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The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Magazine

December 2012

The Briefing Room 2012 - A year of


TOP GUNS DCSO earns international award for excellence in record time

WATCH AND LEARN CHRISTMAS KIDS Your kids at the Mansion for hay rides, shopping and Santa.

Public safety videos warn of dangers

MOVING DAY A paralyzed military veteran moves into home built by volunteers and donors

PLUS > Civilian of the Year > Special Olympics > Crime Maps



COVER: A YEAR OF EXCELLENCE Douglas County Sheriff David A. Weaver, Undersheriff Tony Spurlock and Captain Darren Weekly, Professional Services, pose with CALEA award.

CONTACT: Deborah Sherman Community Resources 303.660.7544 Sgt. Ron Hanavan Community Resources ONLINE: CALENDER OF EVENTS:


Message from the Sheriff


Beyond the Call of Duty


Civilian of the Year

10 Welcome Home, Corporal 12 Every Day Heroes 13 Behind the Badge 14 Friendly Faces Fake Us Out 16 Wear jeans, raise money 17 Free Crime Mapping 18 New Narcotics Tip Line 19 Let your blue lights shine 20 Cops Fighting Cancer 24 Christmas at the HR Man26 The Childhood Cancer Fighting Ninja 28 Suicide Prevention videos

COVER STORY The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office becomes the first law enforcement agency in the county to attain CALEA accreditation for professional excellence. See story on page 4 & 5.

MESSAGE FROM SHERIFF DAVID A. WEAVER The year 2012 has been filled with more highs and lows than any other year I can remember. Six law enforcement officers killed across the state. Seventy people shot in a movie theater. Children lost their lives. Fires burned down homes. That’s just in Colorado. Nationally, there were tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy and high gasoline prices.


plauded Deputy Randy Allen for saving a life.

While all of that was happening, a dedicated team of employees worked hard behind the scenes to finetune the policies and practices of the department that would land us in the same class as other top law enforcement agencies in the world. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies In the chaos, the men and women of the Douglas awarded this office CALEA accreditation in NoCounty Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) buckled down vember for professional excellence. It was done in and got to work. More than a few individuals record time and the DCSO became the first law enshined like never before. This month, we honored forcement agency in the county to hold the title. Our three people for being the deputy, civilian and employees are proud of the accomplishment and we Community Safety Volunteer of the year. We hope you know you’re getting the best service awarded several others for their outstanding work around. Yes, it was a hard year. But with some hard in the field of Special Olympics, emergency man- work and special people, we rose above it all. agement and meritorious service. We also apHappy Holidays.

Mike Darrah


Community Safety Volunteer of the Year

“Special Olympics has not only changed my life, it has given me life.” Athlete Allison Hess with Deputy Brian McKnight, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

Beyond the Call of Duty



Sgt. Ron Hanavan & Dep. Michelle Rademacher

Together with Deputies Cocha Heyden,

Chad Teller and James Mason

Recognized for supporting Special Olympics



Professional Excellence



Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) is the first law enforcement in the county to receive CALEA accreditation.

“I’m so proud of our office, especially the people who work here,” Sheriff David A. Weaver said. “It shows the community that he Douglas we work for that we are County Sher- doing the very same iff’s Office things as other top law joined a enforcement agencies and highly-regarded group of that we’re in line with inthe best law enforcement ternational standards.” agencies in the world when it was awarded in- The Sheriff’s Office techternational accreditation nically had three years to work toward its accreditaby the Commission on tion status. But the team Accreditation for Law rose to the challenge and Enforcement Agencies pulled it off in two years. (CALEA). Accreditation agency calls Sheriff’s employees and programs “incredible.”


It just goes to show that we’re doing exactly what we should be doing for the residents of Douglas County.” The accreditation, an effort by the entire department, was led by Captain Darren Weekly and his accreditation team members Deputy Heyden, Deputy Angie Bylin and Deputy Tom Vondra.

