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Meet Wyoming’s New Black Sheriff Aaron Appelhans, the 1st in State History

Meet Wyoming’s New Black Sheriff Aaron Appelhans, the 1st in State History

Aaron Appelhans made history becoming the first Black sheriff in Wyoming’s 131-year history. Appelhans will take over a department that has had issues with nepotism, excessive force among other things.

The appointment is significant with many people see it as a sign of change in the law enforcement.

“The concept of reform that everybody keeps talking about, it’s coming, whether they want it, whether they like it, or not,” Charles Wilson, the chairman of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, told the New York Times. The 39-year-old was appointed to serve out the term of David O’Malley who resigned on Jan. 2, amid a $20 million lawsuit filed by the mother of Robbie Ramirez, who was shot three times and killed while unarmed by Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy Derek Colling.

According to the lawsuit, the officer, Colling, fatally two other people while he was a Las Vegas police officer. The suit alleges that instead of disciplining Colling, O’Malley promoted him to an investigative unit. In 2019 a grand jury declined to prosecute Colling in 2019. Appelhans has more than a decade of experience working in the state’s law enforcement previously working as a college admissions officer for the University of Wyoming before spending a decade with the university’s police department. The sheriff’s method of dealing with the media is different from his predecessors. Linda Devine, a defense lawyer says Appelhans is the right man to create change.

“I think what he brings to the sheriff’s office is a calmness: He’s soft-spoken, but it doesn’t mean he’s a pushover,” Devine told the Times. “I think Aaron has a really good heart, I think he has really good intentions, and I think he wants to bring this community together.”

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