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February 12, 2019
Two Deputies Awarded Medal of Valor by Sheriff Taylor; Third Deputy Awarded Purple Heart After Injured in Inmate Assault

 

Anthony DeHerrera Detective Byron FranklinDeputy Dionicio Franklin

Left to Right: Master Deputy Anthony DeHerrera, Detective Byron Franklin, Detention Deputy Dionicio Franklin

Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor awarded Master Deputy Anthony DeHerrera and Detective Byron Franklin each with the Medal of Valor at the 13th annual Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office Awards Banquet held Friday at Pueblo Community College.

The Medal of Valor is law enforcement’s highest award and is presented for an act of outstanding bravery or heroism performed with selflessness, courage and devotion to duty.

Detention Deputy Dionicio Franklin was presented a Purple Heart for his determination and endurance after he suffered a serious head injury in an assault by an inmate on December 25, 2017.

Master Deputy DeHerrera and Detective Franklin were praised for the bravery the exhibited the morning of May 19, 2018, while responding to a suspicious vehicle call at a residence in Eastern Pueblo County.

“The actions by these deputies’ were truly heroic,” said Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor.
“They faced danger, yet they put the safety of the community before their own lives. Their work ethic is a testament to the bravery our deputies put forth daily to serve and protect this community. I am very proud and honored to award these two fine men with the distinguished Medal of Valor for their courage, selflessness and dedication to duty.”

The deputies contacted a man at the residence and learned he was wanted on several felony warrants. One of the deputies told the man he had warrants and was asked to walk toward the other deputy. Instead of walking to the deputy, the man veered to the side, pulled out a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at both deputies. Both deputies fired their weapon, stopping the suspect from harming them and the citizens of Pueblo County.

This was the second Medal of Valor award presented to Master Deputy DeHerrera during his career. DeHerrera was awarded a Medal of Valor for his actions on December 28, 1989, when he rescued a child from the icy water of the Baxter Pond.
A special plaque with photos and citations highlighting the heroic actions of Master Deputy DeHerrera and Detective Franklin will be placed permanently in the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office Hall of Valor, located on the first floor of the Emergency Services Center, 101 W. 10th Street.

Deputy Dionicio Franklin was serving food trays when he opened a cell door to serve a tray to an inmate due to the tray slot not working properly. The inmate kicked the door open and charged at the deputy hitting him multiple times. The inmate took Deputy Franklin’s baton from his duty belt and repeatedly hit him with it. Deputy Franklin continued to fight, despite suffering a severe head wound that required medical attention. Deputy Franklin returned to work shortly after the incident.

 

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Employees, Citizens Honored by Sheriff Taylor at Annual Awards Banquet

Lira, Jordan

Christine GuerinShawnna ClementiJennifer Morales Nicholas Grano-Garcia

 

(Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Detention Deputy Jordan Lira, Patrol Deputy Christine Guerin, Shawnna Clementi, Jennifer Morales, Nicholas Grano-Garcia

Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor honored several employees, a special unit and several citizens for outstanding service and dedication to the Sheriff’s Office at the 13th annual Awards Banquet held Friday at Pueblo Community College.

“I am proud to recognize several of our exceptional employees, who have demonstrated through their character, professionalism and actions, a commitment to our motto “Service Over Self”,” said Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor. “I am equally as proud to recognize several remarkable citizens who, with their service, have helped make Pueblo County a better place to live.”

Sheriff Taylor and his command staff presented the following awards:

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Deputy Christine Guerin was honored for her strong work ethic and selflessness in her current position as a patrol deputy. Deputy Guerin, an 11-year-veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, was noted for going above and beyond her regular duties to help her fellow deputies and the citizens of Pueblo County. She was recognized as an individual who always helps whenever needed, is loyal, dependable and a great team player.

