paper the Sheriff was audacious enough to state that “due process” was given and this was the result. Due process is best defined in one word—fairness. Obviously the Sheriff needs to study what due process is before making such a pronouncement. This was not anything remotely close to fairness no matter what the Sheriff and those closest to carrying out his will on this may believe. But that is and has been the way due process has been interpreted under this current administration in the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.
You all were advised in my letter of June 26th from the Colorado State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police that this contemptible act of retaliation against you and your Lodge will not go un-challenged. This is headed to a lawsuit involving retaliation, wrongful termination, protected speech, and violations of 1st and 14th amendment rights all resulting in financial loss and emotional pain and distress. Make no mistake about that it will happen. As you all know lawsuits take months if not years to resolve. The FOP and Sgt McLallen are committed to see this through to its final conclusion. You can be assured we will use every venue available to us to fight this arrogant act, and any others that may follow. This is a long term battle both in the legal arena and the political arena. We will prevail in both. This was not a fight we wanted. Apparently the Sheriff and his ever shrinking circle of support did.
After the initial flurry of public and internal communications surrounding this outlandish decision of the Sheriff you can expect things to settle into where they need to be. There will be updates both public and internal via email, the Lodge 7 website, and the State FOP website concerning information that can be released as we move forward. However, most of the work and on this matter will be done without fanfare or release. Rest assured we will be working diligently finishing up the investigation, necessary filings, and preparation for Sgt McLallen’s legal case. We will also be employing other strategies designed to deal with the broader scope of this as time moves forward. So it should be understood by the members that although things will settle down publically, they will be moving forward privately. All that will be done will have your interests, Sgt McLallen’s interests, and your union’s interests and goals at the forefront.
We fully understand the hostile work environment that you work under, and urge you to continue to communicate with us as you have been by email, phone, or through the “Contact Us” page of this web site. All the lines of communication that you have been using to avoid review by the Sheriff and others will remain as the primary FOP communications tool for now. We caution each of you to refrain from using any work computers for electronic communications on this or other issues. We know Sgt McLallen appreciates your support and we appreciate the pertinent information that continues to come into us. What you all have been sending will continue to be kept confidential, and will be treated with your status protected.