Democrat Tyler Brown was recently sworn in as Arapahoe County sheriff, having defeated incumbent Republican Dave Walcher in the November election. We spoke to Brown, 36, about his new role. What are …
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Democrat Tyler Brown was recently sworn in as Arapahoe County sheriff, having defeated incumbent Republican Dave Walcher in the November election. We spoke to Brown, 36, about his new role.
What are you working on?
Community partnerships. Making sure that the sheriff's office is meeting the expectations of the community. Being more approachable in the community. With the size and complexity of our office, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations. After partisan politics are done, I serve everyone in Arapahoe County.
What challenges do you face?
We're looking at constructing a new detention facility. It's a very large project that I stepped into. Our facility was built in 1986, and was designed for 386 detainees. We've added bunks and cells, bringing the total capacity to roughly 1,400, but the infrastructure, including the kitchen, laundry and booking area, are still the same size. One of the things we'll do is be more innovative in treatment of detainees. I'd like to see more behavioral health screenings.
Will you maintain the current policy of sending daily inmate rosters to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE?
That ICE policy has been adopted by nearly every county in the state. We send a complete roster, and the federal government determines if they're going to go through it.
Once we get more settled, it'll be easier to get more in-depth on these issues. Our ultimate goal is to provide a safe community. To step into the bigger debate is important, but we need to tread that water lightly.
One of the great things about the United States is you're afforded the rights of the Constitution whether you're a citizen or not. We provide everyone due process.
What's your background?
I started in code enforcement in Aurora, then moved on to Northglenn, then I worked as an officer in Aurora Public Schools, then became a patrol officer in Mountain View, then threw my hat in the ring for sheriff again.
Why did you leave Northglenn?
There was a training incident on the range that resulted in me not seeing eye to eye with police administration. My integrity was challenged, and it wasn't a good fit. It was seven years ago. I've put it behind me, Northglenn put it behind them, and I don't think there's much more to talk about there.
Mountain View, a town of 500 in the northwest Denver metro area, came under fire in 2014 after a 9News investigation showed that the police issued more tickets for seatbelt violations and obstructed view than Denver, Aurora and Boulder combined, and that half the city's revenue came from court fees and citations. What was your perspective on the department?
That incident with investigative reporting happened prior to me being there. Our philosophy had really changed by the time I arrived. There was a strong focus on community policing, and not a big emphasis on writing tickets. We were able to make good connections in the community.
Mountain View came under fire again in 2017 when two officers went to jail for embezzling money from the state. What did you take from that?
It impacted me greatly because I worked with those people on a daily basis. I had trust in them, and it was disheartening. But it was handled professionally. It was an example of law enforcement policing themselves.
Did you ever apply to work as a deputy in Arapahoe County?
I applied in 2012, but didn't get the job. I can speculate that it was due to the job-suitability assessment. They didn't see it as a good fit. I've since taken a psychological evaluation when I became sheriff, and I received an acceptable score.
What would you like to add?
We work for the constituents of Arapahoe County who entrusted me with this position, and the men and women of the sheriff's office. The office is bigger than the person who sits in it.
Have you encountered pushback or skepticism?
I think change instills a little bit of fear in everyone, but this transition has been smooth. When people realize not much has changed, they're going to be very pleased with the law enforcement services we provide.
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