Colorado county sheriffs charity is legitimate, but in (bookkeeping) trouble
Many residents of Garfield County received a letter recently signed by Sheriff Lou Vallario, asking people to become an honorary member of the County Sheriffs of Colorado, a law enforcement charity, for $30.
The letter is an apparent legitimate fundraising effort, but the charity’s registration, on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website lists the group’s status as “expired – do not solicit.”
One anonymous reader reached out to the Post Independent wondering if the charity’s letter is legitimate, or part of a scam.
Despite the explicit moratorium on solicitation, Vallario said the 2019 new member invitation letter, which is a form adaptable to any Colorado sheriff, is certainly not a scam.
“It’s legitimate solicitation for renewing citizen memberships,” Vallario said. “The money goes to support the sheriff’s organization.”
Vallario was unaware of the registration status of sheriffs organization, but said he is fully committed to supporting its cause.
County Sheriffs of Colorado was established in 1975, supporting local sheriff’s offices. For 2017, CSOC reported $1.8 million in revenues, $1.4 million of which came from contributions, according to state filings. The organization spent $1.7 million, with $1.3 million going to program services.
The nonprofit provides training, hosts conferences, and brings together sheriff’s departments throughout the state. It also provides scholarships, including some to Garfield County residents, and to students entering Colorado colleges or vocational programs.
The organization recently created the Fallen Deputy Fund, and is determining how it will be structured.
“We use quite a bit of their training,” Vallario said. “They do a detention academy that we send all of our detention deputies to, and they have a host of different trainings that they either support or provide,” Vallario said.
Though the charity is legitimate, the moratorium on solicitation is also real, and the organization could face a fine for sending out the mailers earlier this year.
According to the state, CSOC’s registration expired Nov. 15, 2018, and the state has sent several letters reminding them to renew.
Speaking generally about charity registration and not specifically about CSOC, Chris Cash, the Colorado Secretary of State’s charity program manager, said charities “cannot solicit when their registration is expired, legally.”
The fine for soliciting before registering is $300, according to the state’s website.
Representatives of CSOC were not immediately available for an interview.
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