Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CDPS Shows Support for Sexual Assault Survivors by Donning Denim

Employees in denim at the Kipling Complex.
CDPS members showed their support for survivors of sexual violence in our state by participating in “Denim Day” on April 26. CDPS employees donated $5 each  to join the department's team and earn the right to wear jeans on Denim Day. One hundred percent of the nearly $600 raised will go to the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) to support justice and healing for sexual assault survivors in Colorado.

Denim Day is a worldwide event that takes place on the 4th Wednesday in April every year. Wearing jeans is a conversation starter and visual sign of your support of survivors. Denim Day originated in Italy in 1999, after a judge overturned the verdict of a man found guilty of rape. The judge based his decision on the grounds that it could not have been rape because the victim's jeans were so tight she must have had to help the perpetrator take them off. In response to this outrageous and myth-laden outcome, women in the Italian parliament wore jeans the next day in protest. Since then, people across the globe wear jeans on Denim Day in protest of the persistent rape myths that keep survivors silent and perpetrators unaccountable.
CDPS employees in Fort Collins show their
support for sexual assault survivors.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Remembering and Honoring Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

Director Hilkey at the 2016 candlelight vigil.
In May we pause to remember, thank, and commemorate those noblest of public servants: the individuals who gave their lives while serving the public.

Special Events Honor Law Enforcement Officers 

In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. Established by a joint resolution of Congress in 1962, National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

CDPS Director Stan Hilkey and Deputy Director Bec Spiess will travel to Washington D.C. along with other representatives from CDPS to pay tribute to fallen officers at a candlelight vigil on May 13. 

Here in Colorado, the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement partners are hosting a series of events to honor the service and sacrifice of law enforcement officers.

Lt. Col. Barry Bratt at the dedication of the
Colorado Law Enforcement Officer Memorial
On April  21, law enforcement agencies from throughout Colorado gathered at the State Patrol Academy to dedicate the newly remodeled Colorado Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The memorial was erected in 1979 as a tribute to Colorado's fallen peace officers. To enhance the experience for visitors to the memorial and better honor those memorialized at the site, donors funded improvements to the memorial that included landscaping, a garden with a running brook, pavers, a larger-than-life statue of a grieving officer, and a piece of the Twin Towers. 

On May 5, Colorado law enforcement agencies will memorialize the individuals who lost their lives in the line of duty over the past year. The event is at 10 a.m. at the Colorado Law Enforcement Officer Memorial at the State Patrol Academy, 15055 South Golden Road, Golden. 

Finally, on May 13, in conjunction with the national event, the State Patrol will host a candlelight vigil from 7-9 p.m. at the Law Enforcement Officer Memorial. 
Civilians are encouraged to wear the National Law Enforcement Memorial pins that CDPS distributed last year; if you joined CDPS within the past year or did not receive a pin last year, ask your Division's Executive Assistant for a pin (we have distributed pins to each Division).

Fallen Firefighters Memorial Slated for May 6

First responders and the public will gather at the Colorado Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Lakewood on Saturday, May 6, to remember the firefighters who gave their lives in service to the citizens of Colorado. Activities will include a fire apparatus parade beginning at 10:30 a.m. and ending at the memorial site on Allison Parkway. The memorial service will begin at 11a.m. at the Lakewood Cultural Center at 470 s. Allison Pkwy. For more information and to RSVP, please see the event invitation.

Colorado State Patrol Recognizes Excellence, Heroism, Lifesaving at Annual Awards

On April 7, 2017, the Colorado State Patrol family gathered at the Colorado State Patrol Annual Awards Ceremony to recognize excellence in service and celebrate acts of heroism, selflessness and life-saving. The event recognized members from all areas of the Patrol, across all of Colorado: Troopers, port of entry, communications, civilian members and supervisors.

Chief Scott Hernandez and CSP leaders bestowed Distinguished Service Awards, Lifesaving Awards, and the Purple Heart before presenting awards at the Troop and District levels. The ceremony concluded with awards for Civilian, Port of Entry Officer, Communications Officer, Supervisor and Trooper of the Year.

You can view the full list of honorees in the Awards Ceremony Program. Read on for bios of the top award winners.

Group photo of the 2017 award winners and command staff. 

Distinguished Service Award
Bestowed upon an employee for an act of heroism calling for an outstanding degree of dedication that is above and beyond professional duty and may include the protection of life or intervention under instances of personal risk. This award is given for an act or series of acts committed with outstanding courage in a situation that, because of its extraordinary circumstances, placed the member and/or others in actual physical jeopardy. While exposed to danger, the member must have acted with deliberate intent and while acting must have exercised judgment and performed competent action sufficient to reflect admiration upon themselves and the State Patrol.

