Our Latest News

August 2014 report to the county commissioners



The Chaffee County tactical team was admitted to membership in the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA).  Benefits of membership include free Internet-based training, team training lesson plans, training scenarios, legal updates relating to tactical actions, equipment reviews, discounts on equipment purchases, and of course, networking.  NTOA requires member agencies to adhere to certain professional standards as well, which likely will positively affect our exposure to liability.

All Colorado law enforcement agencies were notified by Chief John Jackson, president of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, that training mandated by the Dog Protection Act passed by the Colorado legislature last year has not yet been created.  CACP was tasked with creating the training and model policies by September 1st but has been unable to do so as of yet.  All 15,000 peace officers in the state were supposed to have completed the training by January 1, 2015.  It appears that deadline will not be met. 

Search and rescue volunteers, accompanied by three cadaver dogs, the undersheriff and the patrol commander returned to the location where Gene George’s partial remains were recovered in March and searched the area again.  No additional remains were located.

Nine deputies assisted with the US ProCycle Bicycle Race; the event went off without incident.

The patrol staff participated in the Labor Day DUI enforcement period which began August 20th and extends through September 2.  This is funded through a CDOT grant, providing overtime funds for deputies to work enforcement shifts.  

After a two day trial, defendant Adam Smith was convicted on five of nine charges.  Smith had threatened his girlfriend and Deputy Johnson with a firearm during an incident at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort this past January.  Involved in the trial were Deputy Johnson, Deputy Lougheed, Deputy Stephens, Detective Rohrich and Commander Bos.  See our January 2014 report to the county commissioners and the related press release that appeared on our website.

Sgt. Goodwin and BVPD Sgt. Morgan taught the Buena Vista Head Start school staff the fundamentals of the Standard Response Protocol, a state of the art school safety program which is being implemented on a large scale across the country.

Our new mobile command post, purchased through a grant written by our emergency manager Lisa Ortega, finally arrived.  It is a large trailer specifically designed for our purpose.  Computers and related equipment are being ordered and we expect the vehicle to be ready for service sometime next month.  New garage doors have been installed on our impound building, providing better security and controlled access; the command post will be stored inside.


A 29-year-old Chaffee County man, currently serving a prison term in Canon City, was charged with several additional felonies resulting from a lengthy investigation into the thefts of several motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) earlier this year.  The reported value of the stolen goods was just over $29,000.  The thefts, reported over a period of about a week last April, occurred in the Salida and Poncha Springs area.  Six persons reported break-ins and thefts of cargo trailers, motorcycles, ATVs, and other items during that period.  The suspect was jailed initially for attempting to drive off after being stopped by a Parker, Colorado police officer during which the officer was dragged several yards until the car rolled to a stop down an embankment.  He fled on foot but was later tracked by a K9 team and arrested.  The press release is on our website.

A Smeltertown facility used as a commercial marijuana grow operation was the target of a burglar early one morning.  Several mature marijuana plants of an undisclosed value were removed by the thief.  Telephone and electrical equipment also were damaged, apparently by the suspect in an unsuccessful attempt to thwart the alarm system.  The case was solved when Det. Sgt. Andy Rohrich, following up on leads provided by employees of the business, contacted a suspect, obtained additional evidence, and arrested a 38-year-old Chaffee County man.  The press releases are posted on our website.

Sheriff’s deputies, operating as members of the county’s drug task force, assisted Buena Vista police officers in serving a search warrant at a residence in that town after a lengthy investigation into distribution and sale of methamphetamine.  Two persons, both adults, were arrested as a result of the search.  They were charged with felony possession and felony manufacture and distribution of the drug.  Buena Vista police chief Jim Tidwell’s press release is on our website.

  Training Issues

Most patrol deputies and both investigators attend a four-hour block of legal update training presented by Deputy District Attorney Molly Chilson.


Corey Orth completed the law enforcement academy in Glenwood Springs and is now in the field training phase as a patrol deputy.

Deputy Mullenax completed the field training program and is now on regular patrol duty.

  Complaints / commendations

The transportation director of a local school district reported that school bus drivers routinely complain that their reports to our office of drivers ignoring their buses’ flashing lights are ignored.  The sheriff responded in writing, explaining the difficulty in pursuing charges unless a timely report is made giving the date and time of the violation, the location of the incident, a description of the vehicle, a license plate number, and a description of the driver. 

