Organizations mirror their leadership. I saw it many times in my USAF career. When a boss is a good, decent and honorable person, then the rest of the team follows suit. They emulate his example.

The opposite tends to be true as well, unfortunately. Lousy leaders inspire lousy followers. I saw that in the Air Force too.

The alleged ‘fight club’ at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office may well have been an example of that. While it began under the waning tenure of the former sheriff, it continued for the first two years of Sheriff Bill Elder’s rein.

The accounts of Elder’s tendency to bully, intimidate, rule by fiat, throw out the F-bomb during staff meetings, threaten, or otherwise abuse his troops are well known and oft cited as the reason for the dangerous double-digit attrition at EPSO. Good people don’t want any part of that, and the few good ones left get fired for trumped-up political charges.

Don’t forget how Elder and some of his personnel allegedly attempted to intimidate and disenfranchise the voting rights of delegates at the March 2018 El Paso County Republican Party General Assembly. The subordinates were only doing the boss’s bidding, following his lead, right?

A leader who acts like a thug easily inspires thuggish behavior in some of his troops. A fight club isn’t a stretch.

I guess what’s more surprising to me than a possible fight club is the Colorado Springs Gazette’s random act of journalism in covering it. Let’s face it, after sleeping through the corruption in the first three and a half years of Elder’s term, to suddenly wake up and discover a scandal is startling.

The Gazette begrudgingly acknowledged in its article how the Colorado Springs Independent covered this same story a year earlier, one of the many professional embarrassments the Gazette has had to endure.

Will the Gazette and other local media, besides the Indy, now show more willingness to engage in actual journalism? It’s hard to tell, but I do hope they continue to report honestly about the corruption in the Sheriff’s Office and the county in general.