National firms to steer Denver sheriff reform

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

DENVER (AP) — Two national consulting firms will help the Denver Sheriff Department as it tries to make sweeping reforms after a series of high-profile misconduct cases.

Mayor Michael Hancock said Thursday that Chicago-based Hillard Heintze and Los Angeles-based OIR Group will study the department and lead a national search for a new sheriff. Former Sheriff Gary Wilson stepped down in July as the city agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle a former inmate's jail-abuse lawsuit.

A federal jury on Tuesday found deputies used excessive force against a homeless street preacher who died in the jail and awarded his family more than $4.6 million.

The firms, which employ former prosecutors and police, have helped troubled law enforcement agencies in other cities. In Denver, their reviews will focus on discipline, internal investigations and department leadership.