Tag Archives: Denver Department of Safety

Denver Sheriff Does Not Want to Share Accreditation Standards

The Denver Sheriff is really proud of the accreditations it has been awarded, really proud. On the front page of the Denver Sheriff website the accreditation are boasted about.  If that is not enough, Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins sat down with a Denver Post Editorial Writer and talked, and talked about the Department’s accreditations and how useful they are.

Because of the hype, I am interested to find out what these accreditations consist of.  How is the Denver Sheriff able to maintain these prestigious accreditations when they have faced numerous allegations of brutality and corruption by deputies?  The allegations were so severe former Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson was voluntarily demoted.  So what can the Denver Sheriff be doing so right with so much stuff going so wrong?

I made inquiries into two of the three accreditation standards that the Denver Sheriff currently holds: The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA), and The American Correctional Association (ACA).  Both agencies told me the only way I could get a copy of their policies was to purchase a year-long license for about $100. I then figured to turn to the Denver Sheriff.  In the article with the Denver Post Editorial Writer, Sheriff Diggins clearly states he is in possession of the records.  “‘These standards help anyone get better,’ Diggins said, pointing to boxes of documents for ACA accreditation on the floor of his office.”

My thought was I would file a public records request with the Denver Sheriff and get the standards directly from the Sheriff’s Office (this is the same approach I used to get the Colorado Revised Statutes).  Well it turns out the Denver Sheriff likes the brag about the fact they are accredited by three agencies, but they really don’t want to share what those accreditations entail.  The Denver Post article never once inquired into goes into the accreditations.  Kinda seems like it would be an important and newsworthy question to ask an embattled agency like the Denver Sheriff what their standards are.

So I filed my Open Records request with the Denver Department of Safety and last night I received a non-responsive, response.  “The accreditation standards requested in the email below are set by each accrediting body and are therefore records of each body.  Please direct your request to CALEA and ACA.” (See email screenshot below). The Denver Department of Safety tried to deflect my request.

Denver Sheriff Public Records Request Denial

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Proposed Changes at the Denver County Jail

The Denver Department of Safety announced proposed changes to the Denver Sheriff Department Disciplinary Handbook.  The public version provided by the Denver Post (which can be viewed below) provides a whole bunch of nothing.  A complete Nov. 2013 copy of the Disciplinary Handbook can be viewed at the bottom of this article for reference.

A task force looked at disciplinary problems with the Denver Sheriff, especially how deputies can use force and make it easier to fire them when they break the rules.  The task force met twenty-two times altogether and came up with thirty-two recommendations.  Releasing the policy proposals appears to be an attempt at transparency by the Denver Department of Safety. The Denver Department of Safety, is an agency of the City and County of Denver, which has, “subject to the supervision and control of the Mayor, full charge and control of the departments of sheriff, fire and police.” Denver, Colo. Municipal Code § 2.6.1.  Since the Denver Department of Safety oversees and supervises the Sheriff, the buck stops with the Department of Safety with this whole mess.

Not all of these suggestions are bad or obtuse — most of them are.  Let’s dig in and see the good and the bad.

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