COLORADO SPRINGS — In conjunction with the Colorado Springs Independent, News5 has learned a Colorado Springs Police Department internal affairs investigation led to nine officers being reprimanded for their involvement with a private security company owned by Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell.
That security company is called iXero LLC. According to the internal affairs documents, those nine officers violated department policy by working for the company.
According to the documents, the officers worked for the company while off duty but continued to use CSPD-issued equipment, phones, and even weapons. The investigation also found the officers did private investigative work for iXero.
“They mounted a camera that would record someone’s home without their knowledge. And putting vehicle trackers on people’s cars,” said Pam Zubeck, a reporter for the Colorado Springs Independent who first uncovered the findings. “What ultimately was concluded was that these officers, to varying degrees, violated policies.”
CSPD confirmed to News5 those policies required officers to do things like get permission before working for an outside group.
“There’s a policy that if CSPD officers undertake private investigation work, that they not do it within the Fourth Judicial District, which includes El Paso County and Teller County,” Zubeck said.
And now, we know the price the nine officers had to pay.
“They came down pretty hard on them,” Zubeck said.
Some received suspensions, some had letters of reprimand.
“The most severe was to a Sgt. Larry Dyer… who received a 60-hour suspension,” Zubeck said. Now, that doesn’t sound like a lot. That’s a week and a half essentially. However, I understand that that is quite severe.”
The Independent describes Dyer as the ringleader of the group.
“Sgt. Dyer was going around signing up people that he knew that served on Metro V&I, which is a very elite unit in the first place,” Zubeck said.
In response to the findings, CSPD Chief Vince Niski issued News5 the following statement via email:
The intent behind discipline is to change the employees’ behavior and bring them into compliance with the goals and values of the department. After a complete and thorough investigation by internal affairs and a review of the pertinent information by the chain of command a determination was made for each individual employee what discipline was necessary to affect a change in their behavior and assure that this type of violation did not occur again. I believe that the chain of command implemented an effective level discipline for each of the employees that shares they will not repeat the violation, and will still remain valued members of our department. While I’m very disappointed that the employees failed to live up to our communities and my expectations, I still feel that they will continue to serve the citizens of Colorado springs. I believe that once discipline has been imposed, and the employee has changed their behavior, we cannot keep punishing them. The employee should be able to go back to work with the understanding that if they violate policy again they will be subjected to more severe discipline.
When it comes to Teller County Sheriff Mikesell, at no point was he under investigation.
In Wednesday’s edition of the Colorado Springs Independent, they’ll break down the investigation, including what larger implications this investigation might have.