A new statement from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says it will no longer participate in training or events with Able Shepherd, a tactical training group that has faced backlash after its …
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A new statement from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says it will no longer participate in training or events with Able Shepherd, a tactical training group that has faced backlash after its involvement in a protest at the Douglas County PrideFest.
Sheriff Darren Weekly told the Douglas County News-Press that he had received new information that prompted the decision to not work with Able Shepherd moving forward but would not specify what information he had learned.
“Over the last week and a half, more information that we’ve garnered has come to my attention and as the sheriff, I like to have as many facts as possible to make decisions,” he said.
When asked what new information contributed to the decision, Weekly said: “I can’t go into specifics on that.”
The Aug. 26 PrideFest protest consisted of around 75 men — wearing matching shirts reading “Stand To Protect Children” — blocking the stage and postponing the drag show by 30 minutes. No one was arrested or issued a summons during the event.
The sheriff’s office confirmed several investigations open related to PrideFest, but hasn’t provided more details. At least one of the investigations is related to anti-LGBTQ vandalism at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, where PrideFest took place.
Following the event, the sheriff’s office said on Sept. 7 that it did not have scheduled training with Able Shepherd but wouldn’t commit to not working with the group in the future. The sheriff’s office previously conducted an active shooter training with Able Shepherd in August.
Weekly said the earlier statement “wasn’t meant to deflect the question” and that he tries to make thoughtful decisions.
“I don’t just go with the initial information that I have, I like to gather as many facts as possible,” he said.
Weekly added that he does not have a personal relationship with Jimmy Graham, the CEO of Able Shepherd. Weekly appeared on the Aug. 17 episode of Graham’s podcast.
“I think more is being made out of the relationship (with Graham) and the training than it is,” he said.
Weekly also said his office does not have any conflict of interest when it comes to the investigations related to PrideFest.
“There absolutely is no conflict, we’re not hiding anything and we’ll investigate and charge as appropriate,” he said. “As the sheriff, I serve all citizens, I don’t serve one political party or any special interest groups.”
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Arapahoe Community College have also said they will not be working with Able Shepherd in the future.
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