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iefing Ro om


August 2013




A magazine of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office


August 2013

THE BRIEFING ROOM The Douglas County Sheriff's Office Magazine


Did you know? 

Every deputy on the Hazardous Materials Response Team volunteered for the assignment. Deputies are not assigned to the team because of the inherent dangers involved with handling toxic chemicals and explosives. The team’s primary mission is to respond to criminal releases of hazardous materials, mitigate the effects, investigate and prepare for possible prosecution.

Inside this issue: School Safety, messages


New Justice Center




YESS Parent Boot Camp


Douglas County Motor


Threatening skies


Safe Talk by YESS


Explorers go for gold


National Night Out


Blue Thunder Ride


Peers Helping Peers 30 Suicide Intervention Training


Regional 911 strives


Lethal viruses so small they can’t be seen, radiological materials that can be breathed in, poisonous gas that leaves no scent or taste ..most of us would run screaming from a job description like this. After all, one wrong move could mean death. But there are eight men and women across Douglas County who have volunteered to be on an elite team of law enforcement that focuses on hazardous materials. Members of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Hazardous Materials Response Team undergo extensive training year-round to respond to suspected biological, chemical, radioactive and explosive materials. Because they’re law enforcement too, they can also make arrests. It’s a special kind of job for a special kind of person.

When you read this month’s Cover Story: Hazmat with a Gun, you’ll see just how unique these team members are compared to other hazmat teams around the country. Let’s just say none of them skipped their chemistry labs or biology classes. This team is prepared to respond with and support the DCSO’s Bomb Team or other special teams in case they encounter explosive chemicals, riot control agents and other dangerous materials. READ MORE ABOUT THE HMRT INSIDE THIS MONTH’S BRIEFING ROOM Chemicals and Cops: The DCSO HMRT trains to handle the release of weapons of mass de-

BACK TO SCHOOL Kids need to be safe getting to and from school. Parents should walk the route to and from school with kids and show them safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. If your child rides the bus, visit the bus stop with them so they know which to take.

Show kids how to get on and off the bus safely, stay in the site of the bus driver and how to check for traffic before crossing the street. Teach kids to always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle, ride in the same direction as traffic and to know and

follow the rules of the road. Dress your kids in bright colors so that drivers can see them better. Practice “what if” situations and ask your children how they would respond. “What if you fell off your bike and needed help? Who would you ask?”


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Talk to us!

“Now that kids are going back to school, we need to be hyper-alert when driving and watch out for students.” --Undersheriff Tony Spurlock

August is here and that means back to school! The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office encourages you to protect your kids and get them ready for the new school year. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:  Texting and driving is illegal in Colorado – more importantly it can hurt or even kill someone.  Make a commitment to yourself and family to NOT text and drive.  Put your phone in a place you can’t reach so you won’t be tempted.

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Never pass or overtake a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk. Do not drive with distractions (cell phones, headphones, eating, etc.) Pay attention to and follow all speed limits. Look ahead for potential dangers or people in the roadway/ crosswalks. This is also true for wildlife in the roadway. When school is out be alert for an increase in children playing close to the roadway.

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Stop for pedestrians at designated cross walks. Always yield to pedestrians making turns at intersections. Know your surroundings and be a good defensive driver.

Behind the Badge with Undersheriff Tony Spurlock Kids need to be safe at home after school too. Some ideas for you: Teach your children their full names, address and phone numbers. Make sure they know your full name too. Show them how to call 911 in an emergency and give them the name and number of a trusted adult they can call for help. Choose a backpack for your child with wide comfortable straps. Pack light

and use both straps to avoid muscle strains. Pack your kids healthy lunches with fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products and water. Place the family computer in a public area and monitor who they’re talking to and which sites they’re visiting. Use privacy setting on social networking sites. Teach your child when and how to ask for help. Support activities that

interest your child. Children should have a set time when they’re expected to be home and should check in with a neighbor or parent .