  • Sgt Scott Gardner
  • Sgt Daniel Haley
  • Trooper Eduardo Henriquez
  • Trooper Adam Jennings
  • Trooper Matthew Lubbes
  • Sgt Jared Rapp
  • Master Trooper Garrett Reich
  • Trooper Justin Richards
  • Cpl Jason Sparks
  • Trooper Joshua Yoder
Lifesaving Award
Bestowed upon a member for saving or preserving a human life, and such action was beyond the scope of regular daily professional law enforcement.
  • Sgt Michael Balenti
  • Sgt Philip Gurley
  • Trooper Kenneth Hinz
  • Trooper Adam Jennings
  • Trooper Cory Vanzant
Purple Heart Award
The Purple Heart award is for a member who has been seriously injured, wounded, or killed by acts of aggression or assault upon them while performing basic law enforcement functions of protection of life or property, enforcement of laws, preservation of the public peace, prevention of criminal acts, or apprehension of criminals.
  • Trooper Cody Donahue
Civilian Member of the Year - Timothy Leary 

Over the past year, Mr. Leary has brought about significant positive changes to the CSP Academy Food Service program. By utilizing his talent and passing on his knowledge, he has transformed the quality of food from that of a school cafeteria to that of a good family restaurant. In doing so, he has not only improved the quality of the food served to patrons of the Academy, but has also given offenders working in the cafeteria meaningful real-world skills -- skills they can use their release to earn gainful employment, thus lessening the likelihood of recidivism.

Mr. Leary continues to complete top-to-bottom assessments of the food program, adjusting when ingredients are used and purchased, in order to save the State Patrol thousands of dollars in food production costs while also improving food quality and nutritional value.

POE Officer of the Year - Zufar Suleimenov 
Officer Suleimenov has overcome adversities to become one of the Colorado State Patrol’s most valued members. Suleimenov began his CSP career in 2014. He has earned Level 1 safety inspector certification and has completed training in hazardous materials, cargo tank and bulk packaging transport.

Throughout 2016, Officer Suleimenov led his port in the number of safety inspections completed and is ranked second for the Motor Carrier Services Branch with a total of 466 safety inspections.  In May and August 2016, he contacted drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, resulting in the drivers' arrests.

He is meticulous when performing his duties and continually challenges himself and the other officers in the port to ensure proper enforcement actions are taken. Most important is the extra effort he puts forth to educate drivers; when performing safety inspections, he is patient with drivers, taking the time to explain violations and what measures drivers need to take to gain compliance.

Officer Suleimenov is fluent in five languages and has served as a translator throughout the Colorado State Patrol. He is always willing to help his fellow officers and the management team in any way that he can, such as trading shifts, sharing his computer knowledge, and volunteering for extra duties. Suleimenov is also innovative: he developed a method to track traffic patterns and updates this helpful data on a monthly basis.

Communications Officer of the Year -  Monica Laut 
Communication Officer Monica Laut has proven to be a competent and dependable Communication Officer who consistently goes the extra mile.  She gives her best effort on each and every call and is professional and caring with everyone she comes into contact with.  From minor calls to critical incidents, she takes the same thorough approach to ensure excellent customer service.

Ms. Laut has become an expert in handling difficult Safe2Tell calls. In 2016, she received four separate written commendations for her efforts in assisting school children.  She has a knack for gaining the information necessary to help kids through text messages.  She is able to establish a rapport with these anonymous callers and gain their trust. These skills enable her to provide assistance to children who feel threatened, afraid or in danger.

While we may not be able to keep tally on the lives she’s saved, she serves as the life-line to not only those seeking emergency services, but also first responders.

Supervisor of the Year - Captain Jeff Goodwin 
On November 15, 2015, tragedy struck Troop 1C and the Colorado State Patrol Family.  That day we suffered the loss of one of our own, Trooper Jaimie Jursevics. Captain Jeff Goodwin pushed forward through his own deep sorrow and sadness, and supported both his troopers and the Jursevics family as they began the grieving process. Over the course of the next 12 months he never faltered and never stopped giving of himself to the Jursevics family, the troop and the agency.  He strived to find ways to help those in need through friendly conversations, arranging counseling opportunities and creating a safe environment for people to be heard.  He maintained a positive outlook and dedication to not only the mission but more importantly the members of the agency.