“We could not have been presented with this award in a record two-year time period had it not been for the leadership of our accreditation team,” the Sheriff said. “They truly went above and beyond their usual responsibilities and worked incrediCALEA officials gave “All of our hard work bly hard to make this the award to the Sheriff paid off. It was hard, tedi- happen.” and his staff for profes- ous work for two years,” The accreditation is a sional excellence in poli- Deputy Cocha Heyden, milestone event in the accreditation manager, cies and practices at a 151-year history of the ceremony in Jacksonsaid. Sheriff’s Office. The ville, Florida last month. “We are so proud. It was award is for three years The Douglas County a huge accomplishment. and the office is required 5

to maintain continuous compliance during the award period. CALEA evaluates law enforcement agencies worldwide for their abilities to deliver public safety services, for efficient use of resources and setting high standards and goals, among many other things. Studies show workers’ compensation, liability coverage and property claims drop significantly in accredited organizations. When the credentialing authority assessed the Office in August, it called it, “one of the best inspections ever” and said the people who work there are “incredible.” “We can see your mission, vision and value statements in everything you do, not just written on the walls.”



WHEN A CHILD WENT MISSING, CHERIE ABBOTT RAISED HER HAND TO HELP. “She became an invaluable part of the team...she worked hundreds of hours...and her leadership skills were very apparent,” Commander Dave Munoz, Commerce City Police, said.


n April of 2012, Commerce City began a long investigation in to the death of an infant. The investigation led to the Aurora Landfill and the search for the infant.

Cherie, with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services Office, volunteered to help with the search and become part of the Incident Command Structure. Cherie filled the role of Logistics Section 6 Chief and Plans Section Chief on many

occasions. She spent many hours at the landfill organizing the search for the infant. Her dedication to that effort directly resulted in the discovery of the infant. Cherie was commended by Commerce City for her effort in their investigation. Cherie received the Citizen Citation from the Commerce City Police Department on November 7, 2012. Douglas County Sheriff David A. Weaver also recognized Cherie for her outstanding work my naming her DCSO’s Civilian of the Year. “Some people shine in moments like that and Cherie Abbot is one of them. We are very proud to call her one of our own at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff David A. Weaver said.


CHERIE ABBOTT Emergency Services










WELCOME HOME, CORPORAL ‘Homes for Our Troops’ finishes building a house for a disabled veteran. Last month, the group handed the keys to soldier Nick Orchowski, his fie Jamie and their two children, Colton and Mikayla. PARKER - Corporal Nick Orchowski returned from Iraq eight years ago, but only last month considered himself really home. He and his wife opened the door to a house worth about $400,000 in the Elkhorn Ranch subdivision that was specifically built for his disabilities. The retired Army solder was riding in an armored Humvee in Baghdad in May 2004 when explosives tore through the tanker, blasted him out and broke his neck. With surgeries, will power and time, he can walk again. And with a new home, the soldier 11 has a place for his family that they otherwise would not

‘have been able to afford. Homes for Our Troops’ motto is ‘Building homes, rebuilding lives.” Indeed. The group raised $200,000 in donations from builders, suppliers, local businesses, schools and volunteers. People like Deputy Jay Martin of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office helped rally the efforts. The corporal thanks everyone who hammered a nail, carried wood, planted flowers and shopped for spoons. Nick told the group; “Thank you for your support and kindness, not only have you honored me as a veteran of combat, but you have also changed my family’s lives as well. I will no longer have to adapt to the unadapted. I have had to rely on other people to help me with most things in my new home. I will be able to be independent. Homes for Our Troops and their volunteers and donors depict the true American Spirit! Thank you!”

2012 AWARDS 12

SHERIFF’S COMMENDATION Tim Johnson Emergency Management Coordinator



LIFE SAVING AWARD Deputy Randy Allen

MERITORIOUS SERVICE AWARD Sgt. Mike Connolly, Victims’ Advocate Debbie Boyle, Deputies Tom Vondra, Rolf Widmer, Jason Walter and Spc. Julie Widmer

SHERIFF’S COMMENDATION Detective Chris Stadler and Call Taker Karen Jensen and Dispatcher Robin Pettit-Biegler 12