DETENTION OFFICER OF THE YEAR: Deputy Jordan Lira was honored for his positive attitude and dedication to the Sheriff’s Office. Lira was recognized for his leadership, willingness to assist in all areas of the Pueblo County Detention Center and for going above and beyond his assigned duties. He is an exceptional instructor of PPCT and cell search and often teaches classes on his days off. This past year, Deputy Lira helped coordinate and participated on the Law Enforcement Team at the annual Pueblo Bikers United Toy Bowl.

EMERGENCY SERVICES MEMBER OF THE YEAR: Shawnna Clementi, is a veteran communications officer in the Pueblo County Sheriff’s 911 Communication Center. Clementi was noted for maintain her compassion and professionalism in dealing with the public and the Sheriff’s Office staff. Her 21 years of experience and supervisory skills have made her an asset for new employees. She is noted for her critical thinking, logic and multi-tasking skills while still offering a calming presence in high-stress situations.

NON-UNIFORMED MEMBER OF THE YEAR: Jennifer Morales, an accounts technician, was recognized for her organizational skills and exceptional skills in handling all inmate accounts and financial issues. Morales has been instrumental in assisting inmates and their families with a high-degree of professionalism and patience while helping the Sheriff’s Office transition through changes and updates in the inmate accounts process.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR: Nicholas Grano-Garcia, a three-year member of the Sheriff’s Explorer program, was recognized for his commitment and dedication to the Sheriff’s Office. Grano-Garcia, a 2018 graduate of Centennial High School, was lauded for his commitment to attending events, meetings and trainings, even while experiencing a personal tragedy. Recently promoted to Sergeant, Grano-Garcia is also an outstanding leader, a determined individual and a committed asset to the agency.

UNIT MERITORIOUS
HONOR GUARD – The members of the Honor Guard were honored for their dedication in providing service for a variety of events and activities. This unit continually represents the Sheriff’s Office with professionalism and dedication at local events and at statewide services, including those that honor fallen officers. The unit is composed of a motivated and devoted group of individuals with a deep sense of pride and team spirit.

CITIZENS OF THE YEAR: Kim Martin, Carlos Maes, Jamie Miller, Jill Beckwith, Terry Terrill, Madelaine Anderson, Ashley Berchkan, Ashley Castillo, Jason Florez, Penny Hardy, Sharayah Lehnert and Randy Vialpando.
Martin was honored for her hospitality and sincerity in routinely bringing food for deputies at the Pueblo West substation in appreciation for their service to the community.
Maes, Miller and Beckwith were recognized for their work with Loaf ‘N Jug stores in hosting fundraising events for ACOVA (A Community Organization for Victim Assistance).
Terrill, a qualified Drone instructor, was honored for dedicating his time to assist the Sheriff’s Office in creating a Drone team and in instructing a variety of training courses.
Anderson, Berchkan, Castillo Florez, Hardy, Lehnert and Vialpando were recognized for their response after a jail inmate attacked and assaulted a deputy in a hospital emergency examination room. The deputy had escorted the inmate to the hospital to receive medical treatment. The members of the emergency room medical team and AMR staff entered the room and engaged the inmate and, with assistance from the hospital security staff, were able to restrain the inmate.

Sheriff Taylor also awarded several Commendation awards for outstanding service on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office. Those receiving commendation awards were Sgt. Caitlin Howard, Sgt. Chris Kilpatrick, K9 PC (posthumously) and Detective Chuck Roldan.

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February 5, 2019
Sheriff Taylor Announces Scholarship for Local High School Seniors

Beach Vibes 2020

Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor announced today the County Sheriffs of Colorado, Inc. (CSOC) will award a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving Pueblo County student this spring. CSOC, the state Sheriff’s Association, established the scholarship program in 1978. Since then, this effort has continued as a meaningful expression of the sheriff’s confidence in and respect for education and training. CSOC considers this an investment in the future and believes that the membership is helping to provide deserving students with an opportunity to make a positive contribution to society.

