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Woodland Park PD investigation reveals “toxic environment” inside agency, former chief disputes allegations

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. (KRDO) -- An investigation in the Woodland Park Police Department reveal accusations of a "toxic environment" created by former Police Chief Miles DeYoung.

Thursday, DeYoung retired immediately after meeting with city officials about his workplace conduct. 13 Investigates obtained documents revealing the investigation into the allegations against him, including his rebuttal to the complaints.

The investigation, done by JEH Consulting, found DeYoung's workplace conduct included gender bias, intimidation, retaliation, and harassment against female police officers.

Investigators found numerous issues and complaints, including a "clear pattern of female police officers in the department being treated differently than their male counterparts."

JEH says those differences were found through the language female officers are described, training opportunities, allocation of equipment, discipline, and scrutinization.

Additionally, the investigation found "a clear pattern of Chief DeYoung intentionally intimidating his employees, retaliating against them, and holding grudges against certain employees."

Following interviews with ten members, including at least two men, of the Woodland Park Police Department, JEH concluded the department was in a "dire state."

JEH wrote:

The Woodland Park Police Department currently has an extremely toxic environment. Chief DeYoung has done nothing to change the environment. In fact, he has perpetuated the situation which has led to the current crisis. The state of this police department is dire and can only improve with the termination of Chief DeYoung. By doing so, the department will be able to heal and operate in a cohesive, safe and respectful manner. The department must follow their policies which clearly state that employees are entitled to a work environment free of harassment, intimidation etc. The work environment should also be free of discrimination, oppression, or favoritism.

JEH Consulting LLC

13 Investigation obtained the 5-page rebuttal by DeYoung, disputing the allegations calling them baseless. In the letter, DeYoung says the investigation "is not only incomplete, biased and unfair, but is in actual fact retaliatory."

In the letter, he goes on to say "the occasional offhanded comment of mine is taken out of context by a tiny group of entitled, oversensitive, or overreactive employees, does not amount to intentional discrimination nor provide any basis to conclude I hold a grudge against anyone."

At one point, DeYoung agrees the Woodland Park Police Department does have an "extremely toxic work environment," however, he claims the environment had been fostered and maintained by someone else.

For now, the city told 13 Investigates it will be hiring an interim police chief in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, two of the commanders of the Woodland Park Police Department are on paid leave while the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and Teller County Sheriff's Office conducts a criminal investigation involving the WPPD.

If you have a tip or lead you want our team to investigate, email us at 13Investigates@krdo.com.

Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is an investigative reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.

Comments

3 Comments

  1. The whole city of Woodland park is in shambles right now. A lot of it goes all the way to the top, city council. The recent turn over says a lot, people are bailing because of others talking the council should be liable for some of these situations.
    There are many who have arrived and are causing trouble and trying to change WP at whatever cost and unfortunately I see this as one of their tactics.

    1. Are you by any chance talking about Andrew Womack and Charis? It’s impossible to know what’s going on. https://gazette.com/pikespeakcourier/andrew-wommack-urges-christians-to-take-over-woodland-park-teller-county/article_c1732052-bce0-11eb-b6a8-b3aa414e5325.html

      Woodland Park residents have been left in the dark for months. Three top LE officers on paid leave, now two, and no one knows why. Yet they are perfectly safe up there, just short on municipal funds? Hmmm.

      1. Actually it is all the implants from COVID that moved here from both coasts. I have watched WP for the last 3 years start to melt down and COVID was a tipping point. I know some who lived there for over 20 years now move away or out of city limits because of the politics. It is no longer a small mountain town and people now want it to have all the services of a large city like Denver and all the diversity also. In the last year I believe there have been 2-3 resignations from counsel and the mayor. https://gazette.com/pikespeakcourier/woodland-park-city-council-tries-fails-to-appoint-new-mayor-to-replace-val-carr/article_b3bd1f08-9ee0-11eb-9b14-e735532cc347.html

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