SUMMER STUDIES Studies show that students shouldn’t take a break from learning even during summer break. That’s because experts say children will lose their critical skills during their three months off. In fact, a report from the National Summer Learning Association says students lose about two months of learning or about 22-percent of the school year. That means teachers have to spend

the first two months in fall recapping everything they did last year. That’s two months of lost teaching time for new subjects and skills. The same goes for vacation. Experts say the memory loss begins after just three days. So when you take your upcoming holiday breaks, remember to help your children pick up a book and study for a while. It’ll make it so much easier on them when the school bell rings again!

Jack reading this summer

It’s not too late! Pick up a book and read it with your child

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“We answered 195 questions last week. That’s 195 people who weren’t lost in the Justice Center abyss.” —Lt. Keith Penry, Detention Division

Justice Center gets new Ambassador


alking into the Robert A. Christensen Justice Center can be like walking into a labyrinth. There are half a dozen offices on three levels, hallways that seem to wind on forever and signs pointing in every direction. Then, someone politely asks, “Can I help you?” That’s volunteer Tom Stacy, the Justice Center’s new Ambassador. His only job is to read the fear and confusion on your face and offer help. “I look at people coming through the door and try to read if they need something. If it looks like they do, then I ask if I can help them find something. It’s always a good service helping people learn where to go instead of letting them wander around,” Tom said. Tom became the official greeter last month after he followed around a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) specialist to learn where everything was located. He’s a retired purchasing manager at a chemical company and has been volunteering at the DCSO for two years. “It’s a chance to be out of the house and it’s really fun to meet people. I feel like I’m doing something to contribute to the sheriff’s office.” The look of relief on visitors’ faces says the hospitality is working. “I’ve been coming here for five years and it’s a great idea because it’s always hard to figure out where to go,” said one man. Tom takes about 200 questions a week during this threeday shift. Most people want to know where the courtroom is for first appearances. Others question him about traffic tickets. They also ask where the bathrooms are and he points the way. But there’s a limit to what Tom can do. “I said to a woman, ‘Can I help you?’ She answered, ‘Yeah. I need a good-looking man with money and a motor home.” The ambassador idea came from Lt. Keith Penry in the Detention Division after he noticed security guards and specialists Lt. Keith Penry in the lobby were being pepDetention Division pered with questions, which

interrupted their regular work. So, Lt. Penry got everyone in the building on board for an ambassador; the district attorney, probation office, clerk of the court, the coroner, Community Justice Services and the sheriff’s office. “Tom is filling a void that’s been there since the day we opened. We’ve needed this feature for the residents of Douglas County for years,” Lt. Penry said. Since statistics show most people only come into contact with law enforcement once every seven years, Lt. Penry says it’s the only chance to make a positive impact on them. “The idea is to make the experience less intrusive. Coming into the Justice Center can be scary. There you are trying to take care of your rights and now, one less thing you have to worry about is how do I get to my first appearance in court, where is the clerk, where is the coroner?” said Lt. Penry. “It’s to their benefit and they also have one of their own community members helping make sure their visit goes smoothly.” The DCSO’s welcome wagon aka ambassador works the busiest shifts three days a week. But the office would like to add ambassadors and be able to greet people during all open hours. If you’re interested in volunteering for the position, please call or email DCSO’s Community Resources at (303) 660-7544 and

People standing in the parking lot of the Justice Center

On-line sites such as Google Street View, Facebook, Twitter, and Four Square are being used by burglars to target our homes and businesses. Google Street View can show close up images of your home or business. Some of the information people post on these web sites about themselves can make them vulnerable to burglars, examples of information that can be used by criminals include: Your address Showing pictures of your new expensive toys Your job, your routine, or work schedule That you are on vacation and away from home Your exact whereabouts during the day A recent article on alleges that over 75% of convicted burglars believe that other burglars are using social media to find targets. Some sophisticated criminals may be able to use the GPS information imbedded in your photos or messages to determine where you are and when you took the photo or sent the message. Please think about taking the following precautions regarding social media: Limiting your information to “friends” only – not including friends of friends Take a vacation from social media when on vacation or planning for vacation Send your vacation messages and photos after you return home Evaluate the information you put on-line by thinking like a criminal Would the info help the criminal victimize you? Your birth date, etc.

