Gazette exclusive: Sheriff Maketa changes his mind, gives up award

May 14, 2014 Updated: May 15, 2014 at 10:48 am
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El Paso County Sheriff, Terry Maketa, endorsed the former El Paso County Sheriff, John Wesley Anderson, today outside the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum Friday, February 28, 2014. Photo by Mason Trinca, The Gazette

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa decided Tuesday not to accept an award he effectively gave to himself and instead, one of the deputies originally nominated will receive it, Sheriff's Office sources said.

Ed Kafel, a longtime training deputy who has repeatedly been recognized as a Sheriff's Office employee of the month, will be given the One Hundred Club award, according to deputies at the Sheriff's Office who did not want to be named because they feared retaliation. The award recognizes excellence in first responders. Kafel will be recognized at a Broadmoor hotel gala Tuesday, along with winners from the Colorado Springs police and fire departments.

Maketa, a three-term sheriff who is term-limited, is expected to be succeeded in January by Fountain Deputy Police Chief Bill Elder. Maketa did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday. Sources say he is in Alaska. The Sheriff's Office on Wednesday would say only that Maketa was "away from his office on personal business."

The Gazette published a story Saturday detailing how the Sheriff Office's chain of command had nominated a few outstanding deputies for the award and was ready to vote on a winner at a staff meeting when Undersheriff Paula Presley nominated Maketa. Some unnamed commanders said they felt pressured to vote for Maketa or face retaliation, and he was selected unanimously. Maketa forwarded the office's nomination to the One Hundred Club, thereby choosing himself for the award, which includes a gold watch.

Commanders told The Gazette anonymously that they believed Maketa was an inappropriate choice for an award meant to recognize those in the ranks. In the award's 20-year history in El Paso County, no sitting police chief, fire chief or sheriff has been given the recognition.

The Sheriff's Office, in its response to the story, defended Maketa's nomination and lambasted the commanders for talking to The Gazette, saying, "The sheriff plans to remove these two commanders from his command staff as they are too cowardly and dishonest to remain in positions of leadership. They are a cancer and detrimental to our organizational success."

Monday, three commanders were put on administrative leave. It is not clear whether Maketa knew who spoke to The Gazette.

On Tuesday, according to sources in the office, the undersheriff told Kafel he will receive the One Hundred Club award.

Typically, the award is presented to the winning deputy by the sheriff. Sources say Presley told Kafel the sheriff would not present him the award, and neither would she.

The three commanders who were placed on leave filed a complaint Monday against Maketa with the county commissioners, saying Maketa was violating employment laws. El Paso County spokesman Dave Rose would not give details of the complaint "because this could be a matter for possible future litigation, and because it involves potential personnel matters."

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