Laramie County Sheriff candidate Brian Kozak says Cheyenne has become a "sanctuary city for criminals," because the county jail has been refusing to book suspects with warrants in property crime cases due to COVID-19.

He says the jail recently starting booking suspects with felony property crime warrants, but still isn't taking those wanted on misdemeanor warrants.

Kozak made the comments at his campaign kickoff event in Cheyenne on Saturday. Wyoming county jails are under the jurisdiction of the sheriff's offices of each of the state's 23 counties.

While Laramie County Sheriff Danny Glick is retiring at the end of his current term when it runs out at the end of next year, Capt. Don Hollingshead of the Sheriff's Office is running for sheriff in 2022. Hollingshead is the Detention Captain of the Sheriff's Office.

Two other candidates have also announced they are running for the office, Patrick Long and James Barth.

Kozak in his remarks on Saturday said "You people out there, the citizens, you're getting ripped off. You're getting your cars stolen, your catalytic converters cut off. And it's happening in epidemic proportions."

Kozak said City of Cheyenne crime stats show burglaries are up by 86 percent over last year for the period from January through August. Kozak said the theft of auto parts, including catalytic converters is up by 163 percent, and auto thefts are up by 89 percent. Kozak called the increases in crime "the worst I have ever seen in my 35 years of policing.'' He went on to say "And why is this happening? Because criminals know they can't get arrested." Kozak said that when he is elected sheriff "I will open the jail. And we'll put a sign on the jail that says open!"

You can see Kozak's entire campaign kickoff speech here.

The Laramie County Sheriff's Office recently issued a statement to "set the record straight,'" on its booking policy for the jail.

That statement included the following

''To set the record straight, the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office jail is accepting arrests and has been throughout the Covid pandemic, however due to the guidelines implemented by the CDC and the County Health Department, the jail has had to enact procedures to limit the number of individuals housed in the jail in an effort to curb Covid by conforming to social distancing and health guidelines related to the pandemic.
The Sheriff’s Department is accepting all arrests related to crimes of violence to include domestic violence incidents, DUI arrests, felony arrests, and public safety arrests where it is in the best interest of the public or the individual being taken into custody that they are incarcerated. This would include such instances as a public intoxication arrest during extreme cold temperatures, or repeated nuisance calls on the same individual who is violating the law by causing a public disturbance. We have been in constant contact with other area law enforcement agencies that have assisted us by issuing citations in lieu of arrest when appropriate, as well as following the arrest guidelines the jail has enacted. If an arresting officer feels strongly about an arrestee being incarcerated that does not fit the previously mentioned guidelines, they have the ability to request an override of the jail procedures by contacting the Jail Capt. or the Undersheriff. The Sheriff’s Office is committed to public safety and will continue to work with our partners to ensure that individuals that truly need to be incarcerated are taken off the streets and confined in the jail.
Capt. Don Hollingshead
Deputy Gillott''

Kozak is the former Police Chief of Cheyenne. The Wyoming Primary election will be held in August of next year.

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