View of the Justice Center from Google Earth on August 8, 2013

Hazmat w

DCSO’S HazarDOuS Mat


hen a tanker truck flips over and dumps chemicals onto the street, guys in puffy white suits, rubber gloves and gas masks will clean up the spill. Usually, they’re firefighters. But there’s another hazmat team i today that’s all law. Some call it ‘hazmat w

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Ha Response Team (HRMT) is one of a few tea made up of cops, not firefighters.

The hazmat team started in 1992 with on with clean-ups of chemical spills. Then, af 11th terrorist attacks, it grew into a Type 3 t sion.

The HRMT members now train to respo Weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s): ch radiological, nuclear and explosive.

Team Leader Deputy Ed Seal, who joine says that if WMD’s are made or brought int they are going to be ready to deal with the

“We train to handle a WMD call, hoping w it. Because if we get the call, that means a ing to be suffering,” Deputy Seal says. “At are trained to recognize when it’s not an ac venting panic is just as important”

Seal says hazmat members see a crime than other officers. While detectives are st ters and patrol officers are chasing down s ficers will notice seemingly random items clandestine lab may exist somewhere in th ing prepped for a lab. Hazmat cops consid community and their fellow officers param

with a Gun

terialS reSpOnSe teaM “We’re training and prepared for WMD’s and hoping nothing ever happens.” –Deputy Ed Seal, Team leader DCSO’s HRMT.

in Douglas County with a gun.’

“We’re looking for evidence of a lab, certain chemicals or their precursors, byproducts, waste, safety gear, etc.,” Seal says. “For example, if an investigator

were to call us and say ‘I’m at this house on such and such a call and there are some botazardous Materials tles here labeled sodium sulams in the region fide and another that starts with Thionyl but I can’t read ne deputy to deal the rest - do I need to be worfter the September ried?’ I would advise him team with a new mis- ‘Yeah, you need to be worried. Don’t touch anything and get out of there, we’re on ond to terrorism. the way.” hemical, biological, There are not a lot of calls ed the HRMT in 1999, like that in Douglas County. Instead, the team is more to the metro area likely to respond or provide DEPUTY ED SEAL em. technical expertise to reports we never have to use of suspicious white powders,  HRMT Team Leader lot of people are gochemical suicides and meth  Joined hazmat team in 1999 t the same time, we labs. ct of terrorism - pre Has 4,000+ hours of training “Meth labs are very  Served in US Army & CO Army nasty. People can get burned e scene differently National Guard 20 years or killed mixing the chemitudying blood splatcals and children in the suspects, hazmat ofhouse have often suffered that may indicate a chemical burns and splatters.” he building or is beEvery pound of meth that’s made creates six pounds of hazder the safety of the ardous waste. HazMat COntinueD On next page…. mount.

DCSO’S HazarDOuS MaterialS reSpOnSe teaM COntinueD….

unteer to be on the team. The upside is protecting people but the downside is death. Despite the obvious danger, deputies like Ed Seal and his team stepup. “I don’t want anyone messing with our children or our country,” says Seal, who served in the US Army and CO Army National Guard for 20 years. It takes a special kind of person to join the team. They describe themselves as having a “The products that are used in meth labs by themselves are dangerous and when they start combining them, it gets even worse. The atmosphere is toxic and can be flammable or explosive. Many of the chemicals in a lab, including their mist vapors, can cause burns to body tissues. Long-term exposure to the toxic fumes can cause chronic problems and cancer. Some of the byproduct gasses are so deadly that even one breath can kill you,” Seal says. To them, it’s all hazardous and deadly. Breathing in .1 milligram of anthrax can be lethal. The nerve agent Sarin is so volatile, it can spread in air. Skin contact of ten milligrams of the chemical weapon VX kills victims in minutes. That’s why deputies have to vol-

twisted sense of humor, adventurous, fearless. They can’t be claustrophobic because they have to wear hazmat suits or “body bags with a window.” They’re dedicated and loyal. They don’t mind training, then training some more. They’re willing to be exposed to chemical weapons and

will train in areas where nuclear devices have been detonated. The training never ends. So far, Seal has 4,000 hours under his belt. In addition to all of that, they’re working their “real” jobs. Some work in

investigations, on patrol and in detention. One is a deputy fire marshal for Castle Rock Fire and Rescue and another is a patrol officer with the Parker Police Department. “We work everywhere but we come together to train.” The men and women handle and train with live materials such as anthrax, botulism, mustard and various other nerve, blood and blister agents at the Advanced Chemical & Biological Integrated Response Course provided by the Dugway Proving Ground. They also get advanced WMD Hazardous Materials Technician train-

ing from the US Dept. of Homeland Security. As they keep training to stay prepared, they keep hoping nothing ever happens.

