Our Latest News

March 2014 report to the county commissioners


The sheriff and undersheriff

A news media “meet and greet” arranged by Laura Smith, EMS administrative assistant, was held at the Touber Building.  Attending were representatives from both newspapers, two radio stations, Chaffee County PIO Group, the hospital, and law enforcement.

The sheriff and undersheriff accompanied members of our Explorer Post to the Denver Police Department’s Metro/SWAT Bureau for a K9 demonstration and weapons and equipment display.  The same afternoon, the Explorers met with a member of DPD’s aviation unit at Centennial Airport for a demonstration and tour.  The event was organized by Sgt. Kevin Everson who also participated.

The undersheriff and patrol commander participated in a table top evacuation exercise with the Salida School District.  

A recent POST newsletter contains information on training mandated by the state legislature that will affect this and other law enforcement agencies.

**Mandatory periodic in-service training for all peace officers.  This bill is currently in the legislature.  If passed, it’s not likely to have a great effect on us as we provide adequate training to our deputies to meet the statute.

**Elder abuse training.  On and after January 1, 2015 each county sheriff and each municipal law enforcement agency of the state shall employ at least one peace officer who has successfully completed the training curriculum.  POST has created a one-day training course but to date the locations at which training has been scheduled are two to four hours’ drive from Salida.  We are sending Sgt. Everson to the presentation in Pueblo, the closest offered, on May 22.  *See sheriff’s note below under training issues.

**School Resource Officer (SRO) training.  By January 1, 2015 at least one officer in every Colorado law enforcement agency must have completed this training, even those agencies which do not have schools within their jurisdictions.  Training consists of 24 hours classroom and 16 hours active shooter training.  No funds were provided by the legislature to meet this mandate and there are no SRO courses scheduled, although POST has created a curriculum.

**Dog Protection Act training.  All Colorado peace officers must complete this three-hour block of training by December 31, 2014 and all law enforcement agencies must adopt policies that comply with the statute by September 1.  POST is developing the training, perhaps as an on-line course that will be free to users.  Also, POST will distribute a model policy in July.


A woman called the sheriff to report that people in a room adjoining hers at a local lodging had been smoking marijuana and the smoke wafted into her room where three “juveniles” were staying with her.  She complained to the management who told her that because marijuana is legal in Colorado, they could not interfere with their guest’s enjoyment of the weed.  The sheriff confirmed that point.

Deputies Logan Tidwell and Joe McGuire engaged in foot pursuits with four suspects after their vehicle was stopped by Buena Vista police officers.  The vehicle had been stolen in Colorado Springs.  Deputy Tidwell received minor injuries (which did require a visit to the ER) during a scuffle with one of the suspects.  All four suspects were apprehended and charged.

For the second year, The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office received a grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to fund overtime for patrol deputies enforcing statutes related to drunk and drugged driving.  Deputies worked the assignments over the Saint Patrick’s Day weekend.  Obtained through the efforts of Deputy Ben Adair, the grant will fund high visibility patrols through the summer under “The Heat Is On” statewide DUI enforcement program.  A press release is on our website.

The patrol division was awarded a small grant, just under $1000, by CDOT for the “Click It or Ticket” program overtime for the spring enforcement period.  

The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded accreditation through the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police Professional Standards Program.  The sheriff’s office becomes one of forty-three Colorado agencies presently enjoying this status.  This is just the first step in a three-step process.  In the coming years the sheriff’s office will pursue national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) and, for the detention facility, the same distinction through the American Correctional Association (ACA).  The press release is on our website.

A 35-year-old man convicted of several felony drug charges after a three-day trial in Chaffee County District Court in November was sentenced to twenty years in prison.  A female codefendant, age 30, pled guilty in January to possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to five years in prison.  A second female codefendant, age 29, was sentenced to eighteen months’ probation for obstructing a peace officer; a warrant has been issued for her arrest for failure to comply with conditions of her probation.  The trio was arrested last April 1st after Deputy Adair attempted to stop a stolen sedan.  A subsequent search of a nearby house led to the arrests and the seizure of drugs and a handgun.  The press release is on our website.

   Training Issues

*The sheriff sent a letter to the executive director of Central Mountain Training Foundation protesting the apparent inability of that publicly funded agency to provide training in our area for the benefit of this and surrounding agencies.  At present, almost all training sponsored by CMTF is conducted at the Front Range police department where the executive director is employed.

Sergeants Matt Goodwin and Kevin Everson attended a two week CSOC-sponsored supervisor class in Pueblo.  


Deputy Nick Tolsma resigned to join the Salida Police Department as a patrol officer.  We made a conditional offer of employment as a patrol deputy to Cory Orth, currently employed in the jail.  Deputy Orth is putting himself through the academy in Glenwood Springs this summer.  Assuming he successfully completes the academy and obtains POST certification, we anticipate his becoming a patrol deputy here sometime in August.

 Complaints / commendations

The parent of a high school student called the undersheriff to complain that this agency divulged details of the arrest of her juvenile daughter, including her name, to the high school principal in violation of privacy restrictions, and despite the fact that the offense occurred off school grounds and was unrelated to the girl’s status as a student.  After some checking, the undersheriff determined that in fact the information had been released improperly due apparently to an incorrect understanding of the law and our policy.  The undersheriff apologized to the girl’s parent for the incident and assured her that corrective measures have been taken.

The mother of a 44-year-old woman alleged that her daughter’s suicidal condition had been ignored by deputies who arrested her and by detentions staff during the two days she remained in our jail, thereby placing the woman at unnecessary risk.  After a review of all reports, the sheriff determined that the woman had been properly treated by deputies who arrested her with a warrant charging felony possession of methamphetamine.  Moreover, the deputies showed admirable restraint as the woman physically resisted arrest.  The woman was treated well at the jail and was placed under close observation during her stay.  The sheriff responded in writing to the mother with his findings; no misconduct by our staff.

Victims Advocate

The unit currently has three volunteers; one other resigned recently.

The VA attended an Emotional Intelligence seminar in Greenwood Village sponsored by Colorado Organization for Victim Assistance (COVA).

The unit assisted seventeen clients during the month.

Communications Center

Reminder: National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week honoring the work of public safety dispatchers is April 13-19. 

Jeanette attended the two-week Supervisory Institute sponsored by CSOC.

Search and Rescue

Remains thought to be those of an Ohio hiker missing since last September were found by a hiker a quarter mile off the main trail leading to the summits of Mount Harvard and Mount Columbia.  They were recovered the following day by search and rescue team members, accompanied by Cmdr. Bos.  The effort necessitated that team members excavate tons of snow by hand in the process.  The remains were released to the county coroner for determination of identity and cause of death.  The press release is on our website.

Records and Administration

Detention Facility

A male inmate recently broke through an air vent in the ceiling and was crawling around in the ceiling, attempting to get to the female pod.  This incident is under investigation for criminal charges.  (A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do…)

Sgt. James, criminal investigator for the detention facility, investigated fifty-one reports and filed four criminal cases.  These included three cases of introduction and possession of contraband and one case of felony criminal mischief.


Ed Reinhardt resigned to take a position with The Palisade Police Department.  We are currently interviewing and screening candidates to fill the three vacancies.

  Training Attended

Sgt. Martinez attended a three day Leading by Legacy course hosted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.  This was leadership and management training designed for smaller agencies.

  Equipment issues