The Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Division (MVNI) is a multi-jurisdictional drug task force consisting of law enforcement officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the Teller County Sheriff’s Office, the Fountain Police Department, and the Woodland Park Police Department. MVNI operates under the policies and procedures of the Colorado Springs Police Department.CSPD spokesman Lt. Howard Black also notes in a separate email to the Indy: "Once the audit is complete, a press conference will follow."
In early February, the CSPD discovered discrepancies in the case filing procedures utilized by MVNI while conducting an internal audit. It has been determined that some electronic case report documents were not consistently being transferred to the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office (DA). This process of transferring case documentation is commonly referred to as “discovery” in cases where criminal charges are pending against a defendant.
Changes to MVNI’s current case filing process were promptly implemented to remedy this issue. After preliminary research to determine the scope of the problem, the CSPD notified the DA’s Office on February 8th.
Through our initial review of affected cases, the information that was not provided to the District Attorney’s Office appears to be primarily administrative in nature. In an abundance of caution, the CSPD and the DA’s Office are evaluating all filed MVNI cases from 2013 forward and resubmitting the entire case files to the DA’s Office to ensure all of the information is provided to the defendants.
After evaluating our investigative case files throughout the department, we have determined that this issue appears to be isolated within the Metro VNI Division. We identified approximately 3,000 case filings, primarily narcotics-related investigations, over a four-year period that may have been impacted; however, that number may turn out to
be significantly smaller once we complete our review.
This review is ongoing. Additional information will be released at the end of our review.
We are pleased to announce that we have gone through our formal endorsement approval process via membership and we have chosen you as a candidate that we would like to endorse.Gaebler is being challenged in central District 5 by businesswoman Lynette Crow-Iverson.
We are still in discussion as to how we can best benefit your campaign both financially and through volunteerism. We will be reaching out to you in the near future when we make a final decision as to how we can best contribute to your campaign.
In the meantime, you are welcome to mention that you have received an official endorsement from the "Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters Association". In addition, one of our board members will be reaching out to your campaign manager to inquire about future events.
We look forward to working with you and your campaign.
“Unfortunately, much of the media in Washington, D.C., along with New York, Los Angeles in particular, speaks not for the people, but for the special interests and for those profiting off a very, very obviously broken system. The press has become so dishonest that if we don’t talk about, we are doing a tremendous disservice to the American people. Tremendous disservice. We have to talk to find out what’s going on, because the press honestly is out of control. The level of dishonesty is out of control.”
“I am talking — and really talking on this very entrenched power structure, and what we’re doing is we’re talking about the power structure; we’re talking about its entrenchment. As a result, the media is going through what they have to go through too often times distort — not all the time — and some of the media is fantastic, I have to say — they’re honest and fantastic,” he said.
“But much of it is not a — the distortion — and we’ll talk about it, you’ll be able to ask me questions about it. But we’re not going to let it happen, because I’m here again, to take my message straight to the people.”
“But our country will never have had a military like the military we’re about to build and rebuild. We have the greatest people on earth in our military, but they don’t have the right equipment and their equipment is old. I used it; I talked about it at every stop. Depleted, it’s depleted — it won’t be depleted for long,” he said.
“Obamacare is a disaster, folks. It is a disaster. I know you can say, oh, Obamacare. I mean, they fill up our alleys with people that you wonder how they get there, but they are not the Republican people our that representatives are representing.”“Yes sir, who fills up the alleys with what people? And how does that relate to Obamacare?”
“Can I be honest with you? And this has to do with racism and horrible things that are put up. Some of it written by our opponents. You do know that. Do you understand that? You don’t think anybody would do a thing like that. Some of the signs you’ll see are not put up by the people that love or like Donald Trump, they’re put up by the other side and you think it’s like playing it straight?”
A source close to Sheriff Bill Elder confirmed that last fall the Department of Justice (DOJ) completed an audit of the Special Investigation Fund (SIF), which is managed by The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO), and found some “irregularities” and/or fraud with the handling of these accounts. The severity of these “irregularities” were such that the funds, which total approximately 900k, were frozen until further notice.According to the Sheriff's Office, there has been no finding of fraud, but it's true the local fund was frozen for about five months. Also, there might, indeed, be findings of "irregularities" and/or fraud in the future, because the DOJ review is ongoing and there's no specific date on which it will be completed.
The City of Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) and the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, along with a number of smaller law enforcement agencies have operated a special investigations fund (SIF) for well over thirty years under an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) approved by the Colorado Springs City Council and the Board of County Commissioners. The sources of funds for this account were seizures of property ordered by state courts as well as federal equitable sharing funds which came from seizures conducted by federal law enforcement as a result of joint task forces operated in conjunction with CSPD and EPSO. Funds in this account were used by the Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Unit (Metro VNI), acting as a joint task force, to support primarily narcotics investigations. The fund paid for such items as overtime, vehicle leases, phone bills, tactical equipment and other items, all specifically approved by the SIF Board, consisting of the Colorado Springs Police Chief, El Paso County Sheriff and District Attorney. The financial practices for this fund have been in place for many years to include the previous three EPSO administrations. EPSO has acted as the fiscal agent for this fund many years. The fund has been audited numerous times by independent auditors with no significant findings.Asked about the review, CSPD spokesman Lt. Howard Black says via email, "The DOJ compliance review has had no impact on the day-to-day operations of Metro VNI."
