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www.leadvilleherald.com

Leadville, Colorado

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Vol. 137, No. 14 • 75 cents

Former police chief charged with 14 felonies by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Michael Leake, former Leadville chief of police, was arrested April 1 on 14 felony counts, including theft, embezzlement, forgery and several acts of pawning firearms belonging to the Leadville Police Department at Englewood and Aurora pawn shops between 2013 and 2015. Leake was charged with two counts of theft, one count of embezzlement of public

Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office photo

Michael Robert Leake, former Leadville police chief, is shown in a mug shot .

property, one count of forgery and 10 counts of Pawnbrokers Act violation. Ten total allegations of Leake selling stolen guns are reported in the charge sheet. Leake is alleged to have sold stolen guns to pawn shops three times March 2013 to May 2013. Four more instances were recorded in 2014 be-

tween the months of May and October. A final three instances were discovered in 2015, the first occurring in April and the last in September. The guns stolen include a Remington 870 pump shotgun, a Remington 700 bolt-action 308 rifle, a Sig Sauer model P220 pistol, a Taurus .45 caliber pistol, and six Glock model 22 pistols. Each was sold to one of three pawn shops: Fast Cash Pawn, located in Englewood, Cash in a Flash, located in Aurora, and U.S. Pawn, located in Aurora. Leake, who currently resides in Aurora, surrendered on a felony warrant issued March 31 based on a criminal complaint filed March 29 in the Lake County District Court. Fifth Judicial District Attorney Bruce Brown said his office initiated an investigation of the Leadville Police Department on Jan. 14 at the request of Leadville Mayor Greg Labbe. “The city of Leadville has found the investigation into its police department and the subsequent arrest of former Chief Mike Leake disheartening,” Labbe said. “We are pleased, however, that the investigation has exonerated all other members of our proud police department from any wrongdoing. As we prepare to hire a new police chief by April 12, we are excited to enter a new era of unwavering service

to our community.” Brown stated in a press release that the “members of the current Leadville Police Department and city government

have been extremely cooperative.” Leake served as police chief here starting in 2008. He resigned his position on Dec. 22,

2015. At the time, then-Leadville Mayor Jaime Stuever Continued on page 2

Mountaineering on skis

Photo by Alex Lee

A racer descends East Ball Mountain during Saturday’s Father Dyer Postal Route ski mountaineering race. The event was a fundraiser for the Lake County High Riders Snow Trails Association. See story, results and more photos on page 23.

Ben Cairns to be principal of Lake County High School by Ryan Fitzmaurice Herald Staff Writer Ben Cairns has been hired as the new principal of Lake County High School. Cairns currently serves as the principal of Denver School of Science and Technology Cole High School in Denver, where he has led the school since its founding in 2013. Prior to this position, Cairns served as the assis-

tant principal at Cole Arts and Science Academy for two years and at North High School as the restorative justice coordinator and dean of culture for five years. Cairns’ current school, DSST Cole High School, has a demographic profile similar to Lake County, with 72 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch and 25 percent English language learners, according to a news release from Lake County School District. DSST has received accolades for closing the achievement gap, meaning

that its lower-income students have begun to perform as well as their high-income peers on some standardized assessments. Cairns said what really attracted him to Lake County schools was the school district’s unique approach to education. The district blends experiential learning with a rigourous academic approach, while most school districts, Cairns said, just try for one or the other. “Some school districts pursue the super academic ap-

proach where kids sit in a chair and do work, or other schools do a lot of field trips, and I love how Lake County schools is trying to marry those two approaches, with Expeditionary Learning and the achievement calendar.” Cairns said his first step is just to experience Lake County’s educational environment first hand. “The first thing you have to do is learn the context. I don’t think there is a cookie cutter of approaching a district,” Cairns said. “It’s about understanding where people want to go

and how to get there. When it comes down to it, everyone wants the same thing: a successful kid.” But Cairns said one can’t just focus on the academics; creating a positive environment is crucial. “My two principles are always coaching teachers to give truly engaging lesson plans and creating a positive culture,” Cairns said. “I do believe in the concept of a community. If you create a place where Continued on page 2


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