DENVER (CBS4) – From assault to drug use, the Denver Sheriff’s Department has faced allegations of misconduct and abuse over the last several months.
Video of deputies assaulting a seemingly compliant inmate surfaced earlier this month, along with allegations that a deputy turned a blind eye while inmates attacked another inmate, scalding him with water. That same deputy is even accused of bringing pornography and drugs into the jail.
“What we’ve seen is there are some good officers who are making some pretty bad decisions,” Sheriff Gary Wilson said.
Wilson told CBS4 the accusations have been disappointing.
“We expect the best out of our officers and when we get less than that, first of all that’s embarrassing to the department and that’s embarrassing to the city,” he said.
Wilson told CBS4 he has a plan to help deputies struggling on the job. He said that while some deputies do need discipline, many of the issues stem from a stressful work environment. Wilson also says a increase in mentally ill inmates has changed the way officers are trained.
The sheriff says the department wants to be proactive before more problems arise. It will now assign an agency mentor to new recruits, require recruits to identify a friend or family member to be a support system, and offer training for spouses and significant others to recognize signs of stress at home.
A holistic wellness program will also be created.
“(It’s) an opportunity for officers to engage in physical fitness, also to engage in healthy eating plans. We also want to make sure that we are focusing on any psychological or counseling that they may need,” Wilson said.
The new programs for recruits will be implemented with the next academy, which starts up in August.
The sheriff hopes the holistic wellness program will be in place by the end of the year.