Denver Sheriff Department

About Sheriff Gary Wilson

Sheriff Gary Wilson began his career with the Denver Sheriff Department in 1992 as a Deputy Sheriff and has worked his way up through the ranks of the agency. On June 1, 2010 he was sworn into his position as the head of the largest Sheriff Department in the State of Colorado.

He is a member of the, Justice Assistance Grant Board (Governor Appointment), Community Corrections Board (Mayoral Appointee), the Crime Prevention and Control Commission and the Racial and Gender Disparity Committee. Gary Wilson is also an Auditor for the American Correctional Association (ACA) and The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) which includes auditing sheriff and police agencies across the country. He believes in delivering a model agency which best serves the community and the vision of Mayor Michael B. Hancock .“We have a responsibility as public servants to help others and ensure our community remains a safe place to live and play."

Gary Wilson received an Associate of Arts from Aurora Community College, a Bachelors of Science Degree from Columbia College, and a Master of Arts from Webster University.  He also holds numerous specialized training certifications and awards from local and national organizations.

About the Denver Sheriff Department

The Denver Sheriff Department is the largest Sheriff Department agency in the state of Colorado and is comprised of many divisions and diverse operations with over 890 uniformed and non-uniformed staff members.  These operations include two separate jails, security for the District and County court systems, state inmate transportation, extradition duties, fugitive and K-9 units, a Community Corrections and Work Release facility, and security at DenverHealth Medical Center.

"We, (The DSD), believe in promoting compassionate service and protection of all people."

  • We must hire employees who believe what we believe. 
  • If we want to attract the right employees, we must focus our recruitment on why we exist and what we believe; not what we do. 
  • Our training program must be geared towards the same belief system. 
  • We must evaluate and know the talent of our employees.
  • We must ensure that our employees’ personal mission statement is linked to the Department’s mission statement.
  • As Servant Leaders, we must live a service model.
  • We are compassionate about changing people lives for the better.
  • We are a relay team of employees, volunteers and community members who work together to accomplish our mission and vision.
  • As the team worked together throughout the day WE captured our ideas on [this story board].


We are committed to being a model law enforcement agency by demonstrating best practices,incorporating emerging technologies and the highest standards in accreditation by achieving and maintaining the Triple Crown Award.
To provide safety and security for the community by ensuring care, custody, transportation and reentry services for detainees by operating safe, secure, efficient and humane facilities that adhere to federal, state, and local laws.
  • HonestyBeing ethical and honest in everything we do or say.
  • FairnessActing with respect to all, including other employees and the public.
  • Respect: Treating others as we would want to be treated. We will uphold the values of the constitution of this nation, including freedom from prejudice and favoritism, and providing justice for all.
  • Openness: Being objective, accessible, tolerant, flexible and adaptable. We will listen to others’ points of view, striving for open communication and willingness to compromise.
  • Teamwork: Encouraging a harmonious, supportive environment, putting the “team” first, and fostering positive working relationships.
  • Judgement: Making reasonable decisions based on common sense and good judgment.
  • Sensitivity: Recognizing the humanity in others and being able to deal with difficult people and situations with compassion and concern.
  • Personal Leadership: Taking personal responsibility and initiative to get things done. Being proactive, rather than reactive. Setting goals and looking toward the future. We will set a positive example for others to follow.
  • Integrity: Having the courage to do the right thing, maintaining self-discipline, control and self-restraint.
  • Accountability: Being accountable for everything we do.
  • Professionalism: Demonstrating skill, knowledge and competency in carrying out all assigned duties. Striving for excellence and continued self-improvement.
The Denver Sheriff Department was created on December 2, 1902 with the creation of the City and County of Denver.  In 110 years the Denver Sheriff Department has seen changes in facilities, locations, inmate populations, personnel, etc.  However, the one thing that has remained constant in 110 years is the commitment and dedication of Denver Sheriff Department personnel.
Since 1902, the Denver Sheriff Department has moved from facilities made up of a few hundred square feet to the hundreds of thousands of square feet that make up both the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center and the Denver County Jail.  We have gone from handwritten forms and typing on typewriters to a virtually paperless state-of-the-art Jail Management System.  In 1902 the Department began with a handful of employees and has grown to over 890 dedicated men and women, both uniformed and civilian. 


Our agency is currently accredited by the American Correctional Association (ACA) and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC). We are a proud agency that is committed to employing the best practices for the community that we serve while being fiscally responsible.

The Triple Crown Award

was established by the National Sheriff’s Association to recognize those sheriff’s offices which achieve simultaneous accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the American Correctional Association, and the National Commission on Correctional HealthCare.  Achieving these accreditations individually is a daunting task.  Acquiring all three at the same time is an extraordinary feat.  In fact, the Triple Crown distinction is so rare, that since the establishment of the award in 1993, fewer than 35 sheriffs' offices have qualified.

The American Correctional Association is the oldest and most prestigious correctional membership organization in the United States. Founded in 1870, ACA currently represents more than 20,000 correctional practitioners in the United States and Canada.  At its first organizational meeting held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1870, the Association elected then-Ohio governor and future U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes as its first president.

During the 1960s and early 1970’s, United States law enforcement faced a number of large-scale civil disturbances.  Many American cities experienced riots with significant loss of life and property damage.  Many citizens lost confidence in the law enforcement agencies due to their seeming inability to prepare for and deal with these events. 

Law enforcement agencies were viewed as unable or unwilling to learn from others’ mistakes and as having little, if any, coordination between themselves and other agencies.  Law enforcement officers were often viewed as under-trained, and their selection and hiring practices often were discriminatory.  Policies and procedures were often poorly written or sometimes, nonexistent, and many in the general public did not respect law enforcement officers as professionals.  Issues of accountability, integrity, liability, performance, and community partnership dominated the public dialogue and media coverage of law enforcement. 

In response, the United States Department of Justice provided a grant to the four leading law enforcement executive associations to advance law enforcement professionalism by establishing voluntary standards.  The organizations were: International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE); National Sheriff’s Association (NSA); and Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).  The result of this initiative was the creation in 1979 of a private, non-profit corporation: “Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc (CALEA Process and Programs Guide, pg 1-1 and 1-2).

The National Commission on Correctional Heath Care is dedicated to improving health services in jails, prisons, and juvenile confinement facilities.  Incorporated in 1983, its roots are in the early 1970’s as a project of the American Medical Association. 
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