Again, on November 25, 2016, tragedy struck Troop 1C and the Colorado State Patrol Family when Trooper Cody Donahue was struck and killed in the line of duty.  This opened a mending wound for the agency and especially for Troop 1C, District 1. Capt. Goodwin once again provided support and console not only to the Donahue family, but also the Jursevics family and a troop office full of their friends and colleagues. Capt. Goodwin continues to spend countless hours making himself available to the families, the troopers and the public who so dearly wanted to pay their respects.  He organizes and supports opportunities for the Troop to grieve and spends time with Cody’s family, all while fulfilling his duties as a Troop Commander.

It has been said that in calm water every ship has a great Captain, however the true test of a great Captain is how they command during horrific storms.  Captain Goodwin faced the most terrible circumstances a commanding officer can face and has done so twice.  His leadership and humanity shines during this time and is an extraordinary example as he lives the motto of "Our Family Protecting Yours."

Trooper of the Year - Trooper Matthew Bowman
Trooper Matthew Bowman’s dedication to impaired driving enforcement is second to none. He became a Drug Recognition Expert with less than two years of service and has utilized those skills and knowledge to reduce the impact of impaired driving in the San Luis Valley. Last year he arrested 47 drivers who were under the influence of either drugs or alcohol prior to them having the chance to injure or kill someone in a crash. Trooper Bowman also filed more drug charges than any other troop in the state.

Trooper Bowman knows the value of partnerships; on numerous occasions, he has aided law enforcement agencies in the San Luis Valley by sharing his knowledge of impaired driving detection.  He has responded to assist fellow law enforcement officers in their efforts to remove drunk and/or drugged drivers from our state's roads.

Trooper Bowman has been heavily involved a new program for juvenile offenders that aims to keep them from becoming repeat offenders. Trooper Bowman has received praise for his ability to make connections with the juvenile offenders during the program's sessions.

DHSEM Launches 2017 Emergency Management Academy

The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) launched the 2017 Colorado Emergency Management Academy on April 11, 2017, with 36 participants from local and state agencies.

The Academy is a seven-month program for new and existing emergency managers throughout the State. The academy consists of training opportunities and resident courses that are developed to be Colorado-specific and tailored to show Colorado processes. The academy will provide networking opportunities with emergency managers and professional across the state. It culminates with a week-long resident course with a final Emergency Operations Center based exercise.  Additional information on the Colorado Emergency Management Academy is available on the DHSEM web site.

The 2017 Emergency Management Academy class.

Congratulations to those selected for the 2017 Academy:

Robin Adair: El Paso County Office of Emergency Management
Brandon Adderly:  Denver International Airport
Suzanne Biocca:  Denver Environmental Health
Bryce boyer:  City of Pueblo Fire Department
Bob Carsella:  Denver International Airport
Kim Chavez:  Las Animas County Office of Emergency Management
Greg Cobb:  Greeley Fire Department
David DeMorat: Routt County
Nick DeSutter:  Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management
Jonathan Diurba:  Summit County
Mandy Elliott:  Denver Water
Jackie Erwin:  Littleton Fire Rescue
Jill Filer:  Pueblo City-county Health Department
Brigitte French:  Penrose-St. Francis Health Services
Jennifer Hillmann: Colorado DHSEM
Christian Hornbaker:  Grand Couty Office of Emergency Management
Alex Jakubowski:  Elbert County
Richard Johnson:  Lincoln County
Nathan Kubes:  Western State Colorado University
Grey La Certe:  Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
Mike Le Roux:  Archuleta County Sheriff's Office
Tadd Mauritson:  City of Colorado Springs Fire Department
Bryant McCall:  Washington County Office of Emergency Management
Tracy Nelson:  Fowler Rural Fire Protection District
Charlotte Olsen:  Colorado Department of Human Services
Elizabeth Ownsby: Colorado DHSEM
Denise Popish:  Colorado DHSEM
John Riley:  Pueblo County Sheriff's Office Emergency Services Bureau
Erica Roberts:  Jefferson County Emergency Management
Larry Sanders:  Huerfano County
Ted Sayer:  El Paso County Office of Emergency Management
Janet Schoenberg:  Colorado National Guard
Lorin Schroeder:  UCHealth memorial Hospital
John Snodgrass:  Colorado National Guard
Brad Stiles:  Colorado School Safety Resource Center
Jeremy Utter:  Colorado DHSEM
Nathan Whittington:  Colorado DHSEM

Burrito event raises awareness and more than $800 for child abuse prevention

by Susan Medina
Many thanks to the CDPS members who took part in the first-ever Breakfast Burrito Extravaganza to benefit Ralston House on a snowy Tuesday. Ralston House Child Advocacy Center provides a safe place to investigate child abuse, and ensures victim assistance for children who have been physically or sexually abused or have witnessed violence. Ralston House has multiple locations across the metro area and serves thousands of children each year.
Volunteers prepare burritos to be sold at the fundraiser.

