By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Crime has increased so much in Cheyenne and Laramie County that the city has become a sanctuary for criminals, former Cheyenne police chief and current Laramie County sheriff’s candidate Brian Kozak claimed over the weekend.
Kozak officially kicked off his campaign for sheriff over the weekend, when he discussed his goals for improving the county law enforcement if elected but also criticized the work of the current law enforcement leaders.
“The jail currently is not allowing peace officers to arrest criminals for property crimes, even if they have an arrest warrant,” Kozak said during the event. “Now, recently, they they started accepting felonies, but not misdemeanors. As a result of that, Cheyenne has become a sanctuary city for criminals.”
He repeated this twice.
Kozak told those attending the event he wanted to restructure detention services to assist the entire criminal justice system within the county while reducing recidivism.
Kozak also noted that property crimes in the city have significantly increased over the last year. For example, burglaries in Cheyenne have gone up 86% in the last year and vehicle thefts have increased 89%.
“Those stats are the worst increase in crime I have ever seen in my 35 years of policing,” he said. “It’s even worse than Denver.”
During the press conference, the former police chief held up an AR-15 announcing that he was giving it away as part of a raffle.
He said the raffle helps communicate that he supports gun rights.
“Well, this should send a message that I do,” he said, noting that he’s an advocate of large caches of ammo as well.
“If the feds want to pass a law saying you can’t have large magazine capacity. Okay, I’m giving off a 60 round magazine. So whatever,” he said.
After serving as Cheyenne’s police chief for 11 years, Kozak stepped down in January when incoming Cheyenne Mayor Patrick Collins announced he would be replacing both Kozak and the head of the city’s fire department.
The former police chief’s other goals for the county, if elected to be sheriff, included reconnecting with county residents and businesses and invest in the employees of the sheriff’s office.
“When I was chief at the Cheyenne Police Department, we had one of the lowest turnover rates within policing,” he said. “Other agencies would contact us to see what’s your secret. The answer I tell them is leadership.”
Neither Cheyenne Police Chief Mark Francisco nor Laramie County Sheriff Danny Glick immediately responded to Cowboy State Daily’s requests for comments.