Did the Overtime Budget play a major role in a Double Homicide Investigation?

 

When does corruption affect the community?  When a homicide investigation does not receive the proper attention or resources from the corrupt leadership at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO).

On the morning of March 12, 2017 at 8:45 am two bodies were found on the side of the road near Pikes Peak International Raceway.  Usually a double homicide would justify a large response from EPSO’s Investigation division. But not this time.  Just two detectives were dispatched to conduct the investigation.  The primary detective had limited experience in homicides and the supervisor recently transferred from the jail and had even less experience.

Many detectives were waiting for the phone call that usually comes after a homicide, but the calls for additional personnel never came. Only one additional detective was called out. What was the reason?  Bill Elder did not want to pay overtime.  Two lives lost and a murderer on the loose and Elder didn’t want to spend money to investigate.  Why?  Because he needs all that money to pay his campaign donors who are working in non law enforcement positions making thousands of dollars.  READ STORY.

It wasn’t until Wednesday, March 15, that the EPSO leadership started to panic realizing the investigation was not going well and they had wasted 3 days not properly investigating a double homicide.   How could such a huge mistake happen on such an important case?

A source close to Bill Elder told us all EPSO personnel were told last October there was no longer funds for an overtime budget.   Detectives were told too many people were being called out after-hours; so from that point forward there would be a limited number of Detectives sent to investigate cases after-hours.  So, where there use to be up to 8-10 Detectives working a homicide during the first critical hours, only 3 were used in this investigation. Valuable time was lost to save money so Bill Elder could continue to pay his cronies whose jobs have nothing to do with law enforcement (LE).  If 1A funds had not been diverted to pay for all these non LE positions there would be an adequate budget for overtime, training and equipment. READ STORY.  But Bill Elder does not care about law enforcement, his employees, or the community.  All he cares about is MONEY for him and his buddies.

Experienced investigators know the first 48 hours is critical in a homicide investigation and the odds of solving it after that goes down.   Because of the delay in assigning appropriate resources to the investigation it left EPSO Detectives scrambling trying to find evidence days later. This allowed the perpetrator(s) days to destroy evidence.  It is our understanding it was days after the murders when search warrants were executed attempting to locate evidence.  Because of this delay was valuable evidence lost? Did mistakes by inexperienced supervisors jeopardize the investigation and cause frustration amongst the Detectives?

Does the Sheriff’s Office have a limited number of experienced homicide investigators; is there an adequate budget to provide training?  Why did two highly qualified and experienced homicide investigators abruptly retire recently?   Both had many years of experience working homicides and one had been a long time supervisor. Could it be they had enough with all the corruption and just wanted out? Why have approximately 16 people retired since the first of the year?

Many current and previous employees have stated with the current corrupt and incompetent leadership at EPSO mistakes like this could become common place.  Fortunately an arrest was made; but how much more evidence could have been obtained if EPSO leadership had assigned an appropriate level of effort to the case from the beginning?  How many more young people could have been murdered while Bill Elder tried to save money?

It is obvious Bill Elder is over his head.  The corruption has reached the point where it is impacting the mission of the office and public safety.   Bill Elder’s corruption is putting lives in danger.  Since Elder became Sheriff there are less Deputies on the street protecting our communities and now he is assigning less Detectives to investigate major crimes.  But his unqualified cronies continue to get their fat paychecks.