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February 2014 report to the county commissioners


The sheriff and undersheriff

The sheriff attended the memorial service in Broomfield for Jefferson County sheriff’s sergeant David Baldwin who died in the line of duty January 26.

The sheriff attended the mid-winter conference of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police in Englewood.  He was presented the association’s Executive Certification, a distinction acquired through a combination of law enforcement experience, training, education, and service.

The sheriff sponsored a presentation by Lt Col. Mitch Utterback, Colorado National Guard liaison to civil authorities, on the kinds of equipment, personnel, and other resources available to local governments during an emergency or disaster.  The presentation was well attended by personnel from a diverse group that included first responders, emergency preparedness officials, and political leaders.

Buena Vista Police Department has renewed its participation in the Chaffee County Drug Task Force. 

In light of the recent bomb scare incident in Buena Vista (see below) and resistance from some recalcitrant citizens to our efforts to exclude bystanders from the area for their protection and to preserve the scene for investigation, the sheriff submitted a proposal to the county attorney for enactment of a county ordinance making it a violation to disobey a lawful order of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or medical responder at the scene of a disaster or other emergency.  Similar laws are common in most municipalities in Colorado, including Buena Vista and Salida, but are not available to Chaffee County first responders.

The undersheriff was guest judge of the Buena Vista VFW’s chili cook-off, an honor declined by the slightly older but far wiser sheriff.

Accreditation assessors from the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office conducted an on-site assessment and tour of our facility. 


On February 18 a suspicious device resembling an improvised explosive was discovered in the bed of a pickup truck parked next to the Buena Vista police building.  About fifty emergency responders assisted with the incident, including personnel from this agency.  The Colorado Springs police department’s bomb squad, using an x-ray camera and robot, eventually determined that the device was harmless.  It was collected by BVPD officers and conveyed to the Pueblo ATF office for examination.  Press relations were handled by Laura Smith, EMS, who is a member of the Chaffee County PIO Group.

The tactical team deployed during the bomb threat to provide security for the bomb squad due to the nature of the threat.  

Deputy Jeff Stephens, Deputy Marty Johnson and Sergeant Kevin Everson instructed students in Buena Vista High School’s forensic science classes on the topic of blood spatter pattern analysis. Sergeant Kevin Everson and Commander Derek Bos instructed the students in forensic photography.

    Training Attended

Deputy Ben Adair attended training in Denver to become an instructor in the Standard Field Sobriety Maneuvers (NHTSA approved).  Deputy Adair also completed an online course for Advanced Roadside Impaired Driver Enforcement (ARIDE).


Former Buena Vista police officer Claudette Hysjulien was hired as our new detective.  She began February 20 and reports to Det. Sgt. Andy Rohrich.  With sixteen years in law enforcement, Det. Hysjulien began her career at the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, initially as a clerk but shortly promoted to detentions deputy.  She has received formal training in interviewing and interrogation, crime scene searches, and child forensic interviewing.

The Chaffee County Tactical Team brought on three new members: EMS medic Donny Smith, Deputy Jesse Cortese, and BVPD Officer Nick Wieman.  We are losing Medic Craig Dale at the end of May, as he will be moving to Oregon.  BVPD Sergeant Dean Morgan stepped down from the team to focus his participation in the Chaffee County Drug Task Force.  

 Complaints / commendations

The sheriff received a telephone call from an elderly resident of Pinon Hills who wished to thank our agency, especially Deputy Nick Tolsma, for the excellent response and courteous service rendered when he called us after dark February 17to report a suspicious vehicle parked in the neighborhood.  Turned out the vehicle belonged to a neighbor’s guest who was attending a party.  

A woman whose debit card fraud case was investigated by Deputy Marty Johnson expressed unsolicited commendations for the deputy’s work on her case.

The sheriff received a telephone call from a Nathrop man complaining of “harassment” by one of our deputies.  The caller, who has an extensive record of arrests and alcohol abuse and is very well known to our deputies, evidently believes that deputies should ignore his behavior.  The sheriff commended the deputy for his diligence.

Victims Advocate

Communications Center

A new dispatcher started her employment with the communications center on February 3.  She will be in training for approximately thirty weeks.

New computers have been installed in the patrol work areas and in the communications center.

The Sleuth contract was approved by the county attorney and we went before the board of county commissioners on February 10.  The board approved the contract and the cost of the software.  We are now awaiting the company’s legal department to approve the county’s services contract, then we will schedule the installation of Sleuth 10.  There will be several days of training once it is installed.  We will be getting bar coding for evidence for patrol and bar coding for property in the jail.  We are hoping to have the installation complete by the middle of May at the latest; if this is not possible then we will delay the installation until this fall.

Annette attended a SimTable exercise on wild land fires, and a presentation by Colonel Utterback of the National Guard.

Search and Rescue

SAR-South conducted avalanche rescue training in the field.

Additional contributions of $1,075 to our search and rescue team were received from friends and colleagues of Gene George, donated in his memory.

Records and Administration

Detention Facility


Two deputies resigned.  We are accepting applications and will be testing to fill the two part time positions.  We are also in the process of hiring a nurse for the part time vacancy.  We were fully staffed for just two and a half months.

   Training Attended

  Equipment issues

We have received upgrades for our commissary system, installing kiosks in the pods to allow the inmates to place their own orders.  They can also purchase phone time, eliminating the phone cards they used to purchase.  We also have gone live with our new video visitation system which enables the inmates to receive visits from friends and family members from their own computers.  This will change how visitation has been handled, allowing visits throughout the week, not just on weekends.