Operationally, the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office consists of patrol and investigative components. The senior patrol officer is the patrol commander who oversees three sergeants who in turn supervise deputy sheriffs.
Because of the largely rural character of our county, deputies perform as generalists, having duties ranging from routine traffic enforcement to primary and follow-up investigation of significant crimes. They may be called upon to assist with search and rescue missions, speak at a school event, serve as liaison to the county’s CrimeStoppers program, and other tasks. Additionally, each officer is encouraged to take on extra responsibilities such as drug recognition expert, radar or firearms instructors, or other specialized functions.
Deputies receive periodic training in topics such as crime scene investigation, responding to domestic violence situations, child abuse cases, DUI detection and apprehension, death investigation, interrogation, and firearms. We place a high value on continuing training.
Each deputy is assigned a take-home vehicle. In addition, each is equipped with a variety of tools such as a crime scene processing kit, patrol rifle, shotgun, and portable radio.
In 2011, the Sheriff’s Office created a county tactical team consisting of members from this agency and the Buena Vista Police Department. Membership is open to police officers from other county law enforcement agencies as well, and it is expected that the size and composition of the team will reflect this over time. The team is under the overall command of the Sheriff’s Office, and the willingness of other participating agencies to accept this is testament to the excellent mutual trust and cooperation among all agencies within our county.
With just two detectives, patrol deputies are expected to share the burden of this function. When a case is assigned to a detective however, he or she has significant functional authority over the case. At a crime scene, the detective is in charge of the investigation, although a supervisor may perform as overall incident commander.