Scholarship announcements have been mailed to all high school offices in Pueblo County and to all Colorado higher education institutions. Applications are available online at www.csoc.org. Deadline to submit applications is February 22.

Taylor said this is the 41st year the County Sheriffs of Colorado has made such scholarships available. A scholarship will be awarded in more than 30 Colorado counties this year. Applications will be reviewed by a local citizens’ committee appointed by Sheriff Taylor. The recipient will be selected based on criteria established by CSOC to include leadership, merit, character and involvement and career purpose. Any legal permanent resident of Pueblo County enrolled in or applying to a vocational training program or institution of higher learning in Colorado as a full- or part-time student is eligible to apply. There are no restrictions as to the course of study or training which may be pursued and no restrictions are placed upon applications by reason of race, creed, age, sex or national origin.

For more information, contact local high schools or Yvette Robinson at Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office at (719) 583-6407 or at robinsoy@pueblocounty.us or County Sheriffs of Colorado at www.csoc.org.

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February 1, 2019
Arrest Made in Death of Man Found in Pueblo County in November

ARRESTED (1)
On November 23, 2018, at approximately 4:30 PM, deputies with the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 5500 block of Overton Road in North Pueblo County on the report of a dead body.

The Pueblo County Coroner’s Office, with assistance from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, identified the body as that of Barney Jenkins, 47 years of age and a resident of Colorado Springs.

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office began working with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado Springs Police Department in investigating the death of Mr. Jenkins.

The Colorado Springs Police Department’s Violent Crimes Section assumed the lead role in the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death. Multiple search warrants were obtained at different locations both within and outside the city limits of Colorado Springs, but within El Paso County.

As a result of this investigation, on January 29, 2019, the Colorado Springs Police Department arrested Thomas O’Hara, 52 years of age and a resident of Colorado Springs, for Murder in the First Degree. At the time of his arrest, O’Hara was being held at the Criminal Justice Center on unrelated charges to this investigation. Photograph will be released on Twitter.

Anyone with information or is a witness to this investigation is asked to call the Colorado Springs Police Department at (719) 444-7000; or if you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (719) 634-STOP (7867) or 1-800-222-8477.

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January 29, 2019
Suspect in Blende Shooting Arrested

David Trujillo

 

A 35-year-old man arrested Monday afternoon in connection with the January 23 shooting in Pueblo is also a suspect in a separate shooting that occurred Sunday night in Blende.

David Trujillo was arrested on a felony warrant at a home in the 2700 block of Sprague Avenue after detectives from the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office and Pueblo Police Department tracked him to the residence. Trujillo was arrested for attempted second-degree murder and has been booked into the Pueblo County Jail.

Sheriff’s Detectives had been searching for Trujillo in connection with a shooting Sunday night in the 1800 block of Santa Fe Drive. Sheriff’s Patrol Deputies responded to the 1800 block of Santa Fe Drive at about 5:25 p.m. after a 57-year-old man called to report he had been shot while standing in front of his residence.

The victim told deputies he had just returned from shopping when an unknown type black vehicle driven by a female pulled up behind him. He said man sitting the back seat asked the victim his name and when he told him, the man fired a shot at him. The suspect vehicle left the area.
The victim said he didn’t recognize either the male or the female in the vehicle. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries. Through their investigation, Sheriff’s Detectives identified Trujillo as the suspect in the incident.

Trujillo was already wanted by Pueblo Police for the January 23 shooting of a 34-year-old female in the area of W. Fourth Street and Abriendo Avenue. The woman was treated at a local hospital for a non-life-threatening injury.

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Sheriff’s Office Warns of Telephone Scam

Phone Scam

Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor is warning residents of a telephone scam where callers, representing themselves as sheriff’s deputies, are telling individuals they must pay outstanding warrants or they will be arrested.

Several complaints have been received by the Sheriff’s Office in recent days regarding the threatening phone calls. The caller threatens to arrest the individual if they do not pay a warrant for missing a jury duty assignment. The phone number where the calls are originating is not a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office number.

