Sheriff Terry Maketa had two vehicles broken into within six months in late 2007 and early 2008, losing his handgun in one incident and personal items in another. Both cases were investigated by Detective Jerald Day.
That's the same Jerald Day who later would rack up two felony charges for an episode in which he allegedly got drunk and threatened fellow police officers with a gun. And the same Jerald Day whom Maketa has managed to keep on the county payroll even as that case approaches trial.
Day faces at least seven criminal charges after he allegedly drove drunk on Feb. 28, 2009, into Douglas County and waved a gun at officers before being taken down by a police dog and sponge bullets. Day, now 43, was charged with felony menacing with a weapon, felony vehicular eluding and several misdemeanors including DUI and resisting arrest. His bail was set at $300,000 cash. A trial is set for April 20.
Two separate incidents
More than a year earlier, on Nov. 28, 2007, Maketa learned his laptop had been stolen when sheriff's dispatch called to say someone had found the briefcase and computer near his Rockrimmon home, according to a sheriff's report.
Maketa checked his county-supplied 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe and found his gun also was missing. He called city police, saying the theft occurred sometime between 8:15 p.m. Nov. 27 and about 8:30 a.m. Nov. 28. The handgun, a .40-caliber Glock model 27 semi-automatic, was entered into the National Crime Information Center database, Springs Police Sgt. Steve Noblitt says, but has never turned up. Maketa replaced the weapon, his personal gun, at his expense.
Noblitt won't release the theft report because the investigation remains open, but citing the report, he says, "I don't know how they got it, but they didn't bust out a window. The investigation revealed that there was no forced entry." Noblitt won't reveal where the gun was stored inside the vehicle, but he says it's rare for an officer's gun to be stolen; he recalls it happening twice in the Pikes Peak region during his 13 years with the police department.
Maketa says in written responses to the Independent's questions that he might have "inadvertently pressed the unlock button" on the Tahoe's remote-entry device while carrying three large binders into his home that evening. The sheriff's report states Maketa's county vehicle "had been broken into," but gives no details.
The neighborhood had seen only minor criminal mischief incidents until the theft of Maketa's items, the sheriff's report notes. A K-9 search and fingerprint analysis produced nothing. Maketa says there was no confidential information stored on the laptop, although a fingerprint identification is necessary to log on to it.
On May 8, 2008, someone busted a window on Maketa's personal vehicle while it was parked at his home, stealing "personal items."
Maketa says Bureau Chief Joe Breister assigned the case to Day, because Springs police wouldn't respond "due to lack of evidence and suspect information" and because Day was available.
But a source who spoke on condition of anonymity says Maketa asked Day to "privately investigate."
"He didn't do any paper on it, because the sheriff told him not to," the source says, meaning there was no written report made.
Maketa says Day obtained information on a suspect and combined the two vehicle theft cases. Neither has been solved.
Help from the top
After Day was arrested last year, Maketa tried to help.
"I was contacted by the sheriff of El Paso County and he asked me what I could do to help him [Day] out," bondsman Dave Wood says. "I told him, 'The same I could do for anyone.'"
Wood says he didn't think Maketa was asking for a special favor, but wanted someone to get the longtime sheriff's employee out of jail.
Maketa gives a different version. The sheriff, who started his career in the jail and has focused on detentions throughout his time in office, says he called a bondsman "to inquire as to the process of how a $300,000 bond works, so [Day's] family would know the process and understand their options."
In mid-May, David Schara, a bondsman from Security, bailed Day out after the bond was dropped to $30,000 cash or surety despite objections from the prosecutor in Douglas County. Schara, a former deputy, says he was contacted by Day's parents and posted Day's bond "because I have a soft spot for people in law enforcement."
In late September, Day's fellow detective Cliff Porter and his future boss, Cmdr. William Estrada, testified at a court hearing on a motion to allow Day to work at the El Paso County jail and to have his ankle bracelet removed. Both motions were granted over a prosecutor's objections. Maketa says they were under subpoena to testify, as was sheriff's legal adviser Charles Greenlee on two occasions.
On Oct. 1, Day, who had been on paid suspension from his detective post, was "transferred" to a security technician job in the jail. From the time he was suspended with pay until he took the jail job, Day's pay would have totaled about $33,845, or $4,835 a month. The jail job pays $3,111 a month.
Some law enforcement officials, including former Sheriff John Anderson, say a person such as Day poses a potential liability for the county.
Maketa refuses to release Day's Internal Affairs file on the arrest incident, saying it happened on Day's time off and wasn't pertinent to his law enforcement duties. On March 9, Maketa said he helped Day, who started at the sheriff's office in 1996, because "we felt we should stand behind him ... in recognition for those years of service."
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