The sheriff was visited by a Salida mobile home park manager who reported receiving calls on his business phone from inmates using the jail’s inmate telephone system.  Apparently, his office number is similar to one for a service used by inmates, perhaps a bail bondsman.  Cmdr. Holland addressed the problem by blocking the man’s number from the system.

A Salida citizen expressed her gratitude for the assistance of dispatchers Marliss Davisson and Bill Dyer in locating her husband who suffers from dementia, became disoriented, and wandered off recently.  The woman wrote, “Bless all of you in the sheriff’s office for all you do for the Salida community.”  A check for $100 she included with her note was forwarded to the search and rescue fund, a 501(c) organization.  A letter acknowledging her gift was sent to her, thus allowing her to declare it as a deduction on her tax return.

Victims Advocate

Brittany Goodwin received her BA in Sociology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Communications Center

Ms. Stolba reports, “All is good in Dispatch.”



  Training Attended

Search and Rescue

A fifteen-year-old Aurora boy, hiking Mt. Yale with several companions, fell and suffered a head injury and possible concussion.  Search and rescue volunteers met the group on the trail as they were descending the mountain and assisted the group to the trailhead.  The boy was treated by EMS who then transported him to the Salida hospital.

(July, late entry).  A 76-year-old Canyon City man, riding ATVs with a group of friends, left Mt. Antero trailhead on an ascent of the mountain.  His vehicle struck a large rock and went off the side of the trail, throwing the man to the ground.  Ten search and rescue volunteers responded, located the victim, and transported him to the trailhead where he was treated by EMS personnel for a compound fracture of his right arm.  He was then transported to the local hospital in Salida.

Eleven rescuers and two EMS medics were mobilized to assist a Denver woman, 45, who had injured her ankle while descending the trail from Waterdog Lakes.  She was assisted to the trailhead and was otherwise uninjured.

A 46-year-old Houston, Texas man, subject of a search that began late Saturday night and continued all day Sunday, was finally returned to safety early Sunday evening.  The man became separated from his companions while descending Mt. Columbia and spent the night on the mountain.  With no word from him the following day, a major search mission was launched.  By 4pm, still with no sighting, planning for the following day’s search began, with calls to the states’ SAR Board for more hikers and search dogs from other counties, and for helicopters from the Army National Guard.  Then, around 4pm, a call was received from a Four Elks resident reporting the man had come to their residence seeking assistance.  He had walked out and was uninjured.  The press release is on our website.

A 72-year-old man, hiking alone on Mount Princeton, became lost.  SAR was unable to locate him until the following morning when he was brought down to safely.

Two incidents of note were reported over the Labor Day weekend.  CCSO received a 911 call at about 12:35pm Sunday from a man who informed the call taker that his stepson and a friend went hiking that morning around Cottonwood Creek off County Road 344 about five miles west of Cottonwood Lake.  When they failed to return at the agreed time of 10:30am, the man, of Evergreen, Colorado called for assistance.  Search and rescue members responded to the area and began a search.  The two boys, both 15, were located at 2pm and assisted back to the campsite.  No injuries were reported.

The same afternoon at about 2:30pm, as the first mission was concluding, the communications center received a 911 call from a woman reporting a man injured as a result of a motorcycle accident on County Road 185D, about two to three miles east of Ruby Mountain on BLM land.  Medics from Chaffee County EMS responded to the area where they met the man who is thought to have suffered a broken leg.  After evaluating his injuries, medics requested a Flight For Life helicopter that landed at the scene at 4:22pm.   At 4:43pm, the patient was on board the helicopter and was transported to Summit Medical Center for treatment.  His condition is not known.

Records and Administration

Detention Facility


Retired Buena Vista police officer Joe Chacon joined the agency as a court security deputy.  Joe Butcher turned in his resignation; he found a new job closer to home with the same days off as his wife.  We hired Marissa McCallum to fill that full-time vacancy. 

  Training Attended

  Equipment issues

On Friday evening August 22nd, we lost function of half the control panel, disabling intercoms and doors.  We were unable to make contact with the service company until Monday, and repairs were made by 8:30 pm.  We now have emergency contact numbers in the event of another failure outside normal business hours.