DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– A former Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy, Dean Harris, has pleaded guilty to impersonating a peace officer. The charge is a felony and the sentence is probation for the next two years.
“I lost it. I lost my frickin’ mind,” Harris told CBS4 by phone. “I admit it. I did what I did.”
The incident occurred July 21 in Lone Tree when Harris, 58, and his wife were driving on Interstate 25. He says two teenage girls in another vehicle were driving erratically.
”These two kids almost killed me and my wife on the highway.”
The two 18-year-old girls, Jade Brinley and Abby Wolery, who declined to be interviewed by CBS4, used a cellphone to record what happened next on a highway off ramp. Harris, who had retired in April from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, can be seen flashing his badge from his SUV.
”Next time you cut me off at 80,” says Harris on the video, “you know who I am. I am Deputy Harris. I was your SRO (School Resource Officer) at the high school. I never forget a face… you’re going to jail.”
The teenagers were able to get a picture of Harris’ license plate and contacted law enforcement.
“I did a total confession,” said Harris.
In court in October, Harris pleaded guilty and received a deferred sentence. He will be on probation for two years and must perform 50 hours of community service.
Dan Warhola, a prosecutor in the 18th Judicial District, said the girls’ videotape proved critical.
“It shows me this is a guy who is frustrated with what he believes took place. It also shows a guy overreaching his bounds who still believes he is an officer when he is no longer a deputy,” said Warhola.
As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors asked that Harris be required to surrender his old badge.
“We asked for that to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Warhola.
Harris said he had a “spotless record” as a deputy and what occurred was “a moment in time.”