Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Arrested On Drug Charge

Written by Brian Maass
DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – A CBS4 investigation has learned that former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. has been arrested, suspected of trafficking methamphetamine, a controlled substance.

Sullivan, 68, was the elected Arapahoe County Sheriff for 19 years. He retired in 2002 and went on to become director of safety and security for Cherry Creek Schools. He was a nationally-regarded law enforcement figure and in 2001 as the National Sheriff Association named Sullivan “Sheriff of the Year.”

The investigation that led to Sullivan’s arrest began in mid-November, according to contacts familiar with the case. They say several informants provided information to law enforcement connecting Sullivan to the distribution and use of methamphetamine.

As part of the investigation authorities say Sullivan agreed to meet a male informant and provide the man drugs in exchange for sex. That’s when Investigators and members of the South Metro Drug Task Force arrested Sullivan. The former sheriff is being held on $250,000 bond as of Tuesday evening.

Contacted by CBS4, the current Arapahoe County sheriff, Grayson Robinson, said, “The allegations of criminal behavior involving Pat Sullivan are extraordinarily disturbing. While the arrest of the former sheriff is very troubling, no one, and particularly a former peace officer, is above the law. This is the most shocking thing I’ve ever been involved with.”

Ironically, Sullivan will be jailed in the Arapahoe County Jail, which was named for the legendary sheriff — The Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility.

“This is a very sad time for the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and our community,” Robinson said.

Robinson said Sullivan will likely be charged with a felony count drug count and said he anticipates additional criminal charges against Sullivan and other suspects.

CBS4 has also learned that in the last several years Sullivan posted bond numerous times for suspects in drug cases who were being held at various jail facilities. According to public records, in 2007 and 2008 Sullivan was an active participant in state and local methamphetamine task forces, helping craft a state plan to deal with the scourge of methamphetamine.

Sullivan was a revered figure in law enforcement. When he retired the Rocky Mountain News called him “Dedicated. Loyal. Available. Protector. High Achiever. Medal of Valor Winner. Hero.”

pat sullvan arapahoe county sheriff Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Arrested On Drug Charge

Pat Sullivan (credit: Arapahoe County Sheriff)

The National Association of School Resource Officers gave Sullivan a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. At the time the executive director of NASRO, Curtis Lavarello, said of Sullivan, “You are not only committed to the SRO concept, but have truly spent your entire career making every effort to keep children safe.”

Sullivan served in law enforcement for 40 years, beginning in 1962 as a Littleton police officer and dispatcher. He joined the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office in 1979 as a captain and patrol division commander. He was named undersheriff in 1983 and appointed to the top job 6 months later.

Sullivan testified before congressional subcommittees on several occasions, weighing in on various law enforcement issues.

President Bill Clinton named Sullivan in 1995 to the National Commission on Crime Prevention and Control. According to a 1995 White House news release, Sullivan was a consultant to U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime and served on two advisory councils affiliated with the Department of Justice.

More from Investigates
  • Jeffrey D Wood

    maybe he will meet himself a nice friend in the jail hes named after, long term commitment? wink wink nudge nudge say no more

    • tn

      Tomorrow from 1:00PM to 2:00PM, Pat Sullivan will be signing autographs at his corner jail home-suite-home named “Pat’s Corner.” No charge for flat items; round items are even exchange for sex. No photographs, please.

  • Dave

    Crime behind the badge? What a surprise!

  • ErnestPayne

    Another of the unintended side effects of the WAR ON DRUGS. Wait till the mexican drug gangs move north.

  • denvervet

    You cant make this stuff up, its almost unreal. Will take me a while to digest this.

  • Carol Besch

    Take away his awards, change the name of the jail, this guy deserves no respect!

  • Guy Petersen Jr

    More harm is done by over zealous prohibitionist than has ever been done by a marijuana plant.
    American’s are tired of seeing dirty cops planting drugs on innocent civilians, selling guns to drug cartels, receiving billions of dollars to incarcerate more people than any other country, getting kick backs for seizing property, and using fear as a tool to make us stop using drugs.

    If harm reduction was the main priority for law enforcement they would be doing the right thing by making drugs a health issue instead of a crime issue. If the government would divert the billions of dollars they give to law enforcement every year and give it to health professionals there would be substantially more harm reduction for American citizens.

  • Dave Infinger

    This cop along with all the others are corrupt and we need to quit believing anything they say on the stand.


    Then me and Lorenzo, chilling in the benzo

  • Bob Tomak

    There are multiple witnesses who claim (on the record) that Pat Sullivan molested them when they were children. This man is a pedophile.

    The true story is much bigger than this.

    • ron

      bob i agree but why is the media/news keeping this under wraps pete broyls is the only one who talked about this what is his status now

  • Devan

    All Coloradans should feel proud of Sheriff Sullivan, not ashamed. What’s a little meth-for-sex when he valiantly protected Arapahoe County from the scourge of medical marijuana?

  • warrengonline

    This is sad, truly, truly sad.

  • lynn harr

    absolutely correct…i wonder if he’ll get the 11 yrs my child got for pot….never gonna happen…and the story is much bigger than this,,,he’s just one of many…its like a house of cards…..

  • g mcknight

    we have a sick and corrupted society !!!!!!
    father of a murdered 10 year old

  • ALB

    This comes as no surprise from a liberal dressed up in RINO clothing. Not only did this so-called respected member of law enforcement hypocritically espouse draconian drug policy (while no doubt partaking of drugs himself), but he deprived law abiding citizens the right to receive legal permits to carry firearms while trying to buy off local Colorado gun rights activists with a “buddy” concealed carry permit (when permits were almost impossible to acquire). Sheriff Sullivan was the Brady Campaign’s RINO poster child for gun control, and testified on behalf of Handgun Control Inc. in favor of the Brady Bill before Congress. Sheriff Sullivan was one of the main obstacles to passing concealed carry in Colorado. Apparently the anti-gun crowd thinks men like this (drug using, sex crazed, deviants) should set a standard for who can own a gun and who can’t.

    Sheriff Sullivan’s big government, “control freak” mentatlity no doubt accounted for him being recognized by the Clinton administration.

  • Nick

    No one is above the law huh? Tell that to the people raping my country.

  • joekoncur

    An honest cop is rare, most of them are crooks that don’t get caught. Finally, this one got what he deserves!!!

  • joekoncur

    a crooked cop is not new, read this Denver Post story:

blog comments powered by Disqus
News Updates & Notifications

Listen Live

AM/FM Stations

Featured Shows & Multimedia