Our Latest News

December 2013 report to the county commissioners


The sheriff and undersheriff

The sheriff and Deputy Logan Tidwell represented CCSO at the funeral service of former sheriff’s deputy Randy Nold in Buena Vista.

The sheriff and undersheriff gave a brief presentation on leadership and effecting change in organizations for the Colorado Mountain College – Leadership Chaffee County group.


The sheriff’s annual employee appreciation dinner was held December 14 at the Branding Iron Restaurant in Buena Vista.  Over one hundred persons attended.  Several awards were presented, including letters of recognition to twelve employees, Meritorious Service Award to Sgt. Kevin Everson, Life Saving Medal to Deputy Nick Tolsma and Lifesaving Awards to Mr. Leo Accaira and Mr. Gill Engles, Distinguished Service Award to Dispatchers Marlis Davisson, Bill Dyer, and Janice Veltri, Medal of Honor to Deputy Nick Tolsma, and the Sheriff’s Executive Award to Patrol Commander Derek Bos.

A 34-year-old Salida woman was arrested and charged with two felony drug offenses and a misdemeanor count of child neglect by members of the Chaffee County Drug Task Force.  Alex Walker, an investigator with the District Attorney’s Office for the Eleventh Judicial District, received information that the woman had indicated her willingness to sell methamphetamine.  Working with members of the Chaffee County Drug Task Force, Walker and other officers monitored the movements of the woman until she was observed by officers walking with her eight-year-old son from her home to a nearby convenience store parking lot where she entered a car occupied by an adult male.  Officers observed the exchange of cash and suspected methamphetamine between the woman and the male occupant of the car.  Within minutes, uniformed deputies and Salida police officers arrived to make the arrest.  Two and a half grams of suspected methamphetamine was recovered by officers along with cash used to purchase the drug.  The press release is on our website.

Several deputies participated in the annual Shop with a Cop Program in Salida, in which local fourth-grade school students receive donated cash they use to purchase gifts for family members, accompanied by Salida police officers and sheriff’s deputies.  Participating from our agency were Undersheriff John Spezze, Deputy Ben Adair, Sgt. Anthony Avila, Deputy Robin Burgess, Deputy Jesse Cortese, Sgt. Matt Goodwin, and Deputy Jeff Stephens.

Commander Derek Bos led the tactical team through active shooter drills at Salida High School.

New Year’s Eve was relatively uneventful for the sheriff’s office with one significant arrest.  A domestic dispute at a Nathrop residence became violent when 49-year-old Jerome Determan allegedly used his closed fist to strike his 79-year old mother and a male relative, age 22, while all were watching television in their home.  Determan was jailed on a misdemeanor charge of assault and a felony charge of crime against an at-risk adult.  His bond was set at $5000. 

   Training Attended


  Complaints / commendations

The county attorney received notice of a formal filing in Federal District Court of a lawsuit against certain members of the sheriff’s office for violation of the plaintiff’s Constitutional and civil rights during an incident two years ago.  Details of the filing were published in an article in the Mountain Mail newspaper.  All inquiries will be referred to the county attorney for response.

The sheriff received a check for five hundred dollars as a donation to Search and Rescue South.  The check was enclosed in a letter from nine members of the Cleveland law firm of Mr. Gene George, the hiker who was the subject of a four-day search mission this past summer.  The letter read in part, “Though we were saddened and distressed by the situation, we recognize that exhaustive efforts were made, at great cost, and with some measure of personal sacrifice on the part of all those who were involved.”  Another check in the same amount was received from one of Mr. George’s law partners.

Victims Advocate

Communications Center

  Special Projects/Unusual Circumstances

We are advertising for the new dispatch position that we received for 2014.  Applications are being taken until January 3, then we will hold the testing on January 13th, projecting for the new person to start work around the 1st week of February.

Search and Rescue

Records and Administration

Detention Facility

The Mountain Mail published an article commemorating the conclusion of the thirteen-week Nurturing Fathers Program for several jail inmates.  In the opinion section, the newspaper also expressed congratulations to the participants.

Gene Casados Jr., the Buena Vista Correctional Complex inmate that was assaulted by Thomas Mercado, was taken off life support and passed away hours later.  Charges against Mercado are expected to be amended from attempted murder to murder.  Mercado also faces second degree assault charges in Park County after he attacked a deputy and broke his jaw.  He remains in segregation at the Park County Jail.


Our part time nurse who we shared with Public Health was offered a full time position with Public Health, which she accepted.  Her last day at the jail is 12/31/13. 

   Training Attended

Corporal Nelson held a training class on the X26 Tasers for one third of the detention staff.  He will certify the remaining staff in January.