In August of 2016, the fund underwent a routine federal Department of Justice (DOJ) compliance review. During this compliance review federal authorities discovered that the way in which the fund was receiving and accounting for federal equitable sharing funds did not meet current federal requirements. Specifically, the funds were deposited into a bank account owned by the County, while the City of Colorado Springs applied for the federal funds, as the agencies operated as a joint task force. The operation of a task force has different federal requirements from those contained in the Metro VNI intergovernmental agreement. The DOJ requested that we stop spending federal funds while we worked with them to develop procedures that would meet federal requirements. CSPD and EPSO complied with that request. CSPD and EPSO, along with City and County Financial authorities are continuing to work with the DOJ to finalize the compliance review. The do not spend request has since been lifted by federal authorities.
Over the last seven years, the number of dead standing trees in Colorado forests increased almost 30 percent, to an estimated 834 million trees – or nearly one in every 14 standing trees. And this trend of increasing tree mortality – which is most observable in spruce-fir and lodgepole pine forests impacted by bark beetles – may result in forests conducive to large, intense wildfires like the 2016 Beaver Creek Fire that burned through beetle-kill timber northwest of Walden.
The 2016 Report on the Health of Colorado’s Forests distributed today ... at the State Capitol, highlighted this and other observed forest trends for the state. The theme of this year’s report is “Fire and Water,” focusing on how wildfires and unhealthy forest conditions impact human populations, water supplies and forested environments.
“When so many trees die and large wildfires follow, our forests quickly turn from a carbon sink into a carbon source,” said Mike Lester, State Forester and Director of the CSFS. “Beyond the implications for our atmosphere, forests in poor health have implications for our water supplies, public safety, wildlife and recreation opportunities.”
Highlights from this year’s report include:
· Colorado’s decades-long mountain pine beetle epidemic resulted in almost 3.4 million acres with some degree of tree mortality; an ongoing spruce beetle epidemic has thus far resulted in 1.7 million impacted acres.
· Approximately 80 percent of the state’s population relies on forested watersheds for municipal water supplies.
· Risks ranging from severe wildfires and insect infestations to long-term droughts are likely to be amplified in the future, as climate model projections predict statewide warming between 2.5 F and 6.5 F by 2050.
“With increasing changes in our forests, now is the time for determining how we will manage for projected future conditions,” said Lester. He says that actions the CSFS is taking now to address these threats include forest management efforts focused on watershed protection and reducing wildfire risk; providing seedling trees for restoration efforts; wood utilization and marketing; and insect and disease detection, surveys and response.
Much of what the CSFS accomplishes is through key partnerships with other agencies and organizations, including those with the U.S. Forest Service, Denver Water, the Northern Water Conservancy District and Colorado Springs Utilities. The agency also offers or assists with many programs and resources for communities working to become fire-adapted, including Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), Firewise Communities/USA® and the online Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal.
Each year, forest health reports provide information to the Colorado General Assembly and residents of Colorado about the health and condition of forests across the state, including recent data, figures and maps. Information for the reports is derived from an annual aerial forest health survey by the CSFS and the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service, as well as field inspections, CSFS contacts with forest landowners and special surveys.
In prior years, the DDA had granted a total of $225,000 for a feasibility study of the museum, support for the City for Champions application to the state Regional Tourism Act, and planning components for the museum and southwest downtown area. That prior commitment, plus the additional $775,000 authorized by the board on February 14, 2017, brings the total commitment to the project to $1 million.
“The US Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame is a catalytic project not only for Downtown, but for our entire city,” said board chair Steve Engel. “The DDA is proud to have been a first-stage investor in this initiative with the initial feasibility study, and now seeing the project through this very important phase before groundbreaking.”
Project leaders for the US Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame intend to break ground in spring 2017. The building will become a landmark destination Downtown, and already has served to spur additional retail, restaurant, and residential growth and interest in the city center.
About Downtown Development Authority
Downtown property owners voted to establish the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) in November 2006 to provide programs and financial support to encourage downtown development. DDA is governed by a board of 11 people appointed by Colorado Springs City Council. The DDA builds public and private investment partnerships that promote the economic growth of Downtown Colorado Springs. For more information visit www.downtowncs.com/DDA, or contact Downtown Colorado Springs at 719.886.0088.