We're extremely pleased to report the generous donations generated from the 201 breakfast burritos sold resulted in more than $800 being raised for Ralston House. The event also enabled us to "plant" a pinwheel garden to drive awareness about child abuse prevention throughout the month of April.

The pinwheel "garden" planted to raise
awareness about child abuse prevention
We would like to extend a sincere thanks to the CDPS team who came together to donate the ingredients (and time) for the burrito extravaganza. Their generosity and endless energy helped make the event a tremendous success:

Jessica Anderson
Chris Andrist
Joy Fernandez
Caley Fisher
Ron Franz
Ralph Gagliardi
Rhonda Johnson
Kirby Lewis
Susan Medina
Patti Penn
Chivon Spears
Honorable Mention: Miss Peepers (one of Patti Penn’s hens responsible for many of the farm-fresh eggs!)

Great work and support everyone!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

DCJ Staffer Played Pivotal Role in Colorado Victim Rights Amendment

Tony Tilger speaks at an event commemorating the
25th anniversary of the Colorado Victim Rights Act. 
On April 3, 2017, Division of Criminal Justice staffer Tony Tilger joined Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, numerous victims' services representatives, and the daughter of Dave Sanders (the teacher slain in the Columbine High School shooting) to commemorate 25 years of Victim Rights in Colorado.  The event was part of national Victim Rights week.

Tilger shared his recollections of  what it was like for victims 25 years ago, prior to Colorado's adoption of the Victim Rights Amendment.  Tilger played an important role in Colorado's adoption of the groundbreaking amendment, which enumerates the rights that victims of crime are entitled to in Colorado.

Tilger originally became interested in the rights of crime victims in the 1980s, when he was employed by a lobbying firm that assigned him to work on legislation for tougher sentencing laws for convicted criminals, including sex offenders.  As he prepared witnesses to testify on the bill, he was introduced to a 4-year-old girl who had been sexually assaulted and then left in the bottom of an outhouse on Lookout Mountain. Seeing the effects that the crime had on her and her family left a lasting impression on Tilger and increased his interest in victim's rights.

The stricter sentencing legislation eventually passed, but Tilger realized there was a lot more work to be done for victims in the state of Colorado.  In 1990, Governor Roy Romer appointed Tilger as the legislative representative to the Victims Board staffed by the Division of Criminal Justice to oversee funding decisions for federal Victim of Crime Act monies. Following a failed retention bid for his seat in the Colorado House of Representatives, Tilger was asked by members of the Board and victims community to serve as the Executive Director of the Colorado Victims Constitutional Amendment Network, which had formed to advocate for the passage of a crime victims’ rights amendment.

On November 3, 1992, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved the Constitutional Amendment for Victims’ Rights, and the legislature almost unanimously approved the enabling legislation.

At the time there were very few states that had Constitutional rights, and Colorado was on the leading edge of the movement. To date, 35 states have adopted Constitutional amendments for victim rights.

In his remarks on April 3, Tilger reminded the audience of just how far victims’ rights have progressed since the passing of the Victim Rights Amendment (VRA) and enabling legislation 25 years ago.

Tilger highlighted one particular case from the 1982 Presidential Task Force Report on Victims of Crime; the case demonstrates how dire the need for victim rights was in the past, and how important it is that we continue to advocate for victims.  Fortunately, most of the issues related to how Ms. Doe was treated by the criminal justice system in 1982 would not happen today because of the passage of the VRA. We have reprinted excerpts of the story here in honor of victims like Jane Doe, and all victims whose rights we fight to protect.

Ms. Doe was asleep one night in her Colorado home when she was sexually assaulted.  The perpetrator also steals some items from the house and threatens Jane if she calls the police.  Police arrive at the scene, take photographs and dust for fingerprints.  When Jane tells them she was sexually assaulted, the police officer drives her to the hospital for a sexual assault exam.  Jane sits alone in the hospital for hours until an intern physician, who is clearly agitated for having been awakened to conduct the exam, arrives.  The intern really hates it when he is dragged into court to testify.  After the exam, Jane pays for a cab home in her hospital gown as all of her clothes have been taken for evidence.  Jane feels alone, and is upset to learn that when she gave her home address to the police, the defense lawyer and press would now also have that information.  The next day Jane begins to get calls from security companies offering to sell her security systems for her house.