DCSO’S HazarDOuS MaterialS reSpOnSe teaM COntinueD….


Meet DCSO’S HazarDOuS M 

Officer Jake Schuster (PPD), Patrol Officer – Senior Technician (not pictured.)

Deputy Erik Brown (DCSO), Detentions – Technician (on the far right in picture.)

Deputy Brian Pereira (DCSO), Detentions – Operations (second from the right in picture.)

Deputy Chad Mason (DCSO), Detentions - Operations (not pictured.)

s and Cops

MaterialS reSpOnSe teaM 

Lt. Tommy Barrella (DCSO) – Team Commander (not pictured.)

Deputy Ed Seal (DCSO), Safety and Security Officer – Team Leader / Senior Technician (center of picture.)

Detective Heather Mykes (DCSO), Investigations – Senior Technician (second from the left in photo.)

Lt Steve Thone (CRFD, ) Deputy Fire Marshal – Senior Technician (pictured first on the left.)

DCSO’S HazarDOuS MaterialS reSpOnSe teaM COntinueD….


ow do you practice handling unstable chemicals that are ready to go BOOM? With putt-putt golf.

The team puts on thick, heavy, chemical resistant splash suits with air packs, plus rubber boots and gloves and make their way around a tiny golf course with tiny clubs. They practice picking up and moving around the golf balls without hitting obstacles. The game’s hard enough without trying to see the ball through a gas mask! Meanwhile, the temperature keeps climbing inside those rubber suits, which are designed to keep the air which, in a real situation, might contain deadly toxic chemicals.

Douglas County Motor Vehicle Updates

OFFICE HOURS CHANGE: Effective September 3, 2013, the hours of operation for all three Douglas County Motor Vehicle Title and Registration Offices will change to: 8:00 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

RENEW ONLINE - UP TO THE LAST DAY OF YOUR GRACE PERIOD: Individuals can complete their registration renewals online, within the last 14 days of the month (including the last day of their grace period), and legally drive the vehicle for 14 days until tags are received in the mail. Online renewals can be paid for by e-check or by credit/debit card. The e-check fee is $1.00. There will be an opportunity to print a registration receipt that will act as the vehicle’s registration for 14 days from the online renewal date. Please note: Insurance must be in our database and a passing emissions test (if required) must have been obtained at least 48 hours prior to renewing online. RENEW ONLINE AT:

PARK MEADOWS MOTOR VEHICLE OFFICE: Visit our newest Douglas County Motor Vehicle Office, conveniently located in the old Sheriff’s Substation at 9350 Heritage Hills Circle in Lone Tree.

Thunderhead Elbert County JulyJuly 2013 Thunderheadforming formingover over Elbert County, 2013 Photography by DCSO Capt. Captain Attila Denes Photography by DCSO Attila Denes



On National Night Out ar in Douglas County on Au met neighbors and sherif -hopping to introduce the they protect and serve. Undersheriff Tony Spurlock tells neighbors about safety

We had a great time! See

(If you’d like to hold a block party on NN Tom Cornelius, Community Resources

Residents in Pronghorn Park had yummy cookies!

Folks on Hawthorne Street held their fifth NNO block party!



round Highlands Ranch ugust 6th, neighbors ff’s deputies went party emselves to the people THANK YOU!

Residents poked fun at deputies and donuts!

e you next year!

(No one was arrested.)

NO August 6, 2014, please contact at or 303-

An Explorer signs autographs for kids

Children try on Sgt. Croushore’s heavy SWAT vest

National Night Out 2013, Unincorporated Douglas County

I wish I were a K-9 dog!

