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August 2013 report to the county commissioners


The sheriff and undersheriff

The sheriff was a judge at the annual car show in Salida benefiting Search and Rescue-South.  Other than that, he and the undersheriff pretty much stayed in the office out of everyone’s hair.


Deputy Marty Johnson accompanied Commissioner Holman at a Cedargate Homeowners Association meeting to discuss the incursion of cattle from an adjacent meadow onto the Cedargate property.

The communications center received a call from two men who were following a vehicle entering Chaffee County from Gunnison County over Cottonwood Pass.  According to the two men, the subjects in the vehicle ahead had set off a large explosion in a campground in Gunnison County, endangering campers there.  Officers from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, Buena Vista PD, CSP, and Division of Wildlife intercepted the subjects’ pickup truck as it was descending Cottonwood Pass near Collegiate Peaks Campground.  Both subjects were detained until Gunnison County deputies arrived to conduct interviews of the subjects and witnesses.  A bomb squad from El Paso County arrived and cleared the subjects’ truck of additional explosives.

Deputy Sheriff Ben Adair stopped a Volvo sedan for a minor traffic violation just outside Buena Vista at about 2:30am.  The driver, a resident of Buena Vista, was unable to produce proof of insurance or proper registration for the vehicle.  A passenger in the car was found to have an active arrest warrant for probation violation and was taken into custody and later jailed.  Another passenger in the vehicle, a 42-year-old male, had no warrants and was released.  Deputy Adair impounded the vehicle until proper ownership and insurance coverage could be produced.   The man was released but after a search of the car produced a small quantity of methamphetamine, an arrest warrant was obtained and the man was later taken into custody.  Inside his car deputies found additional meth, a loaded AR-style rifle, and a loaded .40 caliber handgun.  The man was jailed on a variety of drug and firearms violations.  The press release can be found on our website.

Deputy Adair is the initiator and administrator of our DUI Enforcement Grant.  This operation is funded by the state and pays overtime for deputies performing patrols for drunk and impaired driving.  During the four and a half ten-hour watches worked by the deputies, three drivers were arrested for DUI and one other for DUID (drugs).  For a small county, this is a quite respectable record.  An added benefit is that grant-funded deputies are visible and available for emergency calls while on patrol.

The US ProChallenge bike race went through the county successfully.  Seven deputies and five explorers assisted with the event.  (See the item regarding our Explorer Post below.)

  Training Attended

The sheriff’s office sponsored a half-day presentation on law enforcement / news media relations.  The presenter was Greeley Police Chief Gerald Garner, a veteran law enforcement professional who has served as a public information officer, instructed the topic at various chiefs organization and the FBI National Academy, and written several articles and books on the subject.  Attendees were from the Mountain Mail, Chaffee County Times, EMS, DOC, Salida PD, Buena Vista PD, Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, the Chaffee County Administrator, and the Chaffee County Emergency Manager.

Detective Andy Rohrich and our Victims Advocate Coordinator, Brittany Goodwin, completed a forty-five hour training course in child sexual abuse forensic interviewing. 


With a good deal of effort on the part of Sgt. Kevin Everson and Deputy Jesse Cortese, an Explorer Post has been established at CCSO.  In all, ten young men and women, ages fourteen to twenty-one, have been riding with deputies for the last few weeks and we are in the process of becoming registered with the national organization.  When we are fully registered the national provides standard regulations and covers our post with liability insurance.  Thanks to Sgt. Everson for his initiative and Deputy Cortese for the effort he contributed to this project.

Patrol Commander Derek Bos, assisted by the undersheriff, is in the process of creating a Citizen Police Academy at CCSO.  This will require participation by many of our employees. 

  Complaints / commendations

The county attorney forwarded to the sheriff a Notification of Claims by attorneys for a local man and wife who were the subjects of a shooting incident by their neighbor in June 2012 on County Road 276.

The trial and conviction of a local man on several felony charges prompted Assistant District Attorney Molly Chilson to write a note of appreciation to several of our deputies involved in the case.  Ms. Chilson wrote, “…by the end of the trial, the Jury had met and evaluated each one of you. Each of you rose to the occasion and did an excellent job. Each of you presented as an intelligent and diligent officer who cares about the job you do and the people you are sworn to protect.  I hope you all are very proud because you have earned it.  It was my pleasure and honor to work with all of you on this case.” 

The feeling is mutual from our side: Ms. Chilson spent untold hours reviewing the case, advising deputies, and preparing for trial.  Her presentation in court was flawless.  It is a pleasure to have this continuing excellent relationship with our Office of District Attorney.

An internally-generated investigation sustained an allegation that an employee failed to perform his duties properly.  Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken.

