News

Get the latest news and updates from the Denver Sheriff Department.

Newsletter

Community Newsletter

Stay informed! Get the latest newsletter in your inbox by subscribing here. Then, read our previous newsletters below.

*Indicates Required


Take a look at past and present Denver Sheriff News community newsletters for information on what we do, how we do it, and what you can expect to see from the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) and our partners.

January 2022

October 2021

July 2021

April 2021

January 2021

Blog

Blog

Learn about who we are, what we do, where we came from, and where we're going.

Press Releases

The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) is the largest sheriff department in the state of Colorado founded in 1902. DSD operates two jail facilities, the Denver Downtown Detention Center, and Denver County Jail. DSD also provides security for the District and County Court systems, state inmate transportation, extradition duties, fugitive and K-9 units, and manages the detainment of inmates receiving services at Denver Health Medical Center. DSD is recognized by the National Sheriff's Association with the Triple Crown Award for achieving simultaneous accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the American Correctional Association, and the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. This recognition demonstrates DSD's commitment to employing best practices.

4/18/2022 | Harm Reduction Release Bags

Denver Sheriff Department Launches Harm Reduction Release Bag Program: The Goal is to Save Lives

Denver, CO – April 18, 2022

Today, the Denver Sheriff Department launched the Harm Reduction Release Bag program. Individuals being released to the community from the Downtown Detention Center (DDC) and the Denver County Jail (COJL). The bags will include one dose of Narcan, five Fentanyl test strips, inpatient and outpatient Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) resources in the Denver area, and a contact number for Narcan replacement. Training videos will be played in all housing units and intake at both facilities to inform individuals in our custody of the program and how to use both the Narcan and Fentanyl test strips.

“The implementation of this program is a reflection of the immediate need there is to save lives because of the Fentanyl crisis our nation is experiencing,” said Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins. “Individuals who leave our custody are at risk for overdose, offering them a Harm Reduction Release Bag may save their life or someone they know.”

Across the state of Colorado, the opioid epidemic has become increasingly deadly as the prevalence of Fentanyl rises. The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment estimates that there were approximately 449 drug-related deaths in Denver last year.

“We want to ensure that everyone who would like Narcan, Fentanyl test strips, and MAT resources have them upon release to the community,” said Dr. Nikki Johnson, Chief of Mental Health Services. “Our goal is to save lives, so we can engage individuals in substance misuse treatment while looking towards the future of decreasing recidivism and increasing sobriety.”

Individuals being released from jail and prison are at an extremely high risk of overdose upon release, specifically two weeks upon release, ranging from 40 to 129 times more likely to die from overdose than the general public.

This will be a 90-day pilot program, which will be reviewed after 30 days, to determine sustainability based on need.

###

4/14/2022 | Returning to the Community

Denver Sheriff Department and Remerg Partner to Create “Bringing the Community to Jail Project"

Denver, CO – April 14, 2022

The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) and Remerg have partnered to create the “Bringing the Community to Jail Project” for individuals in custody at Denver’s Downtown Detention Center (DDC) and Denver County Jail (COJL). This project includes 40 videos on topics such as reentry, community support, housing, healthcare, trauma, and much more.

“It’s extremely important that we equip individuals in custody with information and resources that will help them be successful when they are released,” said Sheriff Elias Diggins. “We are grateful to Remerg and the partnership we have created to provide this comprehensive program.”

Remerg visited with the organizations highlighted in the videos to capture their messages in their own words including many leaders and program participants who have experienced incarceration. The video collaboration project with DSD allows Remerg to assess how videos can help incarcerated people learn about and connect to community resources.

“With these videos, if we can help someone incarcerated learn about and want to connect to the help they need to start over, they’re on their way to a better outcome and not coming back,” said Carol Peeples, Founder & Director of Remerg. “Remerg is grateful for the opportunity to work with DSD and thankful to the organizations and their clients who trusted us to tell their story. It’s the stories that make the connections to the resources.”

