Controversial Albany County Sheriff's Corporal Resigns
An Albany County Sheriff's Corporal who killed an unarmed man in 2018 has resigned. Sheriff Aaron Appelhans said Derek Colling submitted his resignation Wednesday, but Applehans did not comment on the details surrounding the resignation.
Colling was widely criticized after he shot and killed Laramie resident Robbie Ramirez during a traffic stop. It was the third time in his career he shot and killed someone. The previous two incidents were in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Despite the fact that the Division of Criminal Investigation called the shooting justified, many community members expressed dismay over it and why Colling was hired in the first place. Many also expressed anger that former Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent did not charge him with a crime.
Trent recently resigned to work in another state and former Sheriff Dave O'Malley retired. The Ramirez family has filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit over the killing. A story in the New Yorker noted that Colling had recently been reassigned to the Albany County Detention Center.
Laramie State Rep. Karlee Provenza also oversees the organization Albany County for Proper Policing. She said Colling's resignation makes the community safer.
"I mean I think Colling's resignation allows for us to rest a little easier, knowing that he's not policing here, given his history as a law enforcement officer, both in Nevada and here in Laramie, Wyoming," said Provenza.
Sheriff Appelhans said there is still healing that needs to be done between the department and the community. He added that he is in the process of improving the training of officers on how to better handle encounters with people who have mental health issues. He said they are addressing a number of issues.
"How we respond to people in a mental health crisis and the services that are provided to those people within the community, training and de-escalation techniques and trying to provide more for our officers, so we are better prepared and better equipped to handle all the situations that come our way," said Appelhans.
He added that they are also looking at ways to work more with the community and to become more diverse.
The Police Officer Standards and Training office is reviewing a request to decertify Colling.