BEHIND THE BADGE TONY SPURLOCK RANK: Undersheriff JOINED DCSO: 1980 YOU’RE A DRIVING FORCE BEHIND A SERIES OF PUBLIC SAFETY VIDEOS ON-LINE. WHY? People face a lot of issues today and they’re not sure where to turn. These public safety videos are an instant resource for people whether they want to know about distracted driving, suicide prevention, or what to do when kids sell and use drugs. It’s easy to watch these videos on your home computer with your family at your convenience. Just watch and learn. WHAT ARE THE VIDEOS ABOUT AND WHO ARE THEY FOR? The videos are for kids and adults who engage in risky behaviors or who know others who behave recklessly. The messages show you where to find resources across Douglas County. The topics range from burglary prevention to our Text-A-Tip program in the schools. We’ll be making many other videos about bullying, sexting and substance abuse. We’ve teamed up with Douglas County and the school district to put out these public safety videos and they’ll be posted on all of our websites so that people can find them in several places and watch them any time. WHAT IF PEOPLE NEED MORE INFORMATION AFTER WATCHING THE VIDEOS? The videos tell you who to call and where to go for help. The messages, from experts, are based on trends, research and information about reducing risky behaviors and getting people help. We want people to 13 know about the resources that are available, empower them to seek help and encourage them to help others. You can watch the public safety messages at


Deputy Jay Martin, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

Douglas County Schools team with Law Enforcement Agencies to create new safety video for elementary school children

HELPING KIDS A new video


Most of us have heard of Stranger Danger, but in Douglas County, law enforcement agencies, including Parker, Lone Tree & Castle Rock Police Departments along with Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO), have joined forces and are teaching children that you cannot always judge someone by their appearance or how well you know them.

Friendly Fa

Safety in Schools (YESS) program. The information gives students tips about who they can trust and what they should do in dangerous situations. “You don’t always know who you can trust. Sometimes, it’s a teenage neighbor, not an adult. That’s who Jessica Ridgeway had to worry about,” Deputy Martin said.

Sheriff David A. Weaver said, “The youth of our community are our most precious resource and we must work together in a collaborative effort to do everything we can to give our children the tools to stay safe.”

DCSD has also made a video about stranger danger. DCSD and local law enforcement agencies will continue to promote the campaign DCSO Deputy Jay Marto schools, families and Ridgeway, 10, was kidtin a Youth Education the community. napped and killed allegand Safety in Schools edly by a 17-year-old Watch the video at Officer, helped develop from her neighborhood “Friendly Faces Fake in Westminster in Octo- friendlyfaces Us Out” lesson for the ber. The suspect has been charged. Youth Education &


aces Fake Us Out A new take on STRANGER DANGER Here are some safety tips • Pay attention to your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. • Use the Buddy System. There is safety in numbers. • It’s OK to ignore someone you don’t know. • Never get into a car with a stranger. • Run away from a suspicious vehicle. • Say “No!” if someone tries to take you, makes you feel uncomfortable or hurts you. 15 • Tell a trusted adult.




or an entire week in November, more than 35 employees at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office wore jeans to work instead of uniforms and office attire -- and didn’t get in trouble. The Sheriff gave them permission to dress down because they were helping raise money to feed the hungry. Here’s the skinny. No, not skinny jeans… The Sheriff's Office employees raised $350 for the Fraternal Order of the Eagles during jeans week and bought 300 pounds of food from WalMart, and filled the evidence van full of food, coats, gloves and hats for families.

“I’m amazed how our department comes together during times like this where we can buy 300 pounds of food for people who otherwise wouldn’t have any,” Sam Stairs said. “This is our way of taking care of people who are going through hard times.” The food went to the Douglas County Task Force which then distributes the food to the food banks. The clothing goes directly to families that are immediately in need. 16



Find out what’s happening around your home. Just log onto the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office website at and click on RAIDS Online. This online database is free to use and free to Douglas County! When the county switched programs this year, it saved taxpayers $4,000 annually.



Douglas County crime unit expands to fight local drug trafficking as the South Metro Drug Task Force disbands. Residents can tip off police with new narcotic tip line.


ouglas County’s Pattern Crimes Unit (PCU) will grow to 10 officers and is under new command as it focuses resources on local drug enforcement and habitual criminals across Douglas County. The PCU expanded on November 1st after the leadership of the South Metro Drug Task Force (SMDTF) in September voted to dissolve the task force on November 30th.

