Internal investigation launched into use of force complaint

by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — An internal investigation is now underway concerning an excessive use of force complaint filed with the Walsenburg Police Department dating back to the East Peak Fire.
Walsenburg Police Chief Tommie McLallen said the CBI investigation into the complaint was completed last week by Special Agent Jody Wright. He said the state agency found nothing criminal in the two officers’ actions.
He said now a professional standards review will be done by a long time police supervisory professional, working with; but not employed by, the WPD.
McLallen said the office received the complaint on July 9, 2013. The two Walsenburg officers were manning a checkpoint on Ideal Road (CR 330) in a mutual aid situation with Huerfano County Sheriff’s deputies. McLallen said the complaint was filed with WPD Captain Vince Suarez by the civilian involved in the incident and after reviewing the complaint and the officer’s reports, McLallen contacted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and requested that agency investigate the matter. He said an agent was assigned to the case within a few days after the WPD received the complaint.
The incident involved a civilian who was trying to get back to his property during the East Peak fire. An altercation of some kind took place, and the civilian ended up being taken into custody.
Details of the incident have not been released as they have been under investigation by the state agency and now internally by the WPD.
At the time the complaint was filed, McLallen contacted Sheriff Bruce Newman to see if his department wanted jurisdiction to investigate. McLallen said Newman declined, so the matter came back to city police to handle.
McLallen said the internal investigation should not take more than two weeks to complete.
Both officers have remained on duty and their names not disclosed until completion of the investigation.