Our Latest News

May 2014 report to the county commissioners


The sheriff and undersheriff

The sheriff received a twelve-page faxed letter from the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado outlining why our detention facility should not accept immigration detainers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  The letter was forwarded to the county attorney.

The sheriff represented our office at the annual Colorado Law Enforcement Memorial Service held at Camp George West in Golden.

The sheriff and undersheriff met with the new Buena Vista Correctional Complex warden, Jason Lengerich, for introductions.


The county’s drug task force was awarded $14,000 from funds seized in July 2012 from a Buena Vista man arrested on a variety of felony drug distribution charges.  The money will fund purchase of needed operational equipment.

An arrest warrant was issued for a former employee of the county clerk and recorder’s office charging him with embezzlement of nearly $4,000 in cash.  The press release is on our website.

Commander Derek Bos participated on an interview committee for the new Buena Vista School District superintendent.

In their off duty time, Deputy Jesse Cortese, Deputy Robin Burgess, and Commander Derek Bos participated in a clay pigeon shoot fundraiser.  They were part of a five member team that included two members of the Buena Vista Police Department.  The team placed fourth out of fourteen in the semi-competitive event.  Each team sought out sponsors from local businesses and individuals.  Funds raised will go to scholarships for Darren Patterson Christian Academy.

Our patrol deputies participated in the Click It or Ticket campaign that began May 12 and ran through May 25th.  Statistics for this event will be available in June following a post-campaign survey.  We also participated in a grant-funded DUI enforcement effort that ran May 23 through May 27th.  One DUI arrest was made as part of this campaign.

The Crime Scene Response Team responded to two major incidents.  The first, a suspicious death at Cascade Campground, was received on May 17th.  At the conclusion of the investigation, it was determined that the decedent died of natural causes.  In the second incident, the CSRT assisted Salida Police in processing a crime scene stemming from a domestic assault in which the victim’s foot was partially amputated.  The incident remains under investigation by the Salida Police Department.

On May 22nd, a high risk court event related to a murder at the Buena Vista Correctional Complex took place at the Chaffee County courthouse.  Due to several different gang ties and veiled threats toward the victim’s family and based on credible information gathered about the court event prior to court, several precautionary steps were taken to ensure the safety of the courts and community.  The sheriff’s office tactical team took the lead in providing security for the event, supported by members of the Leadville Police Department, Department of Corrections personnel, Colorado Springs Bomb Squad, the District Attorney’s Office, and Chaffee County EMS.  The event concluded without incident.  

The sheriff received notice that the state’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has closed its file on the discrimination in employment complaint brought last year, saying that “the commission is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violation of the statute.”

Over a period of three days, Commander Bos and Sergeant Goodwin taught the Standard Response Protocol to students at Avery Parsons Elementary School kindergarten, first grade, third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade.  Buena Vista officers taught the second graders and assisted deputies with presentations on another day.    

   Training Issues

Sergeant Avila completed the two-week Command Staff Institute hosted by County Sheriffs of Colorado in Littleton March-April.

Sergeant Everson attended a four-hour class in Pueblo on elder abuse.  This training is mandated by recent legislation. 

Deputy Robin Burgess began in-house training to become a member of the sheriff’s office Crime Scene Response Team.


New patrol deputy Lamine Mullenax was sworn in at the supervisors meeting May 14.  He is currently in a twelve week field training program, tentatively scheduled for completion in July.

 Complaints / commendations

A Nathrop man complained that a deputy failed to take a burglary report from him.  The man called our agency to make the report but when the deputy arrived he found the man to be very intoxicated, a violation of his probation; and in the presence of someone he was prohibited by the same probation order from contacting.  He was arrested for the probation violations and held on $10,000 bond.  Due to his intoxicated condition, he was not capable of making an intelligible report at the time.  The sheriff responded to the man’s complaint by letter, informing him that due to his extensive record of arrests by this agency, his credibility with us is “at a low ebb” and deputies in the future will treat his statements “with utmost skepticism.”  No misconduct by the deputy.

The sheriff received a letter from a former jail employee alleging certain improprieties in that facility.  An inquiry has been initiated and the sheriff’s response will be reported in next month’s summary.

Victims Advocate

Communications Center


Robert Fox will begin his employment in dispatch on June 4.  He replaces Diana Hatfield who resigned.


Annette is working on the prep work for the Sleuth V10 upgrade.  This is extensive but should be completed before install. 

  Training Attended

Darrell attended the two-week Supervisory Institute in Gunnison. 

Annette and the county attorney have been working on a 9-1-1 surcharge increase thru the PUC. This has been a major challenge and will hopefully be completed in June.  They have been working on this for almost a year.

Search and Rescue

A 40-year-old female hiking alone on the Denny Creek Trail became lost and activated her SPOT satellite GPS device after wandering off the trail.  A hasty team from SAR-North met her on the trail, tended her minor injuries, and escorted her to her car parked at the trailhead.  The operation covered four and a half hours, terminating at about 6:15pm.

A 31-year-old male US Army Special Forces Reserve officer, backcountry skiing with a colleague from Fort Carson on Mount Huron above Clear Creek Reservoir, failed to notice a 25-foot drop-off because of the flat light, skied off the precipice and suffered a severe head injury.  His friend found him unconscious but breathing, activated his SPOT beacon, and hiked to the trailhead where he was met by Deputy Sheriff Marty Johnson and members of the county’s search and rescue teams.  Deputy Johnson called Flight for Life who responded to the area but were hampered by the incoming bad weather.  Eventually the weather cleared sufficiently to allow the helicopter to land and the victim was transported to Saint Anthony Hospital in Lakewood.  Flight for Life personnel listed the man’s condition as critical.  The undersheriff’s press release is on our website.

Records and Administration

Detention Facility

Recently an inmate was moved from one pod to another due to personality conflicts with other inmates.  After being placed in the second pod he was told by those inmates he was not welcome there either.  The shift supervisor spoke with members of the pod and determined the issue was about control of the pod, not the individual.  Later, an inmate on disciplinary lockdown was allowed to leave his cell temporarily and seized on the opportunity to attack the new occupant in the dayroom.  Staff intervened and placed the attacker in segregation.  The victim, uninjured, refused to cooperate in charging the other inmate with assault; the district attorney declined to accept a filing based on the inmate’s refusal.  The incident is being addressed through our internal disciplinary process.

  Personnel Changes

Justin Payson has completed all pre-employment testing and his first day is June 2nd.   Brenda Petersen has given notice and her last day is June 20th.  She is moving back to Oregon.

  Training Attended

The Relias online training courses are set up and implemented, and staff’s training for this month includes: An Overview for Correctional Professionals, Receiving Screening, and An Overview of Mental Illness for Correctional Staff.