COP-A-DOODLE-DOO!

NAME-CALLING, INNUENDO AND A FLAP OVER A STUFFED CHICKEN: IT'S POLITICS AS USUAL IN THE ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF'S RACE.

Bad feelings do linger in Montrose. Asked about Shearer, one longtime Montrose officer describes his former chief as "a legend in his own mind." Shearer, says the officer, did bring innovative ideas to the department, some of which are still being used. But the chief had no people skills. While Shearer was away at the FBI Academy, the officer says, "every member of the [eighteen-person] department except one went to the city manager and said it was him or the chief."

Shearer agrees that officers did line up against him. But he says the coup occurred because the officers knew the ax would fall when he returned from the FBI Academy. He says he set a high standard for his officers, that he'd planned to rid the department of deadwood upon his return and that officers knew about it.

Shearer did set high standards for his employees, says the Montrose officer. But the chief, he complains, didn't always shine that same light on himself. For example, the officer says, there was the problem with the chief's pet chicken, Colorada.

"He had this chicken stuffed," the officer says. "He was very upset when the [taxidermist] charged him, and he made a very big point of saying it. He felt he should have got the chicken stuffed for free. That chicken especially aggravated me." He and other officers "thought about holding it hostage," he adds. "We tried stealing it once at a party. We wanted to shoot it full of holes."

Taxidermist Al Bellgardt, who stuffed and mounted the bird, says his bill was paid in full without incident. And the fact that Colorada has been brought up in a political context is a continuing irritant to Shearer. He denies doing anything untoward with regard to the fowl. Colorada, who now perches atop a tree branch on the Shearers' living-room hearth, belonged to LuzMaria, he says. It was she who handled the stuffing, mounting and subsequent bill.

"Hating that chicken is like hating somebody's teddy bear," Shearer adds. "That chicken came with us from California in a box. She was an old hen, a good layer, but she was like a senile elderly person. She couldn't find her way home at night. I just don't know what that poor chicken has to do with the safety of the people in Adams County."

And, he adds, his ire mounting, "While Camp was out there finding out about my chicken, there was a major arson investigation and two homicides. I'm sure the detectives are pleased to know that while that was happening, their boss was out there checking on my chicken."

Camp says he has no plans to turn the stuffing of Colorada into a campaign issue. Says the sheriff, "I just want to be endorsed by the voters November 8.

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