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Mayor’s Office Creates Committee To Lead Sheriff Selection

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DENVER (CBS4) - The mayor’s office on Thursday said it’s created a supervisory committee to help the search for a new sheriff and oversee policy review at the beleaguered sheriff’s department.

Gary Wilson stepped down from his post in July after several embarrassments and blunders — including repeated accusations of excessive force — cast an unflattering shadow on the department. Elias Diggins, a veteran in the sheriff’s office, is a temporary replacement while the city searches for candidates.

Former Sheriff Gary Wilson, right, and interim Sheriff Elias Diggins, left speak during a news conference announcing that Wilson will step aside from his post. (credit: CBS)

Former Sheriff Gary Wilson, right, and interim Sheriff Elias Diggins, left speak during a news conference announcing that Wilson will step aside from his post. (credit: CBS)

Mayor Michael Hancock said the city has also contracted an independent investigator, James H. Davis, to provide expertise to the committee, which will look into policy, procedure, discipline and training at the department. The committee will lead four task forces that are investigating the department.

“This is not a culture that was developed overnight. It’s certainly not an issue we are going to solve overnight. We’re going to have to dig deep. That’s why we need people like Jim Davis who bring special expertise and understanding,” said Hancock.

CBS4's Valerie Castro interviews former Sheriff Gary Wilson at the jail. (credit: CBS)

CBS4′s Valerie Castro interviews former Sheriff Gary Wilson at the jail. (credit: CBS)

“Everything is on the table,” Hancock said in a statement. “This team will create a full action plan by year’s end to turn around this department and make it one we can all be proud of.”

Davis will help locate an outside firm to conduct a review of the department and identify potential sheriffs. He served as Gov. John Hickenlooper’s executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety and as the governor’s homeland security adviser. He spent 26 years in the FBI, where he helmed operations for the FBI in Colorado and Wyoming. He now runs a Denver-based security and risk management company called Ascent Risk Solutions.

This spring, the city created four task forces, composed of city and community leaders, to address mounting concerns at the sheriff’s department.

On Thursday, Hancock’s office said it’s also created a separate committee that will review efficiency and effectiveness in that department. Called a “Peak Performance” team, it will also play a role in selecting a new sheriff. The committees will present their finding this fall.

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