Sheriff Taylor reminds individuals the Sheriff’s Office does not call the public and ask for payment of warrants or any other financial information. All bonds and fees must be paid in person.

Taylor also reminds residents to never give personal or financial information over the phone unless they are certain it is a reputable source. If you are unsure whether the call is legitimate, hang up and call the agency to verify the legitimacy of the call.

Anyone who receives similar phone calls or who has information about the scam, contact the Sheriff’s Office at (719) 583-6250.

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January 25, 2019
Sheriff’s Office Hosts Annual Polar Plunge to Benefit Special Olympics

polar plunge 2019

Do you consider yourself a “chill seeker”? Are you up for a chilly challenge? Well, it’s time to get Freezin for Reason at the Fourth Annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics.

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office is seeking teams of brave individuals willing to take on the frosty challenge of dipping into the icy waters of Lake Pueblo on Saturday, February 23. Registration begins at 9 a.m. followed by plunging at 11 a.m.

The event, spearheaded by the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, involves teams taking the challenge of jumping into the frigid lake to raise money for Special Olympics. Team members raise money through donations and pledges, allowing them to make the icy plunge.

“I’m in again,” said Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor, who will be participating in his fourth Polar Plunge. “I challenge other law enforcement and First Responders to form a team and come out and take the plunge with me. This is a fun event that benefits a great cause.”

Since bringing the Polar Plunge to Southern Colorado in 2016, more than $70,000 has been raised for Special Olympics. Last year’s event raised more than $20,000 and organizers are hoping to exceed that amount this year.

Registration is still available for teams and can be done on the Pueblo Polar Plunge website at

https://www.classy.org/event/pueblo-polar-plunge-presented-by-westerra-credit-union/e211329.

A fundraising minimum of $75 ($50 for student/athletes) is required for participation. Those who aren’t brave enough or can’t take the plunge are encouraged to sponsor a plunger. Monetary donations, which are tax deductible, can be made on the website.

The Special Olympics program is the largest sports organization in the world serving more than 4.2 million people with intellectual disabilities worldwide. Using sports as a catalyst, the non-profit program helps enhance the growth for all people who participate.

For more information about the Polar Plunge, contact Captain Dawn Ballas at (719) 583-4948.

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Arrest Made in Incident that Led to Officer-Involved Shooting

Alicia A Martinez

The 20-year-old driver of the vehicle that hit a Fremont County patrol vehicle, attempted to hit another and drove at a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputy leading to a fatal officer-involved shooting on January 13 was arrested today on felony charges in connection with the incident by the Pueblo Police Department.

Alicia Antonia Martinez was arrested on a warrant for second-degree assault on a peace officer, four counts of vehicular eluding and a restraining order violation. She has been booked into the Pueblo County Jail.

Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputies were attempting to stop a 2004 GMC Yukon, driven by Martinez as it entered Pueblo County after learning it had eluded law enforcement in Fremont County. The vehicle hit a Fremont County Sheriff’s Deputy vehicle and proceeded to drive recklessly and at a high rate of speed eastbound toward Pueblo County on U.S. Highway 50.

Pueblo County Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle when it entered Pueblo County using stop sticks but were unsuccessful. The driver continued to elude deputies and drove recklessly turning north on Purcell Boulevard. In an effort to disable the vehicle, a deputy executed a PIT maneuver, pushing the vehicle into an open field. Martinez continued driving through the field and re-entered the roadway on McClave Drive. A second PIT maneuver was executed causing the vehicle to come to a stop in a front yard in the 700 block N. Chaparral Drive. As deputies approached the vehicle, Martinez drove toward the deputy and shots were fired.

Martinez was seriously injured and an 18-year-old passenger, Amiliano Apodaca died at the scene. Martinez was transported to a local hospital and transferred to a Denver hospital, where she was later released.

The name of the deputy involved in the incident is not being released at this time. The deputy has been placed on paid administrative leave as per Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office policy and procedure.

