MESSAGE FROM SHERIFF TERRY MAKETA
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is one of the finest law enforcement agencies in the nation. We are proud of the high quality of service we provide to the citizens of El Paso County. To maintain this reputation, we must constantly strive for excellence.
It is essential that all allegations of employee misconduct are thoroughly and objectively investigated to assure the public that employee misconduct will not be tolerated and at the same time provide a vehicle whereby employees unjustly accused can be cleared of misconduct. The responsibility and authority for these investigations within the El Paso County Sheriff's Office are vested within the Professional Standards Division, Internal Affairs Unit.
The major function of the Internal Affairs section is the receiving, processing and the investigation of complaints made against members of the Sheriff's Office. To ensure the public trust and maintain the integrity of the Sheriff's Office, the Internal Affairs Unit conducts immediate, thorough and objective investigations of all complaints. All investigations will stand a test of fairness and all members of the Sheriff's Office will be treated equally regardless of rank.
Anyone may file a complaint against a member(s) of the Sheriff's Office. Preliminary complaints will be accepted in person, by phone, in writing, mail, and email. In order to conduct a more thorough investigation the complainant will have to meet with an Internal Affairs Investigator for the filing of a formal complaint. At which time the complainant will be given a copy of their signed complaint.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Q. How do I commend an employee?
A. You may send a letter to the Sheriff's Office at the address listed below or you may call our main phone numbers for the section/division the employee works in. These main numbers are listed on the home page, but if you do not know the section/division the employee works in, then please call the Front Desk at (719) 520-7100.
Q. How do I file a complaint against an employee of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office?
A. Complaints against any El Paso County Sheriff's Office employee will be accepted at:
210 S. Tejon
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
or at the
Criminal Justice Center
2739 East Las Vegas Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
o r at the
Law Enforcement Bureau
101 W. Costilla
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
or by calling the Internal Affairs Office at (719)520-7148. When received, the complaint is assigned to an investigator of supervisory rank. Statements are taken from the complainant, witnesses and the accused employee(s). Upon completion, the case is reviewed and a disposition is made by the accused employee's Chain of Command.
Q. How long does it take Internal Affairs to complete the investigation?
A. The average case takes from two to three weeks to complete. This would depend on the complexity of the case, the availability of the witnesses and the involvement of other agencies.
Q. Will I be notified of the findings?
A. Yes. You will be notified by mail, regardless of the outcome.
Q. Do other agencies investigate police misconduct?
A. Yes. The District Attorney's Office investigates criminal misconduct and the FBI investigates civil rights violations.
Q. May anyone read the investigation after it is completed?
A. No. The Privacy Act prohibits the Sheriff's Office from releasing investigations to the public, unauthorized members of the Sheriff's Office and the accused employee.
The Internal Affairs Unit keeps records of all complaints received. These records consist of internal complaints, which are complaints made by a member of the Sheriff's Office and external complaints, which are complaints made by citizens not employed by the Office.
The following statistics were collected from the year 2004, regarding investigations of internal and external complaints. The statistics show the percentages for each disposition as stated in our Policy and Procedures Manual. These dispositions are defined below.
- Sustained: The allegation is substantiated, the misconduct did occur, and disciplinary action will be taken.
- Sustained with no penalty: The allegation is substantiated, the misconduct did occur, and corrective action will be taken.
- Non-sustained: The allegation is not substantiated. There is not sufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation.
- Unfounded: The allegation is false, or not factual; no misconduct; the incident did not occur or involve the accused employee.
- Exonerated: The incident occurred but the accused employee acted lawfully and properly.
Internal Affairs Unit
There were 129 cases initiated during 2007. Investigators from the Internal Affairs Unit conducted or assisted with 32 investigations that were personnel complaints and 2 preliminary use of force investigations. The use of force investigations were initiated for a pursuit that resulted in death and an incident at CJC that resulted in serious bodily injury to an inmate. There was one preliminary investigation that was initiated for an in-custody death. It was determined the inmate died as a result of ingesting three (3) small plastic zip lock baggies containing illegal drugs.
Complaints taken for 2007: 129 complaints
95 of the 129 complaints or 74% were internal
Sustained No Penalty: 38
34 of the 129 complaints or 26% were external
Sustained No Penalty: 1
Internal and External Complaints
Sustained No Penalty: 39
For additional information see Policy 315