Our Latest News

December 2012 report to the county commissioners


The sheriff and undersheriff

The sheriff was one of two volunteer judges of entrants in the annual Equestrian Parade in Buena Vista.

After consultation with Records Manager Jean Ferraro and County Attorney Jennifer Davis, the sheriff has directed that the sheriff’s office fee for processing new applications for concealed handgun permits will increase from $75 to $100 effective January 15, 2013.  This is the first increase in five years and reflects the greater workload and administrative expense for the service.  The fee for renewal of a permit remains at $50 and there is no change in the fee charged by Colorado Bureau of Investigation. 


The fourth annual Student Holiday Outing with Police (formerly Shop with a Cop) took place in early December.  Each year five fourth grade students from Buena Vista and five fourth grade students from Salida are selected, based on family need and recommendations from school officials, to participate in this program.  An officer is partnered with each student and both then shop together for Christmas presents for the student’s family.  Each student receives one hundred dollars to spend this way.  The event is sponsored by Chaffee County local businesses, Avery Parsons Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, and the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge. Participants from our agency were John Spezze, Matt Goodwin, Jeff Stephens, Nick Tolsma, Casey Rumora, Jodi Mazza (VA volunteer), and Derek Bos.

Governor Hickenlooper signed a resolution certifying the results of the November election, and Amendment 64 is now the law in Colorado.  The amendment legalized the possession, use, and cultivation of specific amounts of marijuana.  We await action from the governor’s task force, the legislature, and the US Justice Department to determine our agency’s policy on enforcement.

A Salida area man was arrested on several charges of felony theft of wire cable and scrap metal with a total value in excess of $18,000.  In the first case, a local man reported that a spool of construction-grade wire cable had disappeared from his property on CR 140 sometime in late November.  The spool, weighing about a half-ton and valued at $2,000, was later seen by a witness at a salvage yard in Penrose. The seller was identified as Christopher Fleetwood, 29, of Salida.  He was arrested on a felony warrant December 5.

In the second case, the owners of a Salida brass recycling company reported the theft of two crates of recycled ammunition casings on two separate occasions in May.  The crates, weighing more than a ton each and with a total value of over $16,000, were later discovered by an investigator at a scrap metal lot in Colorado Springs.  Investigators allege that Christopher Fleetwood received more than $11,000 from the scrap metal company when he sold the casings to them.  He was again arrested and lodged at the Chaffee County Detention Center with a bond of $15,000.  The press release can be found on our website, www.chaffeesheriff.org

An on-site Evidential Breath Alcohol Test Device facility inspection was performed for the location of the new Intoxilyzer 5000EN recently acquired by our agency.  The inspection, required by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and performed by their agents, revealed that we are in full compliance with all regulations set by that agency.  All deputies have now been trained and certified in the use of the new equipment.  A huge thank you goes out to Deputy Jeff Stephens who was the lead on this project.

Four persons, two juveniles and two adults, were arrested early Christmas morning after a standoff with deputies who used tear gas to flush them out of a cabin they had broken into two days earlier.  The four, all from the Tucson area, were booked on a variety of felony and misdemeanor charges.  The incident began at about 5:30pm Christmas Eve when a CSP trooper noticed a car parked off US Hwy 285 near CR 200.  The car had been reported stolen from Tucson and was associated with a 16-year-old female runaway.  Investigation led authorities to a nearby cabin occupied by four persons.  After a perimeter was established, the four were ordered out and taken into custody after emerging from the cabin.  Tactical team members who participated were from the Chaffee County and Lake County sheriff’s offices and the Leadville Police Department, who have recently trained together and are in the initial stages of creating a regional tactical response team.  The press release can be viewed on our website, www.chaffeesheriff.org [1]

  Training Attended

Auto theft investigations training for ten of our deputies was conducted by two state patrol investigators.

  Complaints / commendations

The sheriff received an email from a Dallas, Texas man who alleged that a patrol deputy who stopped him for speeding 88mph in a 60mph zone was offensive in his behavior to the man and his wife, a passenger in the man’s car.  After reviewing the summons and the deputy’s notes and interviewing the deputy, the sheriff responded in writing to the man, finding no misconduct by the deputy during the stop.

A letter from a local citizen to the sheriff and undersheriff expressed the writer’s “sincere gratitude to you both for all that you do to keep our community safe and run by the rules.”

Victims Advocate

Communications Center

Search and Rescue

Methodist Mountain.  Chaffee County Search and Rescue-South (CCSAR-S) located a 39-year-old snowmobiler after the man became stranded while snowmobiling on Methodist Mountain.  Thirteen volunteers from CCSAR-S and the Heart of the Rockies snowmobile club participated in the rescue which began at 5:30pm after relatives in Texas notified the Chaffee County Communications Center that the man was stranded after attempting to ride a snowmobile to service the radio towers on Methodist Mountain.  He was found approximately four miles below the radio towers on CR 108 at 7:00pm dehydrated, exhausted and cold but otherwise unhurt. 

Monarch Pass area.  An elderly hiker suffered an apparent heart attack while hiking with friends about 1 ½ miles from the nearest roadway.  EMS rescuers reached him on foot, wading through thigh-high snow, and discovered that he was deceased.  SAR volunteers recovered the body which was then released to the coroner.

Records and Administration

Detention Facility

[1] With only three deputies on duty Christmas Eve, it was necessary to call off-duty personnel from the warmth of their homes to assist in the operation.  They responded without hesitation or complaint.  A huge note of appreciation goes out to all those deputies, including our undersheriff, John Spezze, and the several fire district and EMS workers who assisted.  WPP