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Teller County Sheriff calls police reform bill a ‘knee-jerk reaction’

TCSO Jason Mikesell

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. (KRDO) -- In response to the sweeping police reform bill recently passed in Colorado, Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell spoke candidly with KRDO about the bill and the impact it will have on law enforcement.

SB-217 was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis on June 19th. It changes the use of deadly force procedures and enhances transparency for law enforcement in Colorado.

Are you surprised with how fast this bill was created and signed into law?

Mikesell: “This is the most surprising law I’ve seen passed. It was so fast and in the beginning, there were so many things in it that were such a knee jerk reaction to something that happened in Minnesota... We're going to push these laws through this quickly instead of sitting back and working with your local law enforcement in Colorado? I think that concerned me the most."

There are a lot of changes in this bill for law enforcement. Do you think any of them are overreaching?

Mikesell: "To me, a lot of things in the law were overreaching. Just for example, the body cam issue. We don't have body cameras because of the cost right now. We're talking about 400 and something thousand dollars just to stand up this program and then every year because of the data storage. And the other side of it, is it's an electronic device so what happens when it fails and are we looked at as if we purposely lot its data? You have law enforcement officers that have, to me, are losing their rights in how they respond to something. Does this cause deputies to act slower on making a decision? That bothers me.”

The bill bans officers from using chokeholds. What was the procedure Teller County Sheriff Office in regards to chokeholds?

Mikesell: “The only time a chokehold was allowed in our office is if it was lethal force. It’s the last thing you could do, you’re on the ground someone’s on top of you trying to kill you [and] you can not get away from this person, that’s when we allowed it to be used. We did not allow the chokehold to be used in for normal arrest situations.”

Is there anything in the bill that you agree with?

“I think the whole bill has a general purpose behind it to do something good but I think they went about it the wrong way. I think that it was so fast there wasn’t enough discussion about what is it really that affects Colorado and really what is it that needs to be done now.”

It seems that law enforcement officers have really come under attack over the past few weeks from citizens. Do you think this is going to have an impact on those wanting to join law enforcement agencies?

Mikesell: “I think it's already having an impact. We’re already hearing from people that we had originally started talking to about going into law enforcement saying, ‘I don’t want to do this’ and then you are also seeing a large group of those that were ready for retirement dropping their pay percentage saying, ‘Hey, I’m not going to continue to deal with this.’”

What was your reaction to seeing the videos of George Floyd being arrested in Minneapolis that sparked nation-wide protests?

“It’s obvious that the officer reacted horribly to that situation. It should have never been done. And I think in law enforcement, we police our own also we have internal investigations we go through those things also, and there is no one in law enforcement that would say that was okay.”

Politics / State & Regional News / Teller County

Chase Golightly

Chase is a reporter and an anchor for our weekend evening newscasts. Learn more about Chase here.

Comments

21 Comments

    1. tojoe is still mad at the police after they caught him doing those unmentionable things with the neighbor’s sheep.

  1. “It’s obvious that the officer reacted horribly to that situation. It should have never been done”…..THE officer, you mean FOUR OFFICERS . You order following, blind as a bat, non critical thinking, badged terrorist

  2. we police our own also we have internal investigations

    Is that not exactly one of the main problems? Every time I do that to my own actions I can never seem to find any fault in them. I wonder why?

    are losing their rights in how they respond to something

    You do not have rights. I have rights as a citizen but as a professional you have guidelines and regulations that we the people place on your duties.

  3. This sheriff cheerfully hung out with white “Stay at Home Protesters” in the parking lot of Russ’s Place who broke the law back in May:
    “a crowd of 80 to 100 locals showed up at Russ Place bar and restaurant to protest the fact that the business recently received a cease and desist order from the county officials. Many thought the tone of the letter was inappropriate and decided to launch a public protest to support Russ’ Place and all local restaurants.
    After hearing the news the owners of Russ’ Place decided to shut down their establishment and offer drinks, burgers, and hot dogs on a donation basis only for the protesters that showed up to support their nearly decade-old business.
    During the event, several people from different counties including many who are running for political office in Teller, Park, and Chaffee counties made appearances at the event. The protesters could be seen toting American flags and pro-freedom signs.
    Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell made an appearance and was seen shaking several
    hands of the people that were there. Mikesell said that the rules the county has been forced to follow came directly from the state and that he did not feel that it was within his authority to put forth measures to stop any sort of peaceful protest or assembly because such actions were protected by the U.S. Constitution.” https://www.mountainjackpot.com/2020/05/15/locals-show-support-for-divide-bar-and-restaurant/
    It’s perfectly clear how he runs his department.
    Not surprising he finds BLM and police reform a problem.

