DENVER (CBS4) – Alfredo Hernandez, the Chief of Staff for the Denver Sheriff’s Department, is on paid leave pending the outcome of a human resources investigation. Hernandez was placed on investigatory leave on Thursday, according to officials with the sheriff’s department.

(credit: CBS)

“We can confirm that Alfredo Hernandez is currently on investigatory leave,” said Daria Serna, spokesperson with the Denver Sheriff’s Department. “We are unable to release any additional information during the current HR investigation.”

The sheriff’s department has not said why Hernandez is under investigation, but he was mentioned in a Facebook post Wednesday morning by Lisa Calderon, Chief of Staff for Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca.

“The boys will be boys culture continues at City Hall. Yesterday we were “mansplained” by the interim Sheriff’s chief of staff & community engagement director when talking about a culture dominated by men,” stated Calderon in the Facebook post. “This was after hearing that the fire chief was given a soft landing six-figure demotion [like former Sheriff Firman after gender discrimination complaints] stemming from repeated events that made Latino fire fighters the target of their sexual jokes.”

Calderon goes on to accuse Mayor Hancock’s administration of rewarding bad behavior following the resignation of Denver Fire Chief Eric Tade. Tade said a catalyst for him stepping down was the Firefighters Annual Ball last weekend, organized by the department’s union. The event featured sexually charged content that he found offensive.

Eric Tade (credit: CBS)

Tade will step down as Chief on March 16, but will remain with the department as an Assistant Chief. The department has previously faced controversy for its treatment of women.

Last year, a former DFD lieutenant was charged with planting a hidden camera in the firehouse room of a female firefighter. The case against Daniel Flesner is still pending.

In 2016, the department paid female firefighter Camilla Von Burkhardt $75,000 after she filed a lawsuit saying sexual harassment was “pervasive” at the department and ingrained in department culture. The payment settled her claims against the department.

Former Capt. Colley Fisher received $975,000 from the city after she won her federal lawsuit against the Denver Fire Department. She said she was fired for filing complaints about gender discrimination. She had described the Denver Fire Department as a “boys club.”

Tade called the incidents isolated and not representative of the department.

“These are a few isolated incidents that don’t reflect over a thousand men and women who come to work every day and are dedicated and perform admirably,” said Tade in a 2019 interview.

 

Audra Streetman

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