Officer Spencer Blades sent a note to the sheriff expressing appreciation for assistance provided by Dispatcher Kami Criswell.  While investigating a motor vehicle accident the sergeant learned the driver did not speak English and all attempts at locating a translator were unsuccessful.  Ms. Criswell came in early for her shift and assisted the officers by using her fluency in Spanish.  “Without her assistance the investigation would have been much more difficult and time consuming. Please pass on appreciation of all officers involved,” Officer Blades wrote.

Victims Advocate

Communications Center

Sleuth, the software company we use at present, gave a demonstration on their next version of the software.  Annette Stolba, John Spezze, Rick Holland, and Derek Bos attended the demo.


  Training received

We are in the process of doing our quarterly in-house trainings (Code Red, Maps, WebEOC).   Also, the dispatchers are doing training for Emergency Medical Dispatch.    Annette Stolba and Jeanette Stephens attended the media relations presentation by Chief Garner. 

Search and Rescue

Chaffee County Search and Rescue-South (CCSAR-S) assisted a New Mexico woman after she fell while mountain biking on the Greens Creek trail Sunday.  Another mountain biker contacted Chaffee County Communications Center at about 1:45pm to report that the 33-year-old Taos, New Mexico woman had fallen at a point approximately two miles down the Greens Creek trail from the intersection with the Monarch Crest trail and suffered an arm injury.  The caller reported that she needed assistance getting down the trail.  A hiking party of SAR members intercepted the woman as she and a companion were walking out down the Greens Creek trail.  After medical attention from the SAR group, the woman was able to finish the walk out and was transported to Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center by SAR personnel. 

Chaffee County Search and Rescue-South (CCSAR-S) assisted a Steamboat Springs woman after she fell while mountain biking on the Monarch Crest trail.  A man contacted Chaffee County Communications Center at about 11:3am to report that his wife, 53, had fallen near the Greens Creek trail intersection with the Monarch Crest trail and suffered an unstable hip injury.  CCSAR-S mobilized with seven rescuers.  A party of SAR members and a Chaffee County Paramedic on two trail motorcycles made contact with the woman near the Greens Creek shelter.  After medical attention from the paramedic, it was determined that the woman’s injuries were severe enough to require transport by helicopter and she was flown from the Crest by Flight for Life.

Chaffee County Search and Rescue-South (CCSAR-S) assisted a Salida man after he fell while mountain biking on the Monarch Crest trail Saturday.  The man used his In Reach Satellite communicator to contact Chaffee County Communications Center at about 10:00am to report that his friend, 32, had fallen near the Greens Creek trail intersection with the Monarch Crest trail and suffered an unstable neck injury.  CCSAR-S mobilized with seven rescuers.  A party of SAR members on two trail motorcycles made contact with the man just north of the Greens Creek shelter.  After medical attention it was determined that his injuries were severe enough to require transport by helicopter.  He was flown from the Crest by Flight for Life and transported to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood.

The Chaffee County Communications Center was notified late Tuesday afternoon that a hiker on a difficult trail on La Plata Mountain was unable to proceed.  The hiker, 27, from Michigan, apparently had exceeded his skill level on the climb.  His friend, who had accompanied the man on the hike, told the dispatcher that he had been unable to coax the man into moving any farther down the trail.  Search and rescue personnel were paged and established a mobile command post at the trailhead at about 10:30pm.  Due to the late hour and darkness, the difficulty of the terrain, and the relatively temperate weather conditions favoring the stranded hiker, rescuers delayed their ascent of the trail until 3:10am the next morning.  Three experienced climbers took to the trail at that time, followed at 5:30am by another team of five SAR volunteers.  Rescuers finally contacted the man at about 7:30am and were able to guide and support him down a steep and exposed scree-filled gully to the valley floor.  All reached the trailhead at approximately noon.  None of the rescuers or the hiker sustained any injuries.

Press releases for all the missions can be found at our website.

Records and Administration

Detention Facility

Two inmates housed in the Chaffee County Detention Center have been charged with several criminal violations after detentions officers discovered a hole punched through an exterior window in one of the cells and a makeshift rope crafted from a shredded bed sheet dangling from the window to the parking lot outside.  The rope, weighted with a toothpaste tube, was discovered by a deputy performing a routine check of the exterior wall at about 4:45am.  When the deputy tugged at the rope it was quickly withdrawn inside the cell.  After the arrival of additional jail staff, inmates lodged within the pod where the suspect cell is located were removed and searched.  All individual cells, each occupied by a single inmate, were also searched.  Evidence discovered in two of these led to charges being filed on two inmates for a variety of felonies including attempted escape and introduction of contraband into the facility.  The press release is on our website.

1 Comment for this entry

david north, arlington, virginia
September 10th, 2013 on 6:21 pm

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