Jane learns that the attacker has been arrested, not from law enforcement, but from phone calls she begins receiving from him at the jail.  The judge orders the offender not to contact Jane, but does nothing when he is told of the phone calls.  Jane is not told when the offender is released, and only finds out that he has posted bail one day when she is walking to work and turns the corner only to be confronted by him.  Jane still tries to return to some sense of normal, but it is hard when the police detectives show up at her place of employment, unannounced, and ask to see her.  They don’t explain to her co-workers why they are there, and the co-workers can only guess.  Then there is the call at 1 a.m. to come to the police station to look at a photo line-up.  Jane is subject to the stares of the defense attorney, who sits next to her during the line-up.  

A few weeks later, Jane receives a subpoena for a preliminary hearing from the District Attorney’s Office.  She does not know what a Preliminary Hearing is, and has not been contacted by anyone from the District Attorney’s Office to this point.  

The day of the preliminary hearing finally arrives and Jane arrives at court to meet the prosecutor for the first time.  The prosecutor rushes into the waiting room and asks Jane if “are you the one that was raped”?  After a couple of minutes of conversation, the prosecutor sends Jane out to a bench outside the courtroom to sit alone.  

In the hallway, Jane sees the perpetrator and his team of friends walk by and laugh at her.  Jane was not told that the attacker would be there.  Jane waits for two hours before the Deputy District Attorney finally emerges from the courtroom and is “surprised” that she is still there.  He tells her that the case was continued for month.

This process is repeated four more times before there is an actual preliminary hearing.  Each time Jane has to hire a babysitter, take time off work, pay for parking, and wait for hours.  The Court or the District Attorney don’t seem to care.  Jane is never asked by the Court or DA if the new dates are convenient for her.  Each time Jane uses up sick leave and vacation time to go to court.  

Finally, the Preliminary Hearing takes place.  Jane was not prepared for the Preliminary Hearing. The defense attorney is relentless, and treats her in a way he could never treat a victim in front of a jury. The defense lawyer asks Jane if she has moved since the alleged attack, and she must tell everyone, including the defendant sitting next to his lawyer, her new address.  The judge threatens to hold Jane in contempt if she doesn’t reveal her new address, and the DA does nothing to object.

The case is eventually scheduled for trial.  There are three mornings when Jane is psychologically prepared for trial, takes off work and goes to court, only to find out the case has been continued. Jane calls to speak to the prosecutor and is told the case has been re-assigned to a new prosecutor. Months go by and no one tells Jane what is going on.  

When a trial date finally appears promising, Jane has a family reunion out of state.  Jane asks the Court if the trial can be postponed for a week; she is told that the Defendant has the right to a speedy trial, and the case would not be continued.  Jane stays home from the family reunion. The case is continued once again at the request of the defendant.  

Time passes and Jane learns the defense lawyer has filed several motions.  No one informs Jane about the status of the case, or consults with her about her wishes in the case.  Jane is not told of the numerous plea offers the prosecutor has made to the defendant.

Eighteen months later, the case finally goes to trial. Jane sits in the waiting room with the defendant’s family and friends. The defense attorney has subpoenaed Jane’s therapist and all of her notes for all the world to hear. Jane finally testifies, and would like to watch the rest of the trial, but she cannot. Jane is a subpoenaed witness and is sequestered from watching the trial. 

The jury returns a guilty verdict. Jane now looks to the Court to impose a fair sentence. Jane is surprised when no one ever asks her how the crime has affected her and her family. At sentencing, the Court hears from the defendant, his friends, his minister and his family.  Jane asks the Court for permission to address the court, and is told that she is not allowed to do so.

The Court sentences the defendant to three years.  Jane is never told that the defendant will probably actually be out in less than 18 months.  Jane is never informed when the defendant will actually be released, or if he is up for Parole.  Even so, Jane would not be allowed to speak at the Parole hearing.  Jane asks for the items from her house back that were being held for evidence, but is told she can’t have anything because the defendant has the right to appeal the conviction.
Today, the VRA ensures that victims in Colorado have the right to be informed at every stage of the criminal justice process, to have their voices heard, and to be treated with dignity, fairness and respect.

Tilger credits the strength of victim rights in Colorado and passage of the VRA to a few driving forces: historical events that led to the formation of a Presidential Task Force in 1981; the tenacity of  Bob Preston, who moved to Colorado after leading the Constitutional Amendment fight in Florida, where his daughter had been murdered; and the Colorado Victims Constitutional Amendment Network and supporters, who took the best language from states that had passed Constitutional rights to draft what became Colorado’s VRA.

Tilger joined the Office for Victims Programs in the Division of Criminal Justice in December of 1997, where he continues to work with victims and victim service agencies.