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The Sheriff Advisory Board (SAB) was created in 2017 to serve as a formal community engagement mechanism to promote collaboration with the Denver Sheriff Department (DSD) regarding matters that span service delivery to people incarcerated in DSD custody, their families, the community at-large, and service providers.

The goals of the board are to promote advisement and set priority area(s) of focus to the Sheriff and Department regarding:

  1. Best practices within the Department to ensure safety to staff and those in our care and custody,
  2. Exhibiting a strong organizational culture of leadership and engagement, and
  3. Advocating to build and foster strong relationships within the larger Denver community, particularly for individuals reentering, including better access to mental health supports and alternatives to jailing.

The Board consists of members representing Denver’s diverse communities and geographic areas. Ex-officio membership roles will be identified on an ongoing basis, and will include department staff, city staff, and additional subject-matter-experts.

Alfonso Suazo brings over 25 years of marketing and non-profit experience as a former newspaper advertising director, public information officer and workforce development specialist. Currently, he serves as a Business Development Specialist for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Vocational Services division.

As the Advertising Marketing Director at the Southwest Daily Times in Kansas, Alfonso managed retail/classified advertising staff and graphic design production team for four publications. After leaving the newspaper group, he returned to his home state of Colorado to serve as a Marketing Specialist for Denver's human resources agency—Career Service Authority. There he managed the agency’s internal and external communication initiatives, program branding, employee relations and training outreach collateral and special event recognition programing. With over ten years in human resource and communications, he ventured out to share his cumulative experience with non-profit agencies such Servicios de La Raza, Goodwill-Denver and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

A native of the west Denver community, Alfonso received his degree in Marketing from Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD). He held numerous leadership positions in professional and community organizations, managed political campaigns and received the MSUD Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award.

Melissa Barbash is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Addiction Counselor in the State of Colorado. Currently she provides therapy in the community as a private practitioner specializing in addiction, trauma and relationship dysfunction. She has a particular interest and concentration working with law enforcement professionals. As a former civilian employee of the Denver Sheriff Department, Melissa is dedicated to contributing her expertise to the board. In addition to working with DSD, Melissa held previous positions with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation (CeDAR). In addition to her work as a Therapist, Melissa has a background in Business Management. She earned her BS from The Ohio State University in International Business and Marketing, with an emphasis on Spanish Linguistics, and her MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver.  

Al Gardner is the Vice President of Information Technology for Denver based Inspirato. He has held leadership roles in the IT industry for more than two decades and is a technology thought leader speaking regularly on issues related to technology and resource management.

Mr. Gardner serves his community on a number of committees and boards including the Denver African American Commission (Mayoral Appointment), Denver Police Chiefs Community Advisory Board, Omega Leadership Academy Co-Chair (Omega Psi Phi Fraternity), Denver Public Schools Equity Task Force Discipline Committee Co-Chair, Sun Valley Youth Center board member, and Denver Christian Bible Church Men’s Ministry. Al has a passion for education and is active with organizations that place emphasis on careers in STEM related fields and IT management. Mr. Gardner holds a Master’s in Business Administration from American Intercontinental University and Bachelor in Business Administration from the same university. His greatest joy is spending time with his family, friends, and mentees.

Rodriguez is the Director of Testing at the Community College of Denver. She has been involved in higher education for 17 years and currently oversees placement testing, professional certifications, and academic testing. She is former board chair of cityWILD, a Denver nonprofit providing tuition-free outdoor experiential education to young people. She has a masters-level of nonprofit management certificate in social justice, peace and reconciliation and a M.A. in adult education and training from Regis University, and a B.A. of arts with honors in English and writing from the University of Colorado.

Dr. Borrego is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology at Metropolitan State University. She has research interests in policing, neighborhoods and LBGT victimization. She wrote a chapter for the book Forensic Science and the Administration of Justice, worked on grant funded studies and presented numerous academic papers. She has a Ph.D in criminology and criminal justice from Arizona State University, having completed her dissertation on fatal police-citizen encounters.

Barbara Bonner has several years of experience in finance and project management in the Healthcare and Telecommunications industries. She is currently at Colorado Access implementing a new Medicaid program. Barbara is a mediator in Restorative Justice which reconciles youth, who have received misdemeanor tickets, with their parents, community, and the victims. She also mediates small claims court cases for the Jefferson County Court. Barbara has served on non-profit boards and committees related to high school education, and financing of higher education in the secondary market.