“It’s extremely important that we equip individuals in custody with information and resources that will help them be successful when they are released,” said Sheriff Elias Diggins. “We are grateful to Remerg and the partnership we have created to provide this comprehensive program.”

The videos are playing on a regular schedule at the DDC and COJL facilities. Individuals interested in the resources work with DSD’s program staff to connect to the organizations showcased in the videos. Contact information for each organization is being made available and DSD is looking into making outgoing phone calls free to individuals in custody who contact the organizations directly to make connections prior to release.

The Bringing the Community to Jail Project was supported by federal grant 2020-VD-BX-0209, issued by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.

The videos will be made public on DSD and Remerg’s YouTube accounts, so that the public, community organizations, and other correctional facilities may view and share this information with their clients.

Remerg is a nonprofit based in Denver that works to keep people from recidivating to Colorado’s jails and prisons after they’ve been released. Remerg provides the public service re-entry website Remerg.com, a statewide website curated specifically for people starting over after release from incarceration. In addition, Remerg provides a call line to help people with connections to resources, sponsors a mentoring program, and supports efforts to connect people with a criminal record to career-path employment.

###

3/15/2022 | 4,000 COVID-19 Vaccines

Denver Sheriff Department and Denver Health Hit a Milestone Distributing 4,000 COVID-19 Vaccines to Individuals in Denver’s Custody

Denver, CO – March 15, 2022

The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) and Denver Health medical staff have distributed more than 4,000 COVID-19 vaccines to individuals in custody at the Downtown Detention Center and the Denver County Jail.

“As our communities continue to combat COVID-19, we mark this milestone and our journey to educate and vaccinate those in our custody,” said Sheriff Elias Diggins

The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to individuals in custody began in March 2021. Then at the beginning of November 2021, an incentive program was implemented. The program offers 10 Ramen noodle soups or a combination of 1 coffee and 5 Ramen noodle soups for each COVID-19 vaccine that an individual receives. Inmates that had already received a vaccine dosage while in DSD custody were offered these items for each COVID-19 vaccine dose. Educational material, videos, and one-on-one conversations have also been provided about the COVID-19 virus and the COVID-19 vaccinations.

From March 2021 through October 2021, 1,673 vaccine dosages had been distributed. From November 1, 2021, through the end of the year an additional 2,328 COVID-19 vaccine dosages were distributed for a total of 4,001 vaccines. The incentive program has proven to be very popular and successful with tripling the number of vaccination dosages.

“Providing COVID-19 vaccines in Denver Jails is very important when trying to slow the spread of the virus,” said Carmen Kassatly, Denver Health’s Jail Administrator. “The vaccine incentive program has been a great tool to help start the conversation and answer questions about being vaccinated.”

The first Moderna vaccine was given on March 17, 2021, at the Downtown Detention Center, and on March 18, 2021, at the Denver County Jail. Currently, both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are offered to individuals in custody. If someone is released from custody before receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, resource material and instructions are provided to them by Denver Health medical staff. The COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be distributed to those who would like to receive them.

Denver Health is a comprehensive health and hospital system that provides high-quality care for all people, regardless of their ability to pay. We deliver medical care to one-third of Denver’s population, proudly serving as the city’s safety-net hospital and providing preventative, primary and acute care services. For more than 160 years, Denver Health has been deeply rooted in the health and well-being of the community, providing high-quality clinical care, top-notch education and training for health care workers, and furthering critical research to benefit our patients. We are guided by our mission to serve our community with excellence, compassion, and stewardship as we work to ensure all people have access to the care and programs they need to be happy, healthy and successful.

###

11/16/2021 | Criminal Charges Filing Team

Denver Sheriff Department Announces Creation of Criminal Charges Filing Team (CCFT)

Denver, CO – November 16, 2021

With the support of Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson (CAO), and Denver District Attorney Beth McCann (DA), today Executive Director of Safety Murphy Robinson and Sheriff Elias Diggins announced the creation of a new unit in the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD).