The incident is being investigated by the 10th Judicial District’s Critical Incident Team, led by the Pueblo Police Department.

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January 15, 2019
Sheriff’s Office Mourning Loss of Beloved K9 PC; Public Memorial Service Scheduled for Friday, January 18

PC & Deputy Talton

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of its K9s, “PC”, who died December 27, 2018, after a brief battle with cancer. PC, an 11-year-old Dutch Shepherd, and his handler, Master Deputy Brandon Talton provided many years of faithful and dedicated service to the citizens of Pueblo County.

“We are saddened by the loss of PC, who was a great asset to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office for nearly a decade,” Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor said. “During his tenure at the Sheriff’s Office, PC assisted in locating numerous suspects and lost individuals and uncovered more than a hundred pounds of illegal drugs. He will be terribly missed by his handler, Deputy Talton, and all of us at the Sheriff’s Office.”

A public Memorial Service to honor PC and his duty to law enforcement is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Friday, January 18, at the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Services Center, 101 W. 10th Street.

PC was donated to the Sheriff’s Office in 2009 by retired Sgt. Vic Boley. He was trained to protect the deputies, search buildings for suspects, track suspects or lost individuals and search out drugs and evidence. He was involved in 345 deployments in his nearly 9 ½ years with the Sheriff’s Office, the majority of which were vehicle or building narcotic searches. During his tenure, PC was involved in the seizure of 101 pounds of illegal drugs to include marijuana (prior to legalization), cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, seven vehicles and 12 guns.

PC also was a full-time SWAT dog, working with SWAT members on how K9s can be an asset to that team. PC, one of three K9s at the Sheriff’s Office, participated with Deputy Talton and placed in several United States Police Canine Association Trials through the years.

“PC was not only my friend and partner but he had made an impact on so many other lives. PC made so many friends in the community through public demonstrations and the media,” said Deputy Talton. “K9 PC will be greatly missed by my family, my blue family and most of all by me. It was such an honor to be K9 PC’s handler and best friend.”
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January 14, 2019
CIT Investigates Officer-Involved Shooting in Pueblo West

A vehicle pursuit that began in Fremont County after the driver hit one patrol vehicle, attempted to hit another and then drove at a Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputy ended with a fatal officer-involved shooting Sunday night in Pueblo West.

One suspect died and a second suspect suffered life-threatening injuries after shots were fired during the incident. No deputies were injured.

At about 10:30 p.m. Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputies were attempting to stop a vehicle that had eluded law enforcement in Fremont County. The vehicle hit a Fremont County Sheriff’s Deputy vehicle and nearly hit a Canon City police officer patrol car as it drove recklessly and at a high rate of speed eastbound on U.S. Highway 50.

Pueblo County Deputies were notified that the suspect vehicle was headed into Pueblo County and quickly located it and attempted to stop it. The driver eluded deputies driving recklessly along U.S. Highway 50 before turning north. To disable the vehicle, a patrol deputy executed a Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT maneuver) which pushed the vehicle into an open field near Platteville Boulevard and Matt Drive. After the PIT maneuver was employed, the driver continued through the fields and re-entered the roadway on McClave Drive. A second PIT maneuver was executed on the vehicle near N. Chaparral Drive and McClave Drive, with the vehicle coming to rest in a front yard in the 700 block of N. Chaparral. As deputies approached the vehicle, the driver drove toward a Sheriff’s Deputy when shots were fired.

The female driver was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. A male passenger died at the scene. The suspects names have not been released.

The name of the deputy involved in the incident is not being released at this time. The deputy has been placed on paid administrative leave as per Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office policy and procedure.

The 10th Judicial District Critical Incident team was activated and is conducting the incident investigation. The CIT includes members of the Pueblo Police Department, the Colorado State Patrol, the Pueblo County District Attorney’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office. The Pueblo Police Department is the lead investigative agency for this incident.

 

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