DENVER – Three former law enforcement officers with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office were charged Thursday with allegedly falsifying training completion records required by state law.
Former Adams County Sheriff Richard Reigenborn, former Undersheriff Thomas McLallen, and former Division Chief Michael Bethel are accused of signing various training rosters for classes they did not attend and/or submitting training certificates to Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) in an attempt to count these fictitious trainings towards their 2021 mandatory annual training hours, according to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
POST is a unit of the state’s department of law that oversees the training and certification of law enforcement officers in the state.
Bethel is also accused of allegedly using McLallen’s account password to log onto one of McLallen’s online accounts to complete training for McLallen, according to an affidavit unsealed by the AG’s Office.
Without accounting the fraudulent trainings, the former sheriff and his undersheriff lacked the hours needed to meet in-service training requirements for 2021, said spokesperson Lawrence Pacheco.
Law enforcement officers in the state of Colorado are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of annual in-service training, including at least 12 hours of perishable skills training in arrest control, driving, and firearms.
POST can suspend a law enforcement officer’s certification if the officer fails to meet the annual training requirements.
Further, law enforcement agencies are also responsible for submitting truthful and accurate data to Colorado POST, Pacheco said.
If found to be out of compliance with POST training rules due to not completing the necessary annual training requires, the agency at fault can lose access to POST grant funds. Additionally, law enforcement officers convicted of a felony can lose their POST certification.
“A foundation of effective policing is reliable and sound training. Well-trained officers build community trust and confidence in law enforcement. We’ll continue to take seriously any allegation of efforts to disregard state-mandated training or submit fraudulent training records to POST,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser in a prepared statement.
All three are facing felony charges of forgery, attempt to influence a public servant, conspiracy to commit forgery, and conspiracy to attempt to influence a public servant.