    1. The funny part is that there was no “law” for the stay at home order. So they actually didn’t break any laws.

  4. The Minnesota incident was not an isolated occurrence. Look at the Elijah McClain incident. This kid was wearing a mask because he obviously believes in science. He walked to a convenience store and right outside his house was assaulted by police officers who were told he was not armed, yet they killed him anyway. These officers body cameras were off- all of them at the same time. Just a coincidence, right? Police are not policing themselves or this would not keep happening. If Jason Mikesell feels threatened by body cameras the real question is what is he doing when he is on duty? Honest police officers should welcome body cameras as it also protects them from suspects making false claims. The body camera can show exactly what happened during an incident. If an officer is afraid/resistant to wearing a camera there can only be one reason- he is abusing the badge.

    1. “The body camera can show exactly what happened during an incident.”

      Not really. What is critically important is knowing what the officer saw and knew. But what the camera records is what the camera saw, and not what the officer saw. Yes, they will help a little, but you have to watch them understanding that the perspective they record may not accurately reflect what the officer saw.

      1. lol. Don’t believe your own eyes – believe what the officer says he thinks he saw. That’s what is critically important?

        Remember that 5th grade experiment where a group watches an unexpected event and then everybody writes down what they saw? No two stories are ever the same.

        That’s why we have body cams.

  5. This man is a freakin idiot. He is the reason we want to reform police. If you watched the interview with him you can tell he isn’t that bright. He needs to go so that department can grow and make changes.

  6. I do agree that there should of been more time spent on drafting such landmark legislation. They did seem to do it so quick to pacify the protests. I agree we need more discussion on how to tailor it to our local problems vs national/other states problems.

    1. We need more time? Black and brown people have been waiting hundreds of years.
      Local problems? Haven’t had enough POC killed by police in Colorado?
      Pacify the protests? Yes, we see exactly which protests this Sheriff is interested in “pacifying.”
      (Same sheriff’s dept. sent out email notices to neighborhood on-line chat rooms asking for info on any BLM protests, saying they were prepared for that or any other “criminal activity” in the area.)
      Tells us a lot, doesn’t it?

      1. This is not about color. This legislation is about All people. To think that only people of color are harmed by police is ignorance. Why not take more time. I am not saying years, but an appropriate amount of time to ensure there is comprehensive reform that matters to the local issues is just proper.
        Everyone hates hearing this but I will keep saying it. Don’t engage in criminal activities or associate with others who do and you will reduce your risk of a police encounter by 99%.

        1. by “others” you might as well say black. Because they don’t have to be doing anything wrong to get killed by the police, and people call the cops on them just for existing. But, yeah, we should wait and study on it some more. Wait for what? If you can’t do your job as a cop and follow those guidelines, you shouldn’t be a cop.

  7. AWE what a shame…..he has to do his job with honor and integrity now!!!!! or i guess he can go flip burgers…..

    1. LOL you can tell he is mad, now he can’t beat people. it starts with the top down, he needs to go.

  8. Having worked in Teller County for 5 years, I can honestly say there is a huge faction of redneck, out-of-the closet racists idiots up there. From upper class, top 10 percenters, to the sovereign rednecks in Tranquil Acres, they don’t tolerate any color other than white. Indeed the Woodland Park Police and Teller County Sheriffs departments are filled with cops who have applied everywhere else and couldn’t find work elsewhere. There was even a group of protesters refusing to shop at the Walmart up there simply because the manager was African American. Of course, Walmart bowed down.

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