Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson steps down

July 21, 2014
Photo: Denver mayor announces sheriff's resignation
Flanked by city officials, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, center, announces the resignation of Sheriff Gary Wilson, at far right, on Monday, July 21, 2014.

Saying he needed to “open a new chapter” of the troubled Sheriff's Department, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced the resignation of county Sheriff Gary Wilson on Monday.

Allegations of misconduct and excessive use of force involving deputies have "shaken the trust" of the public, Hancock said at a press conference. 

“I believe that 99 percent of the men and women who walk through those doors every day with badges on serve honorably,” the mayor said. “A few have stepped over the line, and that’s not OK.”

Last week, Wilson placed a deputy on paid leave for allegedly using inappropriate force at the Denver County jail. Other allegations against the jail, one of the largest in Colorado, date back for years.

Wilson will remain in the department where he will serve in his old role of division chief, said Stephanie O'Malley, executive director of the Department of Safety. Wilson was promoted to sheriff by then-Mayor John Hickenlooper in 2010.

Nick Mitchell, from the Office of the Independent Monitor, a city-run civilian oversight agency, said prisoners are neighbors and members of the community. “What happens to them inside matters,” Mitchell said at Monday's press conference.

The mayor and the now-former sheriff hugged following the announcement.

Elias Diggins, the division chief of the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, will run the department on an interim basis. The city will now begin a national search for a new sheriff. 

Last week, Wilson told CPR's Colorado Matters his department was going through a thorough review.

“What I want to see happen in the future is we see less to almost zero misconduct coming out of our department,” Wilson told CPR's Ryan Warner." “That’s what I hope.”

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