Carleigh Sailon is a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed addiction counselor with Mental Health Center of Denver’s Crisis Intervention Response Unit. The CIRU is a partnership between the Mental Health Center of Denver and the Denver Police Department, which has created a law enforcement-based co-responder model that pairs officers with licensed mental health clinicians. Ms. Sailon works as the Mental Health Center of Denver liaison at the Downtown Detention Center. Through court advocacy and clinical contact with inmates, Ms. Sailon works to break down barriers to treatment, and ensures that inmates are fully enrolled in outpatient mental health services at the time of their release. Ms. Sailon also teaches Crisis Intervention Training to both the Denver Police and the Denver Sheriffs. She believes that community connections and supportive services upon release are key in breaking the cycle of recidivism. Ms. Sailon is passionate about expanding the use of restorative justice and the sequential intercept model in the city of Denver. She has a B.A. in Sociology from Long Island University- CW Post Campus and Masters in Social Work from Stony Brook University.

Geggie is a Manager of Candidate Ready Development for Leadership for Education Equity, Denver, where he works to inspire to teachers to pursue elected office. He previously worked as a campaign manager for both the ACLU and Why Marriage Matters in Columbus, Ohio. He has worked to develop leaders who are culturally competent and empowered to create positive change within their communities for most of his career. He has a M.A. from Brown University, and a B.A. from Wabash College, Indiana.

Tramutola-Lawson is Founder and Chair of the Colorado chapter of Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE), which advocates for humane treatment of inmates. In 2007, she was appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Community Corrections and is a current member of the Denver Community Corrections Board. In 2015, she was appointed to the Governor’s Executive Clemency Advisory Board. She has a B.A. in elementary education and an M.A. in French. She was a teacher for Denver Public Schools for more than 30 years and developed an interest in prison reform after working with at risk students.

Kaitlin F. Nares is a civil rights attorney in New York, New Jersey and Colorado. She is dedicated to ensuring that all people are provided equal protections under the law and are treated just and humanely.  Kaitlin moved to Colorado 3 years ago and resides in Denver.  She is married and has a fury four-legged child named Boston.  Kaitlin enjoys volunteering in Denver through the Junior League of Denver.  Kaitlin is very grateful for the opportunity to work with the Sheriff and the board this year. 

Petty is the Director of Development and Communication for Families Forward Resource Center, and she is a community activist in the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch neighborhoods. In addition to sitting on the Board of Directors for the Family Resource Center Association, she is an active member of the NAACP Denver Branch and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She worked as a substitute teacher with Denver Public Schools before becoming an English teacher and curriculum developer in South Korea. She has a master’s degree in non-profit management from Regis University and a B.A. in general studies from Colorado Christian University.

Left Hand Bull is the Access Control Coordinator at The Children’s Hospital, Colorado. He is a community activist and former chair and current ad-hoc member of the Denver American Indian Commission. He served on the City and County of Denver’s Public Safety Review Commission which reviewed, evaluated and recommended changes to the Police and Sheriff departments. He is a former member of the Native Nations of Auraria, and has volunteered with Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods and the Denver Indian Center.

Miller is the Communications and Chapter Director for Young People in Recovery, a national, grassroots advocacy organization, where he is responsible for operational support, process development and external communications. He is in long-term recovery for substance abuse disorder and was arrested for numerous drug-related offences. He is a former inmate of the Denver Sheriff Department. Having been involved with the criminal justice system from the inside, he is passionate about progressive and restorative-focused policy.

Rev. Kelly serves as the Executive Director of Open Door Youth Gang Alternatives, the oldest anti-gang program based in the Denver Metropolitan Area. He has been a member of the California Gang Investigator’s Association for over 25 years, and has developed a program in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Corrections called “Flippin’ the Script”. In 1979, he served prison time for drug related charges at the Colorado State Penitentiary, and received a full and unconditional pardon from Governor Bill Ritter in 2010. He has degrees from the University Of Colorado, Colorado Christian College, Family Bible Institute, and the Denver Urban Institute.


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