Wyoming Sheriff Recruits Denver Cops after Mayor Slashes City Budget

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Denver is a sanctuary city. Last month Mayor Mike Johnson announced he was cutting $45M from city agency budgets to pay for the influx of over 40,000 illegal aliens into the city.


Of the budget cuts, $8.4M is being taken from the Denver Police Department. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been targeting Denver by sending illegal aliens to the sanctuary city. Why not? Sanctuary cities said they would welcome anyone, regardless of legal status. Abbott is giving them what they asked for with the added bonus of spotlighting the burden on Texas and other border states created by Biden's border crisis. 

In addition to the budget crisis, Denver city leaders approve a policy on May 1 that bars officers from pulling over drivers for low-level traffic infractions. Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas called those stops "time-consuming and not effective for crime reduction." 

So, less funding for police and more leniency for traffic violations. What can go wrong? If police are not allowed to enforce laws, what are they doing? They take an oath to protect and serve, not turn a blind eye and move everyone along. Naturally, Denver cops are frustrated. 

Enter Laramie County Sheriff Brian Kozak and a billboard. Sheriff Kozak put up a billboard in Denver to recruit that city's police officers. 

“Work in Wyoming where breaking the law is STILL ILLEGAL & cops are still funded,” reads a billboard the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office placed near downtown Denver.


Vacuums fill. In this case, Denver's mayor gave the police the back of his hand and cut their budget. Laramie County is looking for a few good men (and women), so that is a vacuum being filled. Why shouldn't those officers who can, move to where they will be appreciated and allowed to do their job? 

The losers in this scenario are the residents of Denver. This is what happens when voters elect Democrats to ruin their cities with progressive policies. 

Kozak’s department and Wyoming’s laws and culture attracted a Vail-area officer to Cheyenne last year.

Laramie County Chief Deputy Aaron Veldheer told Cowboy State Daily he chose Wyoming over his former post in Eagle County, Colorado, “because crime is illegal here.”

“And I worked for a great agency in Colorado. I’ve got no complaints about them,” said Veldheer. “Just the General Assembly (Colorado Legislature) makes it so the cops are the bad guys.”


During the height of the Summer of Love protests, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a law abolishing qualified immunity. That is a legal provision that protects police from being sued in their individual capacities if they did not knowingly violate a plaintiff's rights. 

Kozak's department's recruiting pamphlets state that Wyoming has qualified immunity.

Laramie County Chief Deputy Aaron Veldheer said that qualified immunity didn't affect his decision to move to Wyoming. He was more concerned with other protections in Colorado. 

“If you did everything right you should still be covered, but it’s a lot higher bar to achieve,” said Veldheer, adding that he’s speaking on his own behalf, not for the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department officially. “And there are times, I personally think, sometimes cops should be held accountable for things – which is going to be unpopular (as a viewpoint).”

He said courts should look at each case carefully to find justice in the grey areas.

The billboard in Denver costs $2,500 for one month and it will not be renewed. This is a discounted price - the standard price is about $8,000 per month. The person who sold the deal to Kozak told him he was unhappy with the Denver budget cuts so he gave Kozak a discount.


Laramie County has a $40,000 recruiting budget for its sheriff's office. An effort made with a tool like a billboard can cut recruitment costs.

“That’s less than half of what the salary is for one employee, versus my overtime budget last year was $1.3 million,” said Kozak. “So, we’ve got to get aggressive on our recruiting efforts to save money and hire people, and eliminate that overtime budget.”

Kozak said the department hired 72 people last year in an “unheard-of” hiring spree, but it still has eight patrol positions and 17 detention positions to fill. The department’s ideal employee capacity is 260, he said.

A need is being met, thanks to a little creative thinking. Nicely done.

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