I am writing this letter in response to an article which appeared in the Ark Valley Voice on June 19, 2020, Militias Part Four.
In this article, there appears a picture of Chaffee County Sheriff Sergeant Jesse Cortese and an unknown male who is depicted as a member of the Colorado patriot movement, The Three Percenters. The article goes on to state that the group was at the Chaffee County shooting range training. The author states that although the deputy does not appear to be training with the group it is “even more concerning, however, is the appearance of a Chaffee County Sheriff’s Deputy in one image”.
After receiving information of the content of this article, two hours before it was to be published, I immediately made an inquiry into the situation. In this follow up I learned that Sergeant Cortese was at the range on duty sighting in new patrol rifles when he was approached by the unknown male in the picture. Sergeant Cortese did not know this person however the party told him that he supported local law enforcement and asked that Sergeant Cortese take a picture with him. Sergeant Cortese stated that he took the picture and he then went back to the task at hand. He advised that he was not aware of this picture appearing online nor did he know the male alongside him.
Sergeant Cortese has been a member of the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office for the last seven years. He was promoted to sergeant due to his leadership and professionalism. He is a devoted family man and loves serving the residents of this county. This article in no way depicts the core value under which Sergeant Jesse Cortese operates.
John A. Spezze
Chaffee County Sheriff
Editor’s Note: the article to which this Letter to the Editor responds is available here. The visuals depicted in “Militias Part IV” are screenshots that come directly from the “Three Percenters” Colorado Facebook page, of a training event at the Chaffee County public gun range.