Picco sits on K-9 vehicle during National Night Out. August 6, 2013


n Sunday, August 18th, we will be kicking off the 14th annual Blue Thunder Motorcycle Run in memory of Deputy Ron King who was killed in the line of duty in 1999. Ron served his community as a deputy sheriff with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and worked in the traffic enforcement unit. While on duty on his motorcycle, he was struck and killed by a DUI driver. It is in his honor that the Ron King Organization was formed. Ron not only believed in kids, he believed in a positive future for each and every child. He spent his working and personal hours pursuing that mission. His passion to help and to believe in kids continues through the efforts of the Ron King Organization.

The proceeds will continue to fund our scholarship program, our Student Assistance program and the Officer’s Benefit fund. Pre-Registration is available on-line at Registration is Sunday morning, August 18th, beginning at 8:30 am at the Douglas County Justice Center located at 4000 Justice Way, Castle Rock, CO. $25 registration fee per bike – passengers are free.

History: The Ron King Organization is a 501c3. Traditionally, over the last 14 years, we have supported the youth of our community by awarding college scholarships to support a young person’s dream of further education, as well as contributing to the maintenance of the law enforcement memorial located at the entrance of the Douglas County Justice Center. The mission statement of the organization is to promote unity between the public and law enforcement personnel through fundraising to assist the youth of our community and law enforcement families suffering from hardships, including line of duty injuries and deaths. Recently, the organization developed the Ron King Student Assistance Grant Fund. This will be available for all students grades 9-12 within the Douglas County Community and the Denver Metro area as assistance to help cover costs related to school academics and athletic situations where a family may have, or is, suffering hardships of some kind. The application for these funds can be found on the official web site of the organization. The public is invited to come and celebrate the legacy of a dedicated officer and remember all those that have given their lives in the line of duty.


on not only believed in kids, he believed in a positive future for each and every child. He spent his working and personal hours pursuing that mission. His passion to help and to believe in kids continues through the efforts of the Ron King Organization.

TIP-A-COP event by Parker Police On June 22 benefited Special Olympics!! Special thanks to Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurant in Parker!

DCSO does credit to public safety assessment Assessors say they’re “very impressed” with dispatch center Douglas County – Assessors who scrutinized the Douglas Regional 911 Communications Center for four days, say they’re “very impressed” with the way it protects public safety. “This was up there with one of the better inspections I’ve ever done. I’ve very much enjoyed it,” Michael West, from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), said. “I truly feel your agency is committed to providing timely, efficient service to your community. It’s evident. It’s been a great on-sight inspection.” The assessors are inspecting the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) dispatch and communications center to see if it meets CALEA’s standards for superior public safety services and professional excellence. The DCSO is voluntarily seeking the accreditation, which is a highly prized credential across the world. If CALEA awards the communications center accreditation, it will be the second in Colorado to earn the credential. Sheriff David A. Weaver thanked his communications team for taking on the task. “What we want to be remembered by is our service to this community. Think about if it was your mom, dad or son or daughter on the other end of that phone and treat everyone that way,” Sheriff Weaver said. “I’m very proud of you for the excellent work you do.” As if an invisible gun fired in January, the communications center started running full speed to try to achieve accreditation in record time. The process be prepared for an assessment normally takes two years. DCSO was ready to go in eight months.

The Regional Dispatch center handles communications for Douglas and Elbert counties. In 2012, dispatchers answered some 210,000 calls in the center and 138,000 of them were dispatched calls for service to agencies.

Call Taker Katie Graves dispatches calls

The assessors will now present their report to CALEA, which will make a final determination in November. Accredited status is granted for three years during which time the agency must submit annual reports attesting to continued compliance with those standards under which it was reaccredited.

Douglas County Sheriff's Office

At the Robert A. Christensen Justice Center 4000 Justice Center Way Castle Rock, CO 80109

For questions about the Briefing Room contact Deborah Sherman, PIO 303.814.7067

Talk to us!

August 2013 briefing room  

This month we highlight the Douglas County Sheriff's Office hazmat team, otherwise known as Hazmat With a Gun. Also, the Justice Center gets...

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