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Embattled Fremont County sheriff resigns

Author: Andrea Guzman, The Gazette - August 1, 2018 - Updated: August 1, 2018

Fremont County Sheriff Jim Beicker. (Gazette file photo)

Embattled Fremont County Sheriff Jim Beicker resigned Tuesday, after a dozen of his deputies were placed on administrative leave last year and he was the target of a failed recall effort.

His resignation is effective Sept. 1, Undersheriff Megan Richards said.

Beicker, sheriff for 15 years, was not running for re-election this year.

Candidates for his position in the Nov. 6 election are Cañon City Assistant Police Chief Allen Cooper, Skip Moreau and James Boyd Canterbury, The Daily Record reports.

“This was not an easy decision or a decision made lightly, but for the first time I feel like I have to put some personal choices ahead of the office,” Beicker wrote in an internal email obtained by Gazette news partner KTKT.

Beicker’s tenure was marked by problems through 2017, as reported by The Daily Record in Cañon City:

• Deputy Christopher Pape, 30, of Cañon City, was placed on administrative leave and arrested in June on felony charges of attempting to influence a public servant, forgery of a public record, tampering with physical evidence — destruction, and theft — $5,000 to $20,000, as well as misdemeanor charges.

• Detective Robert Dodd was placed on administrative leave in 2017 after murder evidence was found in a personal storage unit. He was convicted this June of abuse of public records and two counts of official misconduct, all misdemeanors.

• Lt. Bruce Briscoe was placed on leave as the Colorado Bureau of Investigation investigated his alleged relationship with a 17-year-old girl in 1999. The District Attorney’s Office did not file charges.

• Patrol Officer Sgt. Arin Hart in March 2017 was placed on leave after he was accused of unfairly arresting people for driving under the influence.

• In May 2017, Cpl. Brandon Tilley was placed on leave after he was arrested on suspicion of child abuse and third-degree assault.

• Also that May, Deputy Tyler Mattson was placed on leave after a complaint was filed against him. Mattson returned to regular duty, however, after a Sheriff’s Office investigation found that allegations against him were unfounded.

• Deputy Brody Koch was placed on leave, accused of misusing force during an arrest.

• Detention Deputy Sarah Brassfield was arrested on suspicion of child abuse after she allegedly left her two foster children in a parked car while she met with a caseworker at the Department of Human Services.

• In July 2017, four sheriff’s officers were placed on leave for an “internal department issue.”

And in May 2017, a federal judge denied a motion to dismiss Fremont County sheriff’s staffers from a civil lawsuit filed in the 2014 death of a county jail inmate.

Also in 2017, the Fremont Freedom Fighters circulated petitions in an effort to recall Beicker. They failed.

Andrea Guzman, The Gazette