The Criminal Charges Filing Team (CCFT) will investigate and file charges for law violations that occur in DSD facilities. The violations include assaults on staff or other inmates, possession of drugs or weapons, and other offenses. During the process, the CCFT will work closely with the CAO and DA’s offices. Prior to the creation of the CCFT, the DSD has always relied on the Denver Police Department (DPD) to complete this task. DPD will continue to assist the DSD with investigations into major crimes.

“This is a historic day for our Department as we move forward as an agency,” said Sheriff Elias Diggins. “The talented law enforcement professionals who are a part of the Denver Sheriff Department thank all of the officials who supported this effort. We appreciate the continued partnership of Chief Pazen and his leadership team as we make this transition as well.”

The CCFT will be made up of five Denver deputy sheriffs and a Denver Sheriff sergeant. DSD Chief Vince Line will serve as the Project Manager for standing up the CCFT and will work with DPD Division Chief Ron Thomas through the transition.

###

10/29/2021 | Inmate Vaccine Incentive Program

Denver Sheriff Department Implements Vaccine Incentive Program for Inmates

Denver, CO – October 29, 2021

The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) implemented a vaccine incentive program for individuals that are in Denver’s custody today. As the DSD and Denver Health and Hospital Authority continue to try and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, this incentive program is another way to encourage them to take the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“In jails across America, vaccine incentive programs for individuals in custody are working and we decided to move forward with implementing one as well,” said Sheriff Elias Diggins. “We will evaluate the program monthly and hope that it will make a difference as we all continue to combat COVID.”

The incentive program will offer 10 Ramen noodle soups or a combination of 1 coffee and 5 Ramen noodle soups for each COVID-19 vaccine that an individual receives. Inmates that have already received a vaccine dosage while in DSD custody will also be offered these items for each COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The DSD will continue to work with Denver Health and Hospital Authority, and the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment toward one goal and that is to keep those working and detained in Denver Jails safe. Current COVID-19, vaccination, and average daily population data for Denver Jails can be found on the Denver Sheriff Department Data & Statistics webpage.

###

9/23/2021 | Medal of Valor Awarded

Deputy Ida McComb Recognized for Her Selfless Actions

Denver, CO – September 23, 2021

Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins presented Deputy Ida McComb with the Medal of Valor at a ceremony earlier today. Deputy McComb was recognized for her quick actions while working in a housing unit at the Downtown Detention Center.

An individual in-custody allegedly attacked Deputy McComb when she was retrieving an item he had requested. As other individuals in the housing unit became aware of the incident, they quickly came to her aid to separate her from the inmate who attacked her and began to deliver strikes to him in her defense. Deputy McComb quickly gained her composure and began to give commands, ordering individuals away from the inmate she believed attacked her and reestablished control of the housing unit while calling for assistance. Her quick thinking and response redirected a situation that could have spiraled out of control. Additional information cannot be released at this time, due to an open investigation.

“Deputy McComb displayed the valor it takes to be a Denver Deputy Sheriff and led with her humanity,” said Sheriff Elias Diggins. “She was faced with a very challenging circumstance and with her swift and selfless actions, diffused a volatile situation.”

Deputy McComb joined the Denver Sheriff Department in March 2021 and is assigned to the Downtown Detention Center. She currently serves in the Army reserves. As an Army Reservist for 11 ½ years, she has served in Kuwait, Qatar, Germany and Panama.

The Medal of Valor is a prestigious award that is given by the Sheriff to deputies who have exhibited exceptional courage, regardless of personal safety, in the attempt to save or protect others.

###

9/3/2021 | K9 Retires

Denver Sheriff Department's K9 KUKO Retires: Served Fives Years as Deputy Curry's Partner

Denver, CO – September 3, 2021

The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) is thankful to KUKO for the great work, commitment, and dedication he has shown over the past five years. It’s now time for him to retire and relax.

KUKO joined the DSD as Deputy John Curry’s partner in 2016 at the age of 13 months. KUKO is trained in detecting narcotics and contraband odors and is very good at his job. Over the last five years, they detected large amounts of narcotics, marijuana, weapons, and illegal drugs.

This dynamic duo have been the recipient of 2 National Police Canine Association Awards for Detection Cases of the Quarter, which includes all K9 teams in the North-West Region of the United States.