Douglas County will continue to work closely with state and federal drug task forces, such as the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Residents across Douglas County can call the Pattern Crimes Unit with tips about narcotics, suspected drug activity or suspicious activity on the new tip line: (303) 660-7590.

“We will be checking the narcotic tip line daily for new leads,” Lieutenant Kevin Duffy, Commander of the new PCU, said. “With help from residents, we can drive “It’s a win-win situation for our residents out the drugs and drug dealers who are tarand law enforcement agencies because we geting our community.” can zero-in on our issues, be more responThe first priority of the PCU, under the sive and have more control over what leadership of Lt. Duffy, will be to focus on happens across the county,” Douglas drug endangered children in Douglas County Sheriff David A. Weaver said. County. The Pattern Crimes Unit is a collaborative “We are going to hit the ground running,” investigative unit comprised of deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Duffy said. and officers from the Parker, Lone Tree Since the Pattern Crimes Unit was formed and Castle Rock Police Departments. in 2005, it’s broken-up major felony theft rings, solved computer and fraud crimes Under the Pattern Crimes Unit, 10 officers and caught criminals in the act during unwill serve 300,000 residents in Douglas dercover operations. While the unit has alCounty across 844 square miles. Under ways investigated street narcotics, PCU the former SMDTF, an average of six offiwill expand its focus to widespread drug cers served 900,000 people in three countrafficking. ties across 3,051 square miles.

18 19

Let your blue lights shine for law enforcement during the holidays! The idea began in 1989 when Mrs. Dolly Craig wrote to C.O.P.S. that she would be putting two blue candles in her living room window that holiday season. One of the candles was for her son-in-law, Daniel Gleason, who had been killed in the line of duty on June 5, 1986, while serving with the Philadelphia (PA) Police Department, and one was for her daughter and Danny’s wife, Pam, who had been killed in an automobile accident in August 1989. Danny and Pam had 6 children. Dolly Craig is now deceased as well, but her idea is her legacy. Project Blue Light now burns bright in the hearts of the nearly 30,000 survivors of America’s fallen law enforcement officers during the holiday season. C.O.P.S. adopted this idea as a way that everyone could honor the officers who serve and protect us while remembering those who have been killed in the line of duty. Project Blue Light has grown steadily as a way of remembering our departed law enforcement officers across America and beyond. The concept is a simple one. Place blue lights in your window in memory of fallen officers and in honor of the officers who serve and protect us every day. Join us as part of “Project Blue Light,” and let your blue lights shine for law enforcement during the holidays. Remember, the color blue is also a symbol of peace. When you display your blue lights, you’ll be sending a dual message to everyone driving by that you support America’s peacekeepers, 19 and that you hope the coming year will be a time of peace.






“We’re not the heroes. They are. They’re the brave ones.“


--Sgt. Kevin Moffitt, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

urora police cars blocked off traffic at every intersection. Officers stood at the ready as an army of blue marched down the streets toward Children’s Hospital. More than 200 police from 30 agencies were armed. They carried toys, Barbie dolls and teddy bears. After all, these were cops fighting cancer. The police went into the hospital and split up like a strike team, hitting different areas and different floors. Their objective was to deliver hundreds of gifts to the very sickest children. Every single child in the hospital got a gift—from the six-month-old to the teenagers. The children are all suffering 22 traumatic brain injuries, can.