General Flynn's resignation is not enough. The American people deserve the full story, including when the White House became aware of General Flynn’s communications and whether anyone directed him to discuss our sanctions policy with Russian officials.Bennet's reference to Trump's comment about "illegal Washington leaks" regards the president's contention that who told the media about Flynn's conversations with a Russian envoy is the real story, according to The Washington Post.
President Trump’s suggestion that illegal Washington leaks are the real concern must not distract us from the actual national security risk at hand. Questions remain about Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump Administration’s ties to Russia. Congress must start a full, in-depth, bipartisan investigation immediately.
The Senate's second-ranking Republican and other GOP senators are calling for an investigation into connections between President Donald Trump and Russia, and want former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to testify.No word from Colorado's other senator, Republican Cory Gardner, on the Flynn departure.
Sen. John Cornyn, who has called for an investigation into Trump's tie to Russia before Flynn resigned, told reporters Tuesday that the Senate standing committees with oversight of intelligence need to investigate Flynn. Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also told KTRS radio he wanted to speak with Flynn.
The Fourth Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet March 14, 2017, at the El Paso County Judicial Building to interview and select nominees for appointment by the governor to the office of county judge for El Paso County. The vacancy will be created by the retirement of the Hon. Jonathan L. Walker, effective Feb. 15, 2017.
To be eligible, the applicant must be a qualified elector of El Paso County at the time of investiture and must have been admitted to the practice of law in Colorado. The current annual salary for this position is $152,466. The initial term of office of a county judge is a provisional term of two years; thereafter, the incumbent county judge, if approved by the voters, has a term of four years.
Application forms are available from the office of the ex officio chair of the nominating commission, Justice William W. Hood III, 2 E. 14th Ave., Denver, CO 80203; and the office of the district administrator, Danny Davis, 270 S. Tejon St., Colorado Springs, CO 80903. Applications also are available on the court’s home page at http://www.courts.state.co.us/Careers/Judge.cfm
The original, signed application and an identical copy stored as a PDF must be filed with the ex officio chair no later than Feb. 27, 2017. Late applications will not be considered. Any person wishing to suggest a candidate to fill the vacancy may do so by letter to be submitted to any member of the nominating commission, with a copy to the ex officio chair, no later than Feb. 21, 2017.
The members of the nominating commission for the Fourth Judicial District are: Jack Donley, Larry Gaddis, Beth Lieberman, Juan Moreno, and Mary Linden, all of Colorado Springs; and Daniel Nicholson and Philip Mella, of Woodland Park.
Pursuant to Rule 34 of the Colorado Rules of Judicial Discipline (“Colo. R.J.D.) and based upon his consent, on November 8, 2016, El Paso County Judge Jonathan L. Walker was temporarily suspended with pay pending the outcome of the preliminary investigation and related formal proceedings related to this matter.
A Statement of Charges was filed on November 23, 2016. Judge Walker filed an Answer to the Statement of Charges on December 17, 2016. A hearing with three special masters was set for February 27, 2017 through March 1, 2017. The Statement of Charges and Answer asserted the following summarized claims and defenses:
a. The Judge engaged in undignified and disrespectful conduct, including harassment, toward three female Judicial employees, in violation of Canon Rules 1.2 (promoting confidence in the judiciary), 2.3 (bias, prejudice and harassment), and 2.8 (undignified conduct toward court staff). The Judge denied these allegations, asserting that his actions were misconstrued and that one staff member’s allegations were in response to a Judicial Branch evaluation of the staff member’s performance issues.
b. The Judge retaliated against another Judicial staff member once he learned that the staff member had been interviewed as part of an investigation into his conduct in violation of Canon Rule 2.16(B) (prohibition of retaliation) and 2.8(B) (undignified conduct toward court staff). The Judge denied these allegations, asserting he and this staff member did not get along and the staff member was a poor performer.
c. The Judge improperly modified plea agreements in a number of cases without informing the parties, violating his duty to promote confidence in the judiciary and avoid the appearance of impropriety and unfairness, in violation of Canon Rule 1.2 (promoting confidence in the judiciary) and 2.2 (impartiality and fairness). The Judge admitted that he modified plea agreements but asserted that his modification was lawful.
d. The Judge failed to disqualify himself from cases where his personal attorney was representing a litigant, in violation of Canon Rule 2.11 (disqualification). The Judge denied these allegations, asserting that he instructed a staff member to place his attorney on the recusal list and the staff member failed to do so without advising him. On the two occasions that his personal attorney appeared in his courtroom, the Judge asserted that he acted in conformance with his duty to disqualify himself.
Because Judge Walker has agreed to retire from the bench effective February 15, 2017, the Commission requested the dismissal of the proceedings pending against him. On February 9, 2017, the Colorado Supreme Court approved the recommendation of the Colorado Commission on Judicial Discipline for the termination of disciplinary proceedings involving Judge Walker.
The Court ordered that the conclusion of these proceedings should be made public. The Commission's records in other respects remain confidential.