KUKO came to the United States and joined the DSD K9 family from the Czech Republic in Central Europe. KUKO’s badge number is SK9-007 (get it double-O-seven). The name KUKO was his given name when he came to the DSD.

KUKO will live the rest of his life with Deputy Curry and his family as a retired officer.

###

8/25/2021 | Sergeant Receives Award

Sergeant Eric Givens Receives the Unparalleled Community Service Award

Denver, CO – August 25, 2021

The Denver Sheriff Department’s (DSD) Sergeant Eric Givens was recognized for his dedication to the community with the Unparalleled Community Service Award by the Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union.

Sergeant Givens is the personification of being dedicated to the community. As the Supervisor of Recruitment, he takes pride in reaching all communities and enlists people from all walks of life to join the law enforcement field. In going above and beyond the call of duty, he spends his personal time attending community events, gatherings and festivals as a volunteer to assist with safety and security. He also loves working with the youth from all neighborhoods and gives great words of wisdom and advice when he meets them.

Sergeant Givens has kept DSD connected to one of the most vulnerable populations; veterans who are experiencing homelessness. As a veteran of the U.S. Army, he has a personal commitment to take care of those who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Multiple times a year he organizes DSD employees to volunteer at the Homeless Veteran Outreach to pass out meals and food boxes at the Soldiers Angel events.

Sergeant Givens is a person whose commitment to the community has had an unparalleled positive impact on others.

###

6/17/2021 | 1,000 COVID-19 Vaccines

Denver Sheriff Department and Denver Health Distribute More Than 1,000 COVID-19 Vaccines to Those In-custody

Denver - The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) and Denver Health medical staff have distributed more than 1,000 COVID-19 vaccines to individuals in-custody at the Downtown Detention Center and the Denver County Jail.

“It’s important to offer voluntary opportunities for people in custody to protect themselves against the COVID-19 virus,” said Sheriff Elias Diggins. “The vaccine is the best tool for this and we are encouraged that so many individuals have chosen to take it.”

Educational material, videos and one-on-one conversations have been provided about the COVID-19 virus and the COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Providing COVID-19 vaccines in Denver Jails is very important when trying to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said Carmen Kassatly, Denver Health’s Jail Administrator. “We do our best to educate and answer patient questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Every patient has the option to take the vaccine free of charge.”

The first Moderna vaccine was given on March 17, 2021 at the Downtown Detention Center and on March 18, 2021 at the Denver County Jail. Currently both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are offered to individuals in-custody. If someone is released from custody before receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, resource material and instructions are provided to them by Denver Health medical staff. The COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be distributed to those who would like to receive it.

Vaccine Administered by Race as of June 17, 2021

This table shows the number of individuals with a COVID-19 vaccine at the Denver Jails broken down by race. The table includes individuals who received the vaccine at the Denver Jails and Denver Health Medical Center.

 

American Indian / American Native

Asian

Black, African American

Decline to Provide

Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander

Other

White

Total

Johnson and Johnson

0

2

49

0

0

2

106

159

Dose 1

Dose 2

Moderna

7

3

10

8

6

14

155

97

252

10

7

17

3

2

5

3

3

6

351

205

556

537

323

860

Dose 1

Dose 2

Pfizer

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

14

6

20

16

7

23

TOTAL

10

16

303

17

5

9

682

1042


Vaccine Administered by Ethnicity as of June 17, 2021

This table shows number of individuals with a COVID-19 vaccine at the Denver Jails broken down by ethnicity. The table includes individuals who received the vaccine at the Denver Jails and Denver Health Medical Center.