cer, heart problems and other medical issues.’ I felt so privimedical issues leged to be a part of it,” Moffitt said. “Even though you could tell some of them were in pain Some officers pulled wagon and suffering, they still talked loads full of gifts from room to to us and if they could, room. Each time they ensmiled,” Sgt. Kevin Moffitt, tered and left, they had to Douglas County Sheriff’s Of- wash their hands to keep fice, said. “One boy couldn’t from infecting the kids. move. He could only respond Tom Cornelius, a civilian was by lifting up his leg a little. So there helping because the orinstead of a thumbs-up, I got ganization helped his son in a leg up.” 2004 when he got cancer. Sgt. Moffitt was delivering The group paid for many of toys to the patients for the his bills and expenses. Corfirst time. nelious was there to pay them back. He says it was When he went into the hospihumbling. tal, the parents, doctors and nurses started clapping and “A lot of us were trying not to cherring. Moffitt’s eyes filled cry, especially in front of the with tears remembering it. children,” Cornelius said. “I think we all have a soft spot “I thought, ‘All we’re doing is in our hearts for kids. We see giving them gifts. We’re not them suffering and it just the heroes. They are. They tears at you. If you can do are the brave ones facing something, anything, to


make them smile, even tem- Seneca’s dream is to go naporarily, it’s so satisfying.” tionwide. Have cops in every large city coast-toAurora Police Officer Jim coast give financial and Seneca started Cops Fightmoral support to families ing Cancer in 2002 after he and their children in hospifought his own battle with tals. Leukemia. During the chemotherapy, losing his hair, vomiting, Seneca still had bills to pay. Rent, food, insurance. When he recovered, Seneca vowed to help other patients and their families meet their day-to-day needs.

Aurora Officer Jim Seneca Founded Cops Fighting Cancer

In 2002, he only had half a dozen cops helping. On December 12th, Seneca was joined by more than 200 officers from places like Aurora, Adams, Larimer and Douglas Counties. Police chiefs, sheriff’s and high-ranking officials stood side-by-side with the officers.  




Deputy Chad Teller Community Resources





St. Baldricks’ Headshaving Event

Justin, aka The Childhood Cancer Fighting Ninja 26



t’s no joke. Funding cuts are literally threatening the lives of sick children, like 9-year-old Justin Miller of Aurora, otherwise known as ‘The Childhood Cancer Fighting Ninja.” Justin was only three when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma.

The donations go into a gigantic pool of money for thousands of hospitals and research facilities to use solely to research and find new medicine and clinical trials for kids battling cancer.

“If allowed to proceed, these budget cuts would be disastrous for the youngest, most vulnerable cancer patients. It would set off a domino effect for the COG, bringing operations to a halt and leading to the unavailability of clinical trials, which are the best hope for a cure for kids with cancer. The drug review process would be impacted, meaning that the availability of new, less toxic drugs and therapies needed to treat kids with cancer would be delayed even longer,” Doctor Adamson said.

In the last six years, they’ve raised more than $250,000 to combat childhood cancer. This March, they’re going for another $50,000. Join them. Pitch in. Just think of kids in Colorado like Justin.

Deputy Niles Ackerson will lead the charge for the Sheriff’s Office for the seventh year Next month, the government’s planning to in a row. He’ll be joined by men and take away $2.4 billion from the National In- women from the Parker Police Department, Castle Rock Police, Lone Tree, stitute of Health. The residual affects of that has been deemed by the chairman of Littleton Police and the community at the Children’s Oncology Group, Dr. Peter large. Adamson, as “a real threat that endangers This March 15th at the Events Center, an entire generation of children with canthey’re going to shave their heads during cer.” the St. Baldrick’s Headshaving event. Not Another $318 million in cuts are on the ta- everyone, of course. Some will be holding ble from the Food and Drug Administration the shears and others will be holding that would impede the review and approval handfulls of hair and holding back laughter. All for a good cause. of new drugs for patients of all ages.

Justin’s gone four rounds with his cancer. After finishing therapy in June, he beat it. The impossible happened. Now, his family’s figuring out what to do next. Figuring out how to keep it from coming back.

Please give. It’s so easy. Just go to this website and learn how to help. http:// So the gloves are off. Several law ment agencies, including the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, are going to fight Or contact Deputy Niles Ackerson longer and 27 harder than ever to raise money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. 303-947-2446


Online videotapes to watch, learn and talk about SUICIDE PREVENTION The Douglas County Sheriff's Office - Youth Education and Safety In Schools (YESS) program partnered with the Douglas County Government and the Douglas County School District to create several new suicide prevention public service announcements in an effort to raise awareness around suicide and seeking help.


Briefing Room December 2012