Our Latest News

July 2012 report to the county commissioners



A Lake County sheriff’s deputy initiated a vehicular pursuit of a subject who had brandished a handgun and tossed a hand grenade in his direction during a confrontation in Leadville.  The pursuit continued south on Hwy 24 into Chaffee County.  Near Buena Vista, a police officer attempted twice to stop the pursued vehicle, firing on it in an attempt to disable it.  The pursued vehicle continued south through Chaffee County at speeds in excess of 100mph, eventually entering Saguache County.  South of Villa Grove, a state trooper executed a maneuver that caused the pursued vehicle to spin and come to a stop.  The driver again brandished the handgun in the direction of officers and although ordered several times to “drop it,” pointed the handgun directly at an officer who then fired on the subject; he died at the scene.  The subject’s handgun was discovered to be a non-firing replica; the explosive device thrown in Leadville was found to be inert.   On July 31, a letter signed by the district attorneys for the three judicial districts exonerated all law enforcement officers involved in the incident.

A simulated firearms training system (FATS) for training personnel in shoot/no shoot decision-making was donated to our agency by the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.  The equipment is being installed in the former CCSO patrol room in the County administration building. 

Our Law Enforcement Assistance Fund grant application for DUI enforcement submitted in April was turned down by the state department of transportation in favor of other agencies that had not received funds in previous years.

  Training Attended

Half the patrol division attended active shooter training in Salida.  The others will participate in the same training in August.


  Complaints / commendations

A sheriff’s deputy responded to the report of a campfire off CR 307 on forest service lands.  Two adults and several preteen children were attending a small charcoal grill fire at the site in violation of the County’s Stage II fire restrictions in effect at the time.  The deputy elected to issue a summons to one of the men who then identified himself as a Mesa County commissioner and suggested that the deputy exercise his “discretion” and not write the summons.   The deputy issued the summons.  Next day the sheriff received an email from the man who again identified himself as a county commissioner, insisted that the sheriff alter the summons so that the man could avoid a court appearance, and made a veiled threat to make the matter public if the sheriff failed to do so.  The sheriff declined that request and instead forwarded the email to local newspapers in Salida and Grand Junction, and to the Associated Press.  Both newspapers published accounts of the incident.

The sheriff received a telephoned complaint from a retired Florida deputy sheriff after he was stopped by CCSO deputy for speeding 75mph on US 285.  The caller said that he showed his badge and identification to our deputy seeking “professional courtesy” but that the deputy told him he wasn’t interested in seeing it and then wrote the caller a summons for speeding 15 mph over the limit.  “In my 29 years in law enforcement, I have never issued a ticket to a fellow officer,” the caller said.  The sheriff explained that we perhaps have a different culture here than at his agency.  Later, the sheriff commended the CCSO deputy for his diligence and impartiality of enforcement.

A Buena Vista police sergeant sent a letter to the sheriff expressing his appreciation for the assistance of three deputies.  They were covering calls in Buena Vista during a period when local officers were indisposed with other duties.  Two deputies responded to a domestic disturbance in town in which a subject was threatening violence.  After the subject was arrested, the third deputy undertook the tedious process of collecting and photographing a number of firearms that were taken for safekeeping.  Shortly after this situation was resolved, another BVPD officer required assistance with a combative, intoxicated woman.  Deputies went to his aid and remained until the situation was stabilized.  The BVPD sergeant wrote of the three deputies, “They have a strong sense of pride and commitment to their sworn duties [and] are a credit to the citizens of Chaffee County and the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office.” 

Victims Advocate

Communications Center

  Training received

Two dispatchers attended a two-day training session on how to deal with people with disabilities and handicaps.

Search and Rescue

North Cottonwood, July 2.  SAR North was paged to help an adult male hiker with an injured knee on the Kroencke Lake trail.  The victim was evacuated in a wheeled litter for about three miles and was back at the trailhead by just after five pm.  Two forest service employees helped, which provided more hands for the litter evacuation.   The victim had torn a ligament in his leg.

Monarch Crest Trail / Silver Creek, July 2.  An adult female from Sacramento crashed her mountain bike, possibly incurring a broken hip.  She was evacuated by SAR and EMS to and ambulance in an operation that covered about six hours.

Mount Princeton, July 5.  Two lost hikers, one from Washington, DC and the other a San Francisco, California resident, were stranded overnight on the mountain.  They were rescued the following day by SAR North.  The press release can be found on our website.

South Fooses Creek Trail, July 29.  A 42-year-old male from Denver was injured while mountain biking.  SAR-N volunteers stabilized and applied splints to patient who was then airlifted to hospital by Flight for Life.  The operation spanned more than six hours.

Records and Administration

Detention Facility

Full Circle Restorative Justice conducted its first restorative circle in the Chaffee County Detention Center this month.  According to FCRJ director Patty LaTaille, “It was successful – a very moving & powerful experience – complete with hugs all around – first initiated by the victim to the offender.  With gratitude to Commander Rick Holland for his willingness to support restorative justice in the jail.”