PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- Joey Musso has been with the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office for eight years. Last week, he was demoted from School Resource Officer (SRO) for District 70 schools to Detention Deputy at the Pueblo County Jail, the position he began his career in. Now, Musso is alleging the demotion was politically motivated.
Musso announced his candidacy for Pueblo County Sheriff on December 17. Current Sheriff, Kirk Taylor, has announced he will not attempt to retain his position in the November 2022 election.
"I think the Sheriff's Office is shaking in their boots right now. If I am elected Sheriff, there are going to be a significant amount of changes," Musso said.
A week after Musso announced his campaign for Sheriff, he told KRDO his 3-year tenure as SRO was over.
"I was a school resource officer, but a few days ago that changed. I think it has a lot to do with my recent announcement," Musso explained.
According to disciplinary records obtained by KRDO, Musso has been disciplined nine times during his eight years at the Sheriffs Department. The latest, sparked an investigation into Musso failing to retrieve forensic evidence while on duty.
However, in December, five separate principals and administrators wrote letters of recommendation for Musso.
A principal at a D70 Middle School wrote, "Deputy Musso has been the most effective school resources officer I have worked with during my 25 years in public education."
A D70 high school principal said, "When working with students, you can tell he cares and is there for the right reasons. He is a great asset to our school."
"They are putting me back in the jail as what they think is a form of punishment, but I'm okay. I think they are trying to get me out of the public eye, but I will still build connections at the jail," Musso said.
KRDO asked the Pueblo County Sheriffs Office for comment on Musso's allegations. The department said they could not comment on a "personnel matter" at this time.
Musso told KRDO he sought legal counsel before speaking out publicly. His legal counsel told him his First Amendment rights protect his speech, if they are of public concern. Musso demands for his role as SRO for D70 schools to return to him.