Sheriff office considers concealed weapon program for retired law enforcement officers


Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office is looking for retired law enforcement officers who are interested in taking part in a potential new program that would allow qualified individuals to carry concealed weapons across state borders under the auspices of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004.

If enough interest exists, the program would provide the annual qualification program needed for retired law enforcement officers to maintain a concealed weapon permit under the act, said Undersheriff Rich Valdez.

The act, also known as HR218, allows qualified active and retired law enforcement officers to be exempt from state laws that prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms.

Valdez said revenue from the program, which would be open to Archuleta County residents, would go into a non-profit fund that would help the ACSO obtain training and equipment, meaning the annual qualification and other donations would be tax deductible.

The annual qualification program and training would also be available to any individuals who already have a concealed carry permit and want to take part in the annual qualification process as a donation (these individuals do not receive certification similar to retired officers).

Retired law enforcement officers qualify under the 2004 act if they:

“‘1) retired in good standing from service with a public agency as a law enforcement officer, other than for reasons of mental instability;

“‘(2) before such retirement, was authorized by law to engage in or supervise the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of, or the incarceration of any person for, any violation of law, and had statutory powers of arrest;

“‘(3)(A) before such retirement, was regularly employed as a law enforcement officer for an aggregate of 15 years or more; or

“‘(B) retired from service with such agency, after completing any applicable probationary period of such service, due to a service-connected disability, as determined by such agency;

“‘(4) has a nonforfeitable right to benefits under the retirement plan of the agency;

“‘(5) during the most recent 12-month period, has met, the expense of the individual, the State’s standards for training and qualification for active law enforcement officers to carry firearms;

“‘(6) is not under the influence of alcohol or another intoxicating or hallucinatory drug or substance; and

“‘(7) is not prohibited by Federal law from receiving a firearm.’”

Interested individuals are asked to call the ACSO at 264-8430.