DENVER (CBS4) – The conflicts that have caused public relations issues for the Denver Sheriff’s Department are getting cleaned up, starting with dozens of complaints against deputies that were ignored.
Inmate abuse at the hands of Denver sheriff’s deputies that are caught on camera have not only cost the city millions of dollars in payouts, but also forced a top-to-bottom review of the department.
More than 70% of all complaints, largely made by inmates, have been addressed according to internal affairs standards. New protocol was introduced and more investigators added to review complaints, which officials hope will have a positive impact on the department moving forward.
“We had some challenges that needed some immediate and direct attention,” said Stephanie O’Malley, Executive Director of Public Safety.
One of the biggest challenges was cleaning up a backlog of internal affairs cases: complaints against deputies that hadn’t yet been investigated.
Former Arapahoe Sheriff Grayson Robinson was hired to take on that challenge. He identified 129 cases and, in just a few months, 93 have been resolved.
“Resolution of the case for us is defined as being completely and thoroughly investigated, and then documented in a report format that we are proud to move forward,” explained Robinson.
More help, more training, and better leadership have helped streamline the process.
Interim Sheriff Elias Diggins believes that will benefit everyone involved, “That was one of the greatest concerns not just for the public but for our staff and for the folks that are in our custody–was that things took a very long time to get resolved.”
Prior to the changes that have been made, an internal affairs investigator had a case load of roughly 30. It has now been reduced to eight.
The Office of the Independent Monitor will look at each case even after the internal affairs review. That office says they have seen significant changes in this short amount of time, but there is still work to be done.