Sheriff Maketa says, "I am still the sheriff. The recall failed and I will be here until January, unless I decide to leave sooner ."
Betty Sexton asks, "You're not planning on leaving early are you?"
The sheriff answers, "I can't say for sure. I am, I'm not. I mean my goal has been to get to that date, but if there's an advantage to this transition to go sooner, I might."
It's his first interview since the scandal erupted in his office.
And, he agreed to it because he says he wants to set the record straight about new accusations that he's setting up the next sheriff to fail.
Sheriff Terry Maketa says there are some things he can't talk about right now, but he wanted everyone to hear this.
The sheriff says, "I'm certainly not perfect. I've made my share of mistakes just like any executive would have."
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, embroiled in controversy is speaking out for the first time since claims of scandal erupted within his office.
He agreed to speak with me to address new accusations that he's intentionally setting up the next sheriff, Bill Elder, to fail.
Betty asks, "Tell me a little bit about the relationship between you and him."
Sheriff Maketa answers, "I'll be real honest, it's a little soured right now. He's operating on bad information."
The sheriff is talking about recent reports by other media outlets that include claims he is intentionally over-hiring right now.
The reports say he may be doing it so the new sheriff will have to lay people off almost immediately.
Sheriff Maketa explains, "I promise the money is there. If it wasn't there I wouldn't be turning over $2 million at the end of this year to roll into next year."
He goes on to say, "I have 27 years of my adult life invested in this organization, the last thing I would ever want to do is see it fail."
I was able to reach incoming sheriff, Bill Elder by phone while he's on vacation.
Elder says, "He doesn't respect me and that's his prerogative."
Bill Elder wouldn't go so far as to claim Sheriff Maketa is trying to set him up, but he emphasized he has a different approach to running things.
He says he is conservative to the point of not wanting to be overstaffed even though that's been accepted, standard operating practice for years. He believes this kind of major decision should include him right now.
Elder says, 'It's not a warm treatment, it's not a transitional treatment." "No input whatsoever."
Despite their differences, both men claim to have the best interests of the department and the county at heart.
So what about those allegations of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.
Sheriff Maketa responds, "It really does go against my personality to not be out in front and address those issues."
But the sheriff says with an open investigation, he's not going to talk about those claims right now.
He did share this message with our community.
The sheriff says, "I hope they would hold off on forming their opinions until the investigation is done and I've had an opportunity to respond and I certainly will."
He continues, "If you want to write me off, go ahead. But what I would ask, at least give a chance for the truth to come out because I think what comes out is very different than what I was accused of."
This interview segment is the first part in a three-part series.
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