Skip navigation

Mayor Hancock Appoints Elias Diggins as Sheriff

Denver - Mayor Michael B. Hancock today appointed Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) Chief of Operations Elias Diggins as Sheriff for the City and County of Denver. Diggins, a 25-year veteran of the department, will oversee the largest sheriff department in the State of Colorado, and an organization that has seen significant change to improve accountability and operations since 2014.

“More than ever before, the new sheriff needed to be someone who understood first-hand what it means to get a second chance. Someone who has formulated plans, inspired by their own challenges and experiences, to continue to transform and improve the sheriff department,” Mayor Hancock said. “Respected in the department and in the community, Elias has proven to be that kind of leader, and I look forward to working alongside him as our next sheriff.”

The Mayor continued, “I also want to express my sincere appreciation to interim Sheriff Fran Gomez for her commitment to leading the Department during this transition, as well as supporting the measures that have been implemented to care for those in our custody during this pandemic.”

Diggins joined the sheriff department in 1994, where he rose through the ranks from deputy to Chief of Operations. Throughout his career with the DSD, he has supported the creation of the Denver Justice Center, co-led the creation of the video visitation program, overseen the DSD training academy and Denver County Jail, and spearheaded the implementation and execution of reform recommendations for the department stemming from the department-wide reform effort ordered by the Mayor in 2014. Since Jan. 2018, Diggins, in his capacity as Chief of Operations, has been responsible for the overall administration, operation and practices of DSD’s jails, facilities and units. He also served as interim Sheriff from July 2014 to October 2015.

“My philosophy is to ensure that we remember our humanity in our work, as those in our custody are members of our community, too. Equity, diversity and inclusion building in our culture has always been a priority for me,” Diggins said. “I’ve spent my career with this department, I know where we can continue our successes and get better where we need to get better, and I want to thank the Mayor for this opportunity to lead and serve beside the men and women of this department.”

In his various roles with the department, Diggins has worked to increase support for inmates reentering the community and those with mental health challenges, and create policies and training for deputies to improve accountability. He has served as a board member of the American Jail Association, where he also was president from May 2019 to April 2020, the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections, the National Institute of Corrections Large Jail Network Advisory Board and Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives.

Diggins, a certified jail manager and correction executive by the American Jail Association and American Correctional Association, received his BS in Criminal Justice from Metropolitan State University and Masters in Public Administration from the University of Colorado-Denver. He is also an alum of Denver’s Montbello High School.

Diggins’ appointment as Sheriff, which is effective July 27, was supported by the National Sheriffs Association, National Latino Peace Officers Association and Greater Metro Denver Ministerial Alliance, among others.

The Sheriff Selection Committee, composed of community leaders to ensure the residents of Denver were represented in this process, was chaired by Executive Director of Public Safety, Murphy Robinson and included:

  • Justin L. Cooper, Deputy Director, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition
  • Captain Chris Brown, Denver Sheriff Department
  • Gerardo Lopez, Commissioner, Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships
  • Terri House, Denver Food Rescue Mission
  • Councilman Paul Kashmann
  • Councilwoman Jamie Torres
  • Qusair Mohamedbhai, Partner, Rathod Mohamedbhai LLC
  • Stephanie Donner, Executive Director, Emily Griffith Technical College