Internal Audit Discovers Officer Misconduct; Results in Discipline for Five Officers and Policy Changes
BOULDER, Colo. – The Boulder Police Department has concluded an internal investigation process that resulted in a determination of officer misconduct in the Investigations Unit.
The city and police department are sharing these findings to be transparent with the community about what occurred and the multiple ways the agency addressed the issue.
As part of her ongoing reform efforts since she was hired, Police Chief Maris Herold requested the department review its case management system. While upgrading data and transitioning to a new open data portal, department officials became aware of cases assigned to a particular detective that had not been investigated or investigated fully between 2019 and the present.
Upon the discovery of this issue, in July 2022, the police chief immediately brought it to the attention of the Professional Standards Unit and the Independent Police Monitor, with allegations of several different rule/policy violations made against five officers: the detective and four others within his chain of command.
A subsequent internal Professional Standards Unit investigation sustained the violations against all five officers.
In August 2022, the PSU investigation was sent to the Office of the Independent Police Monitor and the Police Oversight Panel for review prior to the chief making a final disciplinary determination.
On Nov. 1, the following discipline was imposed:
- Commander Thomas Trujillo received an involuntary transfer to another division and a three-day suspension without pay; this officer was also placed on a Performance Improvement Plan.
- Commander Barry Hartkopp was given a one-year letter of reprimand and is receiving additional training.
- Sergeant David Spraggs retired by resignation. The chief accepted the resignation and ordered that the termination be held “in abeyance.”
- Sergeant Brannon Winn was suspended for one day without pay.
- Officer Kwame Williams was suspended for five days without pay.
Chief Herold carefully reviewed the case, consulted the department’s disciplinary matrix and considered the recommendations of police leadership, the Police Independent Monitor and the Police Oversight Panel.
After review, the police leadership, the Office of the Independent Police Monitor and the panel concurred with the decision to sustain the rule violations. There was, however, disagreement about the appropriate level of discipline. While then-Independent Police Monitor Joseph Lipari, police leadership, and Chief Herold were in substantial alignment on the discipline, the panel as a collective body recommended termination of all five officers.
“I regret that this happened and consider it a serious situation,” Chief Herold said. “We had an employee who apparently became overwhelmed. He has since been reassigned from the Investigations Unit.”
In addition to imposing discipline, the department has taken the following significant steps to address this situation and prevent it from reoccurring:
- A preliminary and ongoing analysis was conducted of the detective’s caseload.
- The department has rewritten its investigations’ case management policy to provide for workload standards, including limiting the number of cases any one detective may handle, ensuring a regular review of open cases by supervisors, and imposing time limits for investigations.
- The department has launched its new data portal for case management, allowing supervisors and managers real time access to case status and assignments.
“Our department understands the tremendous responsibility it has to investigate reported crimes diligently and in a timely manner. This is a sacred trust our community has placed in us,” Herold said. “We take this responsibility seriously.”
With respect to the cases discovered, investigations and collaboration with the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office is ongoing and will continue. The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office is conducting an independent audit of the cases.
The city will not be conducting additional media interviews about this situation at this time.