DENVER (CBS4) — Using a new law for the first time, the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board on Friday revoked the certifications of six officers for making untruthful statements while on duty.
The offenses ranged from dishonest handling of criminal justice records to lying while under oath or during internal affairs investigations.READ MORE: With Face Masks No Longer Mandated For Those Who Are Vaccinated, Business Owners Navigate Uncertainty
The ruling means those six former officers can never work in a law enforcement capacity in the state of Colorado again.
“Public trust is achieved when law enforcement officers act with honesty and accountability,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser, who serves as POST Board chair. “While the vast majority of peace officers honor this trust each and every day they put on their badge, unfortunately, there are some officers that do not belong in this profession.”
The action is the first as a result of the state legislature passing Senate Bill 19-166 in 2019.
The officers’ employers reported the infractions to POST as required by law.READ MORE: COVID In Colorado: Governor's Office Lifts Face Mask Mandate For Those Who Are Vaccinated
The six were no longer part of their departments by the time the POST Board made its decisions Friday, according to Lawrence Pacheco, a spokesman for the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. All but one had their employment ceased at least eight months prior, he said.
Those who were de-certified:
- Christopher Goble, a former Lone Tree Police Department officer who knowingly made an untruthful statement concerning a material fact or knowingly omitted a material fact during an internal affairs investigation between September 11, 2019 and December 20, 2019.
- Richard Jones, a former Pueblo Police Department officer who knowingly made an untruthful statement concerning a material fact or knowingly omitted a material fact while testifying under oath on October 16, 2019.
- Christopher Tonge, formerly of the Bayfield Marshal’s Office, knowingly made an untruthful statement concerning a material fact or knowingly omitted a material fact during an administrative investigation and/or disciplinary process on January 9, 2020.
- Russell Smith, a former El Paso County Sheriff’s Office employee, knowingly made an untruthful statement concerning a material fact or knowingly omitted a material fact on an official criminal justice record between November 28, 2019 and February 3, 2020.
- Jeremy Gay, a former Delta Police Department officer, knowingly made an untruthful statement concerning a material fact or knowingly omitted a material fact on an official criminal justice record on March 19, 2020.
- Lara Dreiling, a former Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office deputy, knowingly made an untruthful statement concerning a material fact or knowingly omitted a material fact on an official criminal justice record and during an internal affairs investigation on October 23, 2019.
The six officers were each given the opportunity to oppose the revocations in a hearing. None of the six requested one.
“Integrity is the cornerstone for positive relationships between law enforcement officers and their communities,” said POST Director Erik Bourgerie. “When individual peace officers violate this trust, it damages that relationship for everyone in the profession. It is essential that we hold these persons accountable and ensure they will no longer serve in Colorado as certified peace officers.”
The Board also de-certified two other officers Friday for criminal infractions. A former Park County Sheriff’s Officer deputy, Sara Marie Strickland, pleaded guilty to a felony burglary charge in Denver. Justin D. Moore, a former Durango PD officer, had pleaded earlier to misdemeanor assault and harassment charges stemming from an incident in La Plata County.MORE NEWS: COVID In Colorado: Excitement Builds As Children Ages 12-15 Begin To Get Pfizer Vaccine
Colorado’s revocations are added to a national database called the National Decertification Index.