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Denver revokes Pinkerton's private security employer license in wake of deadly shooting

Posted at 11:46 AM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 13:46:30-04

DENVER – The city of Denver revoked the license for Pinkerton to operate as a private security company in the city in the wake of a deadly shooting by a contracted and unlicensed security guard outside political rallies last year.

Denver Department of Excise and Licenses Executive Director Ashley Kilroy issued the decision revoking Pinkerton’s private security employer license Monday, saying the company failed to ensure its contracted employees, including Matthew Dolloff, had the necessary licenses to work as a security guard and carry a weapon.

Dolloff has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Lee Keltner outside of last October’s “patriot muster” and counterprotest in Civic Center Park.

TEGNA, the parent company of Denver TV news station 9News, had contracted with Pinkerton to provide security, which then subcontracted the work out to Isborn Security Services, which contracted Dolloff to work the event.

Dolloff shot and killed Keltner amid an altercation and as Keltner used pepper spray on him. He pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge in late May.

Dolloff was not licensed to carry a firearm in Denver and did not possess a Denver Security Guard License – two things needed to work as an armed security guard in the city.

Pinkerton and Isborn Security were both cited in early November for violations of the city’s municipal code related to employing or directing an unlicensed security guard.

Isborn in December reached a settlement agreement with the city to surrender its security guard employer license and not seek another for five years, which was approved by Kilroy.

A hearing was held Feb. 3, which took place after Kilroy rejected a settlement agreement between Pinkerton and the city in December without giving a public reason.

A hearing officer in late February issued a recommendation that Pinkerton should have its license suspended for 6 months because Pinkerton contracted Isborn and should have to face sanctions as well.

But Kilroy’s decision issued Monday took the penalty further, saying that aggravating factors were at play. She wrote in her decision that Pinkerton knew Isborn “had no internal controls or auditing process and contracted with them anyway”

“Respondent not only knew that Isborn had no internal controls, but Respondent itself failed to verify the licensing status of the security guard it was providing to 9News,” Kilroy wrote in the decision. “Because the Respondent ignored the response that Isborn was not verifying licensing status and failed to ensure that Mr. Dolloff was licensed, actual harm came to the public.”

She added that if Pinkerton had acted on responses from Isborn in a questionnaire about its protocols, it could have realized Isborn was hiring unlicensed guards. Since Isborn’s surrendering of its license was essentially treated as a revocation, she wrote that Pinkerton “stand in the same position and should therefore be treated similarly.”

Dolloff was released on a $500,000 bond in November.

Eric Escudero, a spokesperson for the Department of Excise and Licenses, said this is the seventh time since 2015 the city has suspended or revoked a private security guard employer license. There are 215 licensed private security guard employers and nearly 6,000 people licensed as private security guards -- about 1,500 of whom have a firearm endorsement.