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Former Top Sheriff: 'They Wanted Me Gone'

DENVER (CBS4)- A former top administrator with the Denver Sheriff's Department, fired last month, said in an exclusive interview with CBS4 he believes his termination was trumped up and politically motivated.

"They just said, 'We need him gone, we'll figure out how to make it work later,'" said Frank Gale.

Gale was an acting Division Chief with the Denver Sheriff's Department until his January dismissal.

"They don't like the fact I've been a vocal opponent, they just wanted me gone," said Gale.

In a 21-page termination letter released last month, Denver's Manager of Safety said Gale was sacked for giving preferential treatment to a DSD colleague who had been arrested last June in a domestic violence case. The Manager of Safety's office accused Gale of providing favorable treatment to the subordinate then lying about what he did.

CBS4 asked Gale, "Did you lie?"

"No," he responded.

He was asked if he had been deceptive during the incident that led to his firing.

"No, I wasn't deceptive," said Gale, who had been with the Denver Sheriff's Department for 25 years, "I didn't do anything wrong."

Gale is appealing his termination.

Daelene Mix, a spokesperson for Denver's Manager of Safety, said, "It would be inappropriate for Executive Director O'Malley to comment on the Gale termination while the appeal process is ongoing."
Gale is not hesitant to talk, saying the investigation that led to his dismissal was "flawed… the findings by the Manager of Safety are flawed."

Specifically, Gale says witnesses who supported his version of events had their statements omitted from the termination letter, "People read them (termination letters) and believe them but at the end of the day, it's still not true."

He says his primary accuser, a Sheriff's department Captain, is married to a Denver police internal affairs investigator, which is the unit that conducted the investigation into Gale's conduct.

"I view that as a significant conflict of interest," said Gale.

His attorney, Donald Sisson, told CBS4 that Gale's firing is classic union busting. Sisson said Gale is one of the top administrators with the Fraternal Order of Police, so Gale frequently clashed with Denver city administrators during contract negotiations and over disciplinary and training issues.

"He is the most powerful voice of the FOP nationwide," said Sisson. "I think but for the fact Gale is who he is with the FOP, we wouldn't be sitting here today."

"They don't like our opposition to things they are doing. They don't like the fact we speak out against what they say or do," said Gale.

"There is a backlash against unions. I think the intent is to intimidate people out of being vocal opponents. They don't like the fact I have been a vocal opponent."

Records show the City has fired Gale twice before. He was fired in 1991 for dishonesty, assaulting an inmate and intimidating witness deputies. He appealed and was reinstated.

After that reinstatement the city again fired Gale in 2000 for dishonesty, assaulting an inmate and intimidating witness deputies. He again appealed, and was again reinstated.

In addition to appealing this latest dismissal, Gale plans to file a federal lawsuit saying he was fired in retaliation for exercising his first amendment rights.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Final Letter Of Discipline

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.


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