A new sheriff's in town

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New sheriff Bill Elder is all smiles as he's surrounded by media after taking the oath of office this morning. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • New sheriff Bill Elder is all smiles as he's surrounded by media after taking the oath of office this morning.

Today, Centennial Hall was bustling with people there to cheer on Bill Elder, who took the oath of office as sheriff, replacing embattled Terry Maketa who resigned two weeks shy of completing his third four-year term.

Elder ran unopposed and was elected in November. El Paso County Commissioners appointed him to succeed Maketa after Maketa resigned.

Commissioner Sallie Clark, left, talks with newly sworn treasurer Mark Lowderman and assessor Steve Schleiker. County Administrator Jeff Greene has his back to the camera. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Commissioner Sallie Clark, left, talks with newly sworn treasurer Mark Lowderman and assessor Steve Schleiker. County Administrator Jeff Greene has his back to the camera.
After 4th Judicial District Judge Gil Martinez administered the oath, about 100 people gave Elder a standing ovation. He then swore in Joe Breister as undersheriff, Brad Shannon as bureau chief and Richard Hatch and Tom DeLuca as commanders. All had worked at the sheriff's office.

Others sworn in were Steve Schleiker as assessor and Mark Lowderman as treasurer. Other county office holders will take their oaths on Jan. 13.

Maketa, who achieved a long list of accomplishments as sheriff, including starting a detoxification facility after AspenPointe backed out of providing the service, was largely undone by his personal involvements with subordinates. Most notably, those included Doreen Cardarelle, comptroller, who traded salacious emails with Maketa and to whom he sent a bare-chested selfie a few years ago. Cardarelle received quick and lucrative promotions.

Many of Maketa's questionable actions were first reported by the Independent in March 2010, but county commissioners chose to do nothing at that time. When several commanders filed a complaint alleging a hostile work environment in May and another media outlet reported the emails and selfie, commissioners launched an investigation. That probe has so far resulted in no official action, though a criminal investigation is reportedly underway.


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