 

Decline to Provide

Hispanic / Latin / a / o / x

Hispanic / Latin / a / o / x

Total

Johnson and Johnson

9

40

110

159

Dose 1

Dose 2

Moderna

41

26

67

153

94

247

343

203

546

537

323

860

Dose 1

Dose 2

Pfizer

1

1

2

11

3

14

4

3

7

16

7

23

TOTAL

78

301

663

1042

Denver Health is a comprehensive health and hospital system that provides high-quality care for all people, regardless of their ability to pay. We deliver medical care to one-third of Denver’s population, proudly serving as the city’s safety-net hospital and providing preventative, primary and acute care services. For more than 160 years, Denver Health has been deeply rooted in the health and well-being of the community, providing high-quality clinical care, top-notch education and training for health care workers, and furthering critical research to benefit our patients. We are guided by our mission to serve our community with excellence, compassion, and stewardship as we work to ensure all people have access to the care and programs they need to be happy, healthy and successful.

###

6/15/2021 | Honoring Fallen Deputies

Honoring Deputies Who Lost Their Lives in the Line of Duty

Denver, CO – June 15, 2021
The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) remembered and honored the contribution of the deputies who lost their lives in the line of duty at the Annual Fallen Officer Memorial Ceremony earlier today.

The memorial ceremony is traditionally held the second week of May during National Police Week, with May 15 being Peace Officers Memorial Day, but this year it was postponed and rescheduled for June 15. During that month span, the DSD lost two deputies to COVID-19 related complications. Both of their deaths have been declared departmental line of duty deaths.

“It is with the highest levels of respect that we recognize these deputies, who served the people of the City and County of Denver with honor and dedication,” said Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins. “As they made the ultimate sacrifice, we thank them and we are eternally grateful to their families.”

The fallen deputies who were honored are:

  • Edward B. Baird passed away March 16, 1906.
    In a blinding snow storm, about 30 miles west of Pueblo, Baird and the prisoner he was transporting were killed when a local and an express train were involved in a head-on collision.
  • John D. Osborne passed away August 7, 1974.
    During an inmate’s attempted escape from the Denver County Jail, Osborne was stabbed to death.
  • Edward A. Martinez passed away November 15, 1980.
    Shortly after a struggle with an inmate during the book-in process, Martinez suffered a fatal heart attack.
  • Daniel R. Stillwell passed away September 6, 1987.
    Stillwell was attacked and shot with his own revolver by an inmate at the hospital trying to escape.
  • Norman “Tony” Silva II passed away February 3, 1993.
    Silva was accidentally shot and killed when his partner’s weapon discharged after transporting an inmate to jail.
  • James A. Herrera passed away May 16, 2021.
    Herrera was working during the global pandemic, he contracted the COVID-19 virus and succumbed to related complications.
  • Daniel “Duke” Trujillo passed away May 26, 2021.
    While working during the global pandemic, Trujillo contracted the COVID-19 virus and succumbed to related complications.

The memorial ceremony video is posted on the DSD Facebook page @denversheriffsdepartment.

AGENDA:
11:00 a.m. - Honor Guard Marches to Formation/Posts
11:05 a.m. - Song & Unveiling of Memorial Stone
11:15 a.m. - Introductions by Captain Olivia

  • Invocation
  • Mayor Michael B. Hancock
  • Executive Director of Safety, Mr. Murphy Robinson
  • Sheriff Elias Diggins
  • Roll Call of Fallen Officers
    • Presentation of framed etchings and roses to family members
  • Moment of Silence
  • Placement of Wreaths at Memorial Stone
  • 21-Gun Salute
  • Taps - Flags Lowered to Half Mast
  • Presentation of Flag(s)
  • Conclusion of Ceremony

###

3/17/2021 | First COVID-19 Vaccines In Jails

Denver Sheriff Department and Denver Health Distributed First COVID-19 Vaccines in the Jails

Denver, CO – March 17, 2021

The Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) and Denver Health medical staff today distributed the first COVID-19 vaccines to individuals in-custody (60+-years-old) at the Downtown Detention Center. The COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed at the Denver County Jail starting tomorrow.

Twenty-two individuals received their first-dose of the Moderna vaccine. If someone is released from custody before receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, resource material and instructions will be provided to them by Denver Health medical staff.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been ordered and will also be offered to individuals in-custody. The COVID-19 vaccinations will continue to be distributed to those who are eligible to receive a